The City of Manchester will once again provide the stage for 30,000 runners taking on the 18th staging of the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run on Sunday 19 May.
This incredible day of sport – the third largest running event in the country, after the Simplyhealth Great North Run and the Virgin London Marathon – will kick off with the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run as well as the adult’s half marathon and 10k distances.
To celebrate this year’s event, the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run has worked with runners and well-known Manchester faces to create a film showcasing the inspirational poem, Do Something.
Written by the much-loved Mancunian poet Tony Walsh, specifically for Manchester’s most loved running event.
The line ‘Do something to make a city proud’ is reflected in the incredible stories of runners taking on the 10k, half marathon and children’s events this Sunday.
A team of 80 family, friends and BBC colleagues of the much-loved local broadcaster Dianne Oxberry – who died on January 10 of Ovarian Cancer – are taking on the Run to raise funds for the charity that has been set up in her name.
The team is led by Dianne’s husband Ian Hindle. The charity has already raised an incredible £57,000 from a Just Giving page alone.
The mission of the charity is to raise awareness, funds and hope. Awareness is the charities number one priority, in the form of educating women about the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer.
Celebrities including Coronation Street stars Katie McGlynn and Rob Mallard, raising funds for Mummy’s Star as the charity’s new patrons and Manchester United coach and former player Michael Carrick, fundraising for his own foundation, will also join the masses.
In the women’s race, Hellen Obiri of Kenya, will face a very competitive field when she takes on her compatriot Edna Kipligat and the Ethiopian Ruta Aga. Obiri was crowned world Cross Country Champion earlier this year and is also the 2016 Olympic silver medallist over the 5K, this will be her first time in Manchester.
The British contingent will be headed up by Steph Twell, who won the Brighton 10K last month, she is joined by Ali Dixon, Mhari Maclennan and Jenny Nesbitt.
Ugandan world cross medallist Jacob Kiplimo is the fastest in the Men’s field with a personal best of 26:41 over the distance. Kiplimo will be facing 2015 NYC Marathon champion Stanley Biwott of Kenya, who also took 2nd place at the 2016 London Marathon and Spain’s Antonio Abadia the 2016 10000m European bronze medallist and national record holder.
British athlete Nick Goolab will be representing the UK, hoping to put in a strong performance after breaking the course record in at the Brighton 10K in a time of 28:22.
The wheelchair races will feature Johnboy Smith, Simon Lawson and Shelly Woods. Runners will be entertained by more on course entertainment than ever before, with 29 bands, DJs and cheering points all along a route that takes them past Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, towards Salford Quays before turning back towards the city centre and the finish line on Deansgate.
Those taking on the half marathon distance will also run on Mancunian Way, a stretch of motorway usually closed to pedestrians.
New for 2019, is a high energy music zone, supported by the legendary Hacienda, designed to give runners a much-needed boost just as the finish comes into view.
The on-course activation will feature a playlist by the New Order and Joy Division co-founder Peter Hook, a massive sound system, disco lights and even a smoke machine.
Participants will also experience a true Manchester party as the event has partnered with the Proud Trust to create an LGBT+ cheer point, complete with a DJ, colourful balloon towers and supporters.
The LGBT+ cheer point is set to be an explosion of colour, with branded banners and flags, rainbows and balloon stacks. The zone will feature a team of 20 volunteers from the Proud Trust, with DJ Zoe McVeigh, who will be playing loud, LGBT+ music to motivate runners on their challenge.
A team of 12 runners from the Proud Trust will also take on the 10k as part of the charity’s aim to raise £2m to rebuilt the city’s LGBT+ centre. Bambos Neophytou, Brand Director at title partner Simplyhealth, said: “We’re delighted to be back in the great city of Manchester where we will be supporting runners every step of the way.
“We will be capturing a massive photograph of everyone on the start line of the half marathon and 10k waves, which runners can view on Simplyhealth.co.uk/Manchester from next Wednesday.
Then we’re providing a PT led-stretch and cool down, together with a free massage to runners to help them avoid injury and aid recovery after their run.
“Finally, we have an amazing new ‘Rate my Gait’ experience located in Spinningfields, where runners and supporters can get an analysis of their running form, which includes a unique video, and see how they compare to elite athletes.”
Some of the city’s most loved institutions will be represented on the start line with 3,000 staff students and alumni representing the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University and almost 700 NHS staff representing the Manchester University Foundation Trust will take part in distinctive NHS blue t-shirts.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run is always a highlight in our sporting calendar – even for a city with such a packed schedule of major events – as it gives opportunities for people of all ages and abilities the chance to do something really special.
“We’re excited to be hosting this hugely popular event once again and really proud of everyone who is getting set to take part.”
The Simplyhealth Junior & Mini Great Manchester Run will take place on the same day, giving young runners and budding athletes the chance to experience the buzz and even share the same start line as their mums and dads.
Young runners aged between three and 15 will take on two shorter distances of 2.5k and 1.5k. Among the young runners are sisters Evana and Erica Parkinson. Erica is a young carer for her sister who has a rare condition that causes delays to her development.
The two have raised almost £4,000 for a local charity Blessings in Disguise by taking on running events. Erica runs ahead ahead to get her time and then makes sure she runs back to join Evana and help her over the finish line.
Joining them will be Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run regular Ella Chadwick, who dedicates her time raising thousands of pounds for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, despite suffering from a rare disease which causes kidney failure and mobility issues.
The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run will be shown live on BBC 2 12:00 -14:20 on Sunday 19 May. For more information visit Greatrun.org/Manchester