The City of Manchester will once again provide the stage for 30,000 runners as they take over the streets for the 16th staging of the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run on Sunday 20 May.
The third largest running event in the country, it includes the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run as well as the adult’s half marathon and 10k.
In 2017, the run was staged just six days after the devastating Manchester Arena attack, this year the anniversary of those tragic events will be marked with a minutes silence on the start line.
A number of those personally affected will be participating to raise funds for local charities. Martin Hibbert, who was left paralysed from the waist down after the attack will take on the 10K a racing wheelchair.
He is aiming to raise £1M for the three Manchester Hospitals that saved his life. 15-year-old Freya Lewis, who was also left seriously injured, will be the honorary starter in the Junior event.
Freya and her dad Nick, who is also tackling the 10K, are raising money for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity.
Paul Foster, Chief Executive of The Great Run Company, said: “Following the terrible events at Manchester Arena, we know last year’s run was an important opportunity for the people of Manchester to come together to demonstrate their spirit and solidarity.
“We hope Sunday will be a chance not only to remember those lost and others directly affected, but also to reaffirm the resolve of this great city which continues today.”
Celebrities including Coronation Street stars Katie McGlynn, raising money for Springhill Hospice in Rochdale and Cherylee Houston raising funds for drama project Triple C for young people with disabilities in Manchester, will join the masses. Great Britain’s greatest ever distance runner, Sir Mo Farah, will lead the field in in the elite race.
Farah will be will be battling Abel Kirui of Kenya in his first appearance at the race since 2007. The ten-time world and Olympic champion, will be racing his first 10K on the road since announcing his retirement from the track after last year’s World Championships.
World record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya will battle it out with Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia in the women’s elite race. Jepkosgei, the only woman to run a 10K under 30 minutes – will be up against reigning champion Dibaba, who won in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, alongside Diane Nukuri representing Burundi and fellow Kenyan Betsy Saina.
Runners will be entertained by more on course entertainment than ever, with bands and DJs all along a route that takes them past Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, towards Salford Quays before turning back towards the city centre and the finish line on Deansgate.
Those taking on the half marathon distance will also run on Mancunian Way, a stretch of motorway usually closed to pedestrians.
Romana Abdin, CEO at Simplyhealth, said: “This Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run will once again showcase the incredible spirit of the City, with people of all ages coming together. We all know that staying fit and active is great for everyday health and we’re here to help runners every step of the way. We’ll be cheering runners through our support zone along the route and then helping them to kick-start their recovery with our stretch zone and massage zone once they’ve crossed the finish line.”
Over 3,000 staff students and alumni will be representing the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University and for the first time over 350 NHS staff representing the Manchester University Foundation Trust will take part in distinctive NHS blue t-shirts.
Almost 3,000 runners from 180 companies across Greater Manchester will be competing in the annual Business Challenge event.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run is always one of the biggest events in our sporting calendar, but this year, it will have real resonance, after last year’s event epitomised Manchester’s spirit of togetherness following the heinous attack on our city.
“So many inspiring stories emerged from last year’s run and this year’s event will be just as incredible, with thousands of local people ready to get active and rub shoulders with some of the best athletes in the world.”
The weekend of sport will get off to a top-quality start on Friday night with the Arcadis Great CityGames Manchester, where spectators will be able to witness free of charge some of the world’s best athletes competing under the floodlights on Deansgate and Albert Square. Record-breaking sprinter Allyson Felix will compete in the 150m.
The 32-year-old has held the record for fastest 150m in Manchester ever since she clocked 16.36 in 2013 – a then world best time.
The 17-time world and Olympic champion was a clear winner on Deansgate and joined the illustrious band of sprinters to have recorded a super-speedy time on the pop-up track.
Meanwhile, Andrew Pozzi will race against Olympic champion Aries Merritt in the 110m hurdles, while Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines Aryeetey will take on the 150m and 100m events respectively, fresh from their gold medal win at the Commonwealth Games as part of the 4x100m relay on the Gold Coast.
The Arcadis Great CityGames will be shown live on BBC 2 from 18:00 -19:30 Friday 18 May.
The Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run will be shown live on BBC 2 12:00 -14:30 Sunday 20 May.