GMR 20 Stories – Jess Dyer

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.

26-year-old Jess Dyer from Sale, endured severe bullying at secondary school which led her to self-harm for the first time when she was just 11 years old. Jess was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 13 and made several suicide attempts over a number of years.

Following support from the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), she first signed up to the Great Manchester Run in 2015, at age 20, to raise money for the mental health charity, Mind and celebrate five years since her last suicide attempt.

Jess, described completing her first 10k at the Great Manchester Run as ‘emotional, overwhelming and incredible’

Jess explains, “I first signed up for the Great Manchester Run to challenge myself. I’d never been much of a runner but I wanted to walk towards something and a 10km race seemed like the best way to start. It was also a fantastic opportunity to raise money for a charity very important to me.

“I have great memories of that first year, a few nerves, lots of fun and some tears! The feeling when I crossed the finish line of my first race, having raised over £1,000 for Mind was just incredible.

“I’ve continued to run and I love it! It’s such a huge part of my life. I’ve managed to set new goals and achieve things I never expected. I pushed myself to half marathon and full marathon distances and have continued raising money for Mind along the way.

“Mind is such an important charity to me because of the incredible work that they do to help those living with poor mental health.

“With my personal lived experience of anxiety and depression, I know all too well the feelings of loneliness and helplessness that come with it. Charities like Mind allow people to have the safe space and someone to talk to who understands.

“I’m planning on running again this year, it will be my fourth Great Manchester Run. The event always has a fantastic atmosphere and I’m sure this will be no different.”

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.

This year’s event takes place on Sunday 21 May and entries are open now. Click here to sign up.