HE has been a fixture at Great Run events in Birmingham over the last couple of years, but The Grinch is officially retiring following October’s Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run.
Mark Sinclair is the runner who has donned the costume since 2015, and by the time the half marathon comes around on Sunday, October 15, he will have ran a whopping 13 times in it in events around the country.
What started as something to mark his 50th birthday, the Grinch became a regular at the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run and its sister event, the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K, but the Netherton dad is hanging up the mask and costume following the event.
Mark said of his distinctive running garb: “I think it has had enough, it is a little worn out. By the time I’ll be running in Birmingham it will have been the 13th time. I have had to make modifications to it over the years and I think that I’ve done my days in it to be honest.
“It was my 50th in 2015 and I had set myself a challenge, I decided that I was going to run a half marathon on my birthday and with The Grinch being my daughter’s favourite character at the time, I thought I’d wear the outfit.
“I have to keep tweaking it though, I have trouble breathing in it so I have had to add snorkels to it. It’s not the costume that’s the problem, just the actual mask and breathing through it.
“I’ve done all the Birmingham events from day one. Last time in Birmingham I ran with the 2022 Commonwealth Games flag as well which I knocked up the night before. Running with that didn’t help me either. Running with a suit is bad enough but a flag makes it much more difficult.”
Mark is raising money for Heads Up Cancer Support, a head and neck cancer charity based in New Cross.
He explained: “People know about the big cancer charities but not a lot know about Heads Up Cancer Support, so it’s about raising awareness of them.”
Running with The Grinch costume adds up to 40 minutes on to a 10k run for Mark, so he is naturally reluctant to consider a new costume in the future. He is, however, open to suggestions.
He said: “I may plan another outfit, but I don’t know. My daughter suggested I run as Mr Pricklepants out of Toy Story 3, but I don’t know. It depends what happens. I think the Grinch has definitely had its day though.”
Mark will join thousands of runners on a new course around Birmingham’s city centre, finishing alongside Millennium Point, and is relieved to see that the infamous hill which caused grief for so many runners, has been removed for this year’s events.
He said: “I’m glad the organisers got rid of the hill. Going up the hill twice in that costume is a tough task. You can tell the people who know about the hill because they sigh just before they get there, because they know what is about to happen.
“People around them are saying ‘what are they sighing for’ – you know what’s coming. When it gets to the hill it’s a case of saving energy and walking the rest of the way.
“The new finish is great – people can find a bit of space on the green area and relax after their run, so I’m looking forward to that bit.”