Running shoes at the ready… this year's Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K is just hours away.
The biggest 10K in the Midlands takes place on Sunday, May 6, and will see 8,000 participants of all abilities take to the city centre start-line for charity, lifestyle goal or fun, cheered on by honorary starter the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Anne Underwood.
The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K is the event that runs to the beat, with lively warm-up routines for each of the 80s, 90s, Noughties and modern-era music start waves. Bands and performers line the route through south Birmingham to help keep participants motivated.
The last date and time to enter online and collect your running pack in person is 4pm on Friday, May 4th. Participants can collect packs on Saturday, May 5th, at the Up & Running store on Colmore Row.
The event will be broadcast live on Channel 5 (10am-12pm) with Wolverhampton-born Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya on the start-line to introduce the TV coverage.
Last year's 10K raised over £1.4 million for local and national good causes. It is described as an ideal training event for those taking on the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run half marathon on Sunday, October 14.
Among those preparing for Sunday's 10K is Solihull Moors' Player/Academy Coach Darren Carter who is making his debut appearance.
Darren, who fired Birmingham City into the Premier League for the first time with the decisive spot-kick in a 2002 play-off final shootout aged just 18, made almost 50 appearances for Blues and spent two years with West Bromwich Albion.
The footballer is raising funds for Mary Stevens Hospice, Stourbridge, which has been providing critical care for Natalie Osborne, the cousin of his fiancée Sally.
Halesowen-based Natalie has been bravely battling Dementia for almost half of her life, despite only being 29.
“Natalie continues to show strength beyond measure every day when many others would have given up,” said Darren.
“She is a true inspiration and each day she is with us is a blessing. It's been a tough ride for ‘Natty' in recent weeks and given the level of care and love she has been shown by all the staff at Mary Stevens Hospice, I wanted to give them something back.
“The hospice is currently trying to raise funds to build a day centre to provide people like Natty with 24/7 critical care, and also offer their families respite.”
Darren will be joined at the 10K by fellow Birmingham City fan and champion boxer Frankie Gavin.
Frankie, a former British and Commonwealth welterweight title holder, who runs the Ringside Gym in Acocks Green, while preparing for his next title bout, is running the 10K to raise money for Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity after the hospital's doctors and nurses helped save the life of his cousin Mike McMahon's newborn son Callum.
Callum was rushed to the hospital by ambulance after becoming unresponsive at just two days old. Thanks to the care he received at the hospital, he is now recovering from a blood sugar illness.
Romana Abdin, CEO of Simplyhealth, said: “We never cease to be amazed at the inspiring stories behind why so many people run to raise money for causes close to their hearts. At Simplyhealth we are committed to charitable giving and every year give 10% of our pre-tax profit to charitable activities.
“We're really looking forward to joining the thousands of people at the start line of the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K this weekend. Whether you're running, jogging or walking, we'll be supporting you every step of the way.”
The Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, will be on the start-line cheering on the thousands of participants. He said: “The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K is a popular fixture on Birmingham's running calendar and, whether you're an experienced runner aiming for a personal best or a beginner tackling the distance for the first time, this is a great event.
“Good luck to everyone taking part and I'd encourage everyone else to cheer the runners and walkers on as they get active and raise money for a wide range of charities.”
The 10K Business Challenge will see more than 30 companies competing for fastest-time trophies and bragging rights in the corporate world. Among these is the Birmingham office of professional services company PwC which has been inspiring its Midlands workforce to get active and boost office morale by taking part.
Two of the city's biggest universities – the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University – will have hundreds of staff and students at the 10K to help promote active lifestyles on campuses.
The elite men's race will take on a distinctly Commonwealth flavour with Ugandan Moses Kipsiro the main attraction. Three-time Commonwealth champion Kipsiro lines up against England's Andy Vernon who represented his country on the Gold Coast earlier this month, while veteran Frenchman Bob Tahri will also be expected amongst the frontrunners.
In the women's race, the trio of Gemma Steel, Jenny Nesbitt and Katrina Wootton will compete in a Battle of Britain over the 10K course.
Roads will be closed on Sunday, May 6th, to allow all participants and spectators to enjoy the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K in safety. To find out which roads are closed and the times they re-open click here