GMR 20 Stories – Nicola Graham

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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. 2023 marks the 20th Great Manchester Run. 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.

Nicola Graham from Cheshire first got involved in the event in 2013, to raise funds for Reuben’s Retreat, the charity she founded in memory of her son.

Reuben passed away on the 21st of August 2012 from an aggressive brain tumour whilst on a family holiday in Devon. Nicola wanted to ensure his life would not be in vain and she would build a legacy in his name. The family were committed to donating Reuben’s organs, to save others. Unable to do this, his mummy created something special, and just 2 days after losing Reuben, ‘Reuben’s Retreat’ was born. The charity provides space for families with complexly poorly children, so they can enjoy swim, sensory and therapeutic activities, experience some peace and tranquillity and most importantly, have fun and make memories.

Later, when planning Reuben’s memorial, it was decided that the charity would also support families after the loss of a child. The local charity has used the event as a fundraiser since 2013, they’ve enjoyed huge support from all over the region, including their patron, Coronation Street legend Julie Hesmondhalgh who ran for the charity in 2019.

Nicola explains, “I believe that we all have the ability to leave this world a better place than we found it. This is Reuben’s legacy. His life may have been brief, but it changed a small part of our world for the better.
“2013 was our first experience of the Great Manchester Run as a charity, but 2014 was the year we smashed it with over 300 runners. It’s a great event. I always say that if Manchester were a colour on that day, it would be a big golden yellow light beating out of the city, as runners pound the streets giving back to so many good causes.

“I remember just feeling overwhelmed with gratitude that so many people had signed up to give back to our cause. It was a great feeling of love. It has been our annual “go to “fundraising event, with some people traveling significant distances to join us in Manchester. The TV coverage is fantastic as it gives you the ability to reach others. Others that may wish to support and give, but more importantly it may reach a family that needs us.

“The event is always so special, and this year will be no different, it is going to be another rewarding, tiring and beautiful day stuffed with love. As always, I will be on the finish line to welcome our runner’s home. The 10k inspired my husband to run back in 2014 and he has completed it many times since.”

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.