The AJ Bell Great Manchester Run in 2023 will be the 20th staging of the event. In recognition of this incredible milestone, we’re looking back on 20 unforgettable stories from two decades of running in the capital of the North.
46-year-old Clare Bond, from Wigan, originally signed up for the Great Manchester Run in 2010, despite the fact she was battling advanced liver disease and waiting for a transplant at the time. Then aged 33, Clare was suffering from primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a disease affecting the liver. She was diagnosed at 28 after suffering from uncontrollable itching, weight gain and fatigue. As her condition deteriorated Clare suffered from crushing tiredness, jaundice and abdominal pains.
“People with liver disease don’t take part in these runs,” said Clare. “At every hospital appointment the doctors couldn’t believe I was running. But the disease brought out my fighting spirit. Taking part meant so much because I’d had so many challenges that year. I was told I’d just have to live my life with fatigue and try and get on with it,” Clare recalls. “The doctors recommended that I work part-time. I decided to keep myself as fit and healthy as possible. We got a dog, Murph, and I started running. That was considered quite abnormal for someone with my condition.”
“In April 2009 came the news I needed a new liver. I wanted to take part in the event to raise awareness of organ donation and ask people to register as donors. I was also trying to keep myself fit and focussed and thought this would be the perfect challenge.”
However, 2010 wasn’t to be Clare’s year to run. “I did a radio interview around 7.30pm the evening before the event, to say I was looking forward to doing the run in the morning. I went home and about 9.30 that night, Leeds hospital rang to say ‘we think we may have a liver for you’. After a very long night, not knowing if I’d be having a liver transplant or running a 10k in Manchester, I got the news the transplant was going ahead. This was around 7.30am on the Sunday morning, so I never actually did the run.
“I managed to get myself out of it nicely by having a liver transplant instead. I finally did the Manchester 10k one year after my transplant May 2011. The atmosphere is always fantastic, that year I was also part of the pre-event press activity with Jessica Ennis-Hill. I received my transplant in 2010 and I’ve stayed fit and healthy since. Including taking part in the World Transplant Games. I carried on running and took up cross fit. I still work full time and I’m now a Mum to 3 children.
“I’m looking forward taking part this year, probably in the best health I’ve been in. Everything in my life is now so much more positive in terms of my work life and family life and all this is because of my transplant.”
Be part of a spectacular running celebration in the heart of Manchester on Sunday 21 May 2023, celebrating 20 years of the AJ Bell Great Manchester Run. Whether you take on the 10k or Half Marathon challenge, you’ll line up on the iconic Portland Street start line and feel the goosebumps as you and 25,000 other runners follow the famous route, pass Manchester landmarks and set your sights on Deansgate for a grandstand finish. With live music and entertainment zones at every turn, roaring charity cheering squads, plus the incredible local support who line the streets to cheer you on, it’ll be a party from start to finish.
For more information or to enter today click here.