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University challenge will take on a whole new meaning this year after two of Bristol's academic institutions signed up to encourage staff, students and alumni to get active at the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10K.

The Universities of Bristol and the West of England have both pledged to commit teams of hundreds of runners, joggers and walkers at the annual 10K, which takes place on Sunday, May 5, Bank Holiday weekend.

Many of the Universities entrants are expected to be taking part in a running event for the first time and will be guided through training programmes to ensure they are well prepared for tackling the 6.2 mile distance on their big day.

Kirsty Tomlinson, Varsity Events Manager for the two institutions, welcomes the partnership with Great Run.

"The Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k is a huge event for the city and we are delighted to be a part of it. Initiatives such as this, which will help and encourage our students and staff to get more active, are great for us and exercise helps both physical and mental well-being."

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “With our strong commitment to providing opportunities for exercise and activity for everyone in our community, we are delighted to partner with UWE and the Great Run Company in the 2019 Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10K. Running has so many recognised health benefits, both physical and mental, and we are looking forward to bringing a diverse and enthusiastic group of students, staff and alumni to the harbourside on the 5 May to take part with our city in this fantastic event.”

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, is equally delighted with the partnership: “We’re proud to be supporting such a positive event for Bristol, and excited to be building even closer ties between our students, our city and the University of Bristol.

“Joining the 10K event – supported by qualified run leaders and training programmes – is a great way for our students, staff and alumni to boost their physical health, and in turn improve their mental health, wellbeing and confidence. I very much look forward to seeing the wave of university runners in red and maroon setting off from the start line together on May 5th, and hope the joint participation in this wonderful event continues for many years to come.”
With hundreds of people expected to represent the two Universities, a special start wave is being planned and the teams will be sporting their respective University colours.

David Hart, Partnerships Director for the Great Run Company, said "Bristol is a City famous for its Universities and we are really pleased they are to become part of this fantastic event. We know from partnerships with other Universities across the UK that the motivation of an event can really make a difference."

Proud supporters of the both Universities partnership with the Simplyhealth Bristol 10k, Ashfords LLP, recognise the many benefits to physical and mental well-being brought about by such partnerships and are looking forward to entering a team of their own into the Business Challenge element of the event.

Peter Barton, Partner at Ashfords LLP, said: “We are a leading national provider of legal and professional services and we are committed to the communities in which we operate. Our corporate social responsibility programme supports a wide range of local events and initiatives each year, including the historic Boat Race held within the Harbourside. The Bristol Varsity Series provides sporting activity for 5,000 students, staff and Bristol’s community in the name of fun, rivalry and friendship and we are delighted to be supporting the University of Bristol and UWE Bristol in their exciting new partnership with the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k.

This year’s 10K, which is expected to see over 12,000 people take to the streets of the city, passes some of Bristol's most famous landmarks as it sets off from the historic harbour taking in Avon Gorge, the iconic Clifton suspension bridge and the Gothic St Mary Redcliffe Church before finishing back on Anchor Road.

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k click here

The Varsity Series
The 10k is part of the Varsity Series, an annual series organised by both universities and their students’ unions, which brings thousands of students, staff, alumni and members of the community together to participate, volunteer and spectate at a range of events.