Birmingham Set For Biggest Weekend Of Running

Thousands of participants of all ages and abilities are preparing to visit Birmingham for the city's biggest ever weekend of running.

Now just days away, the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run takes place on Sunday, October 15.

The city's annual 13.1-mile event will be held on the same day as the inaugural Birmingham International Marathon, which reached capacity months ago.

From toddlers and teens to the fastest club runners, there are events catering for families with the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great Birmingham Runs taking place on Saturday, October 14.

More than 500 children will be heading to the iconic Alexander Stadium on Saturday for the 1.5K Mini Run and 2.5K Junior Run. All finishers receive a goody bag and medal as soon as they cross the finish line.

And then on Sunday, Birmingham will enjoy an unprecedented day of activity after a combined 22,000 people signed up to take part in the marathon or half marathon.

Simplyhealth's #millionsmoving campaign has a goal to improve everyday health by encouraging people of all ages to run, jog, walk, or simply move together. James Glover, Simplyhealth's Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, said: “Our own independent research through YouGov shows that people state ‘being unfit' as the primary reason for feeling unhealthy.

"Our ambition is to help people make the most of life by supporting their everyday health, and we strongly believe that movement and activity is the cornerstone to better health. Our Millions Moving website is a great resource for those who are looking for inspiration.”

The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run half marathon starts on Jennens Road in the city centre, alongside the recently-opened Royal Birmingham Conservatoire building. The marathon starts earlier in the day at the Alexander Stadium, with both events finishing at
Aston University.

The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run course takes in landmarks such as the iconic Selfridges store – one of the UK's most photographed buildings – Edgbaston Stadium, Cannon Hill Park and picturesque Bournville, home of Cadbury chocolate.

Hosting the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run and Birmingham International Marathon helped boost Birmingham's bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022 as the city waits to find out from the Games Federation if it has been selected to host the sports spectacular.

The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run features the Arcadis Business Challenge, which invites companies of all sizes to compete for fastest-time trophies and all-important bragging rights in the corporate community. Some 250 participants will be representing their companies at this year's Challenge with title partner Arcadis putting forward 80 runners.

Among those taking part on Sunday is the remarkable ‘Blind Dave' Heeley, who won't be running one long distance event – but two.

The Black Country running legend will be attempting to complete both the Birmingham International Marathon AND Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run in one day – a total of 39.3 miles.

It's all part of lifelong West Brom fan Dave's efforts to conquer the Great Run Company's entire, 25-strong events calendar in 2017 – understood to be a world first for a blind pairing – in aid of the Albion Foundation.

And a Birmingham teacher who has shed over six stone is preparing for his biggest challenge yet. Stuart Warner, who teaches English at Longbridge's Colmers Secondary School, wouldn't have even dreamt of entering the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run when he tipped the
scales at 25st 5lbs 21 months ago.

But the 33-year-old, who says running has been central to his incredible weight loss journey, has committed to taking on the annual 13.1-mile challenge around the city's streets on Sunday.

Stuart amazed himself by completing his first-ever running event, the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10k in April, and now weighs 19st 3lbs, having shed ten inches from his waist.

David Hart, Communications Director for the Great Run Company, said: “If there's one thing we've learned this year it's that Birmingham loves to run!

“We're always delighted at how many people take part in our events and this year will be extra special as we welcome the first ever Birmingham International Marathon, which has attracted phenomenal interest runners from across the UK and beyond.

“We hope thousands of people will line the streets to cheer on our runners of all abilities, many of whom will be raising thousands of pounds for good causes or celebrating milestones in lifestyle goals.”

  • The reminder service for the 2018 Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run, Junior and Mini Runs and the Birmingham International Marathon will open on Sunday 15 October. Sign up here to receive an email when entries are open.