Manchester Transformed Into Sea Of Runners

Great Comeback 3

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MANCHESTER city centre was transformed into a sea of runners as thousand took to the streets to take part in the Great Manchester Run on Sunday.

Huge crowds of spectators created a carnival atmosphere along the 10k route as the city enjoyed one of its biggest sporting occasions of the year. 

The 14th edition of the run, shown live on BBC Two, produced the 300,000th finisher in the history of an event which is now a traditional fixture for the city. 

A field of 35,000 took part in Europe's biggest 10k and the third largest mass participation running event in the United Kingdom, where Ethiopian stars Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba took the victory.

Bekele came home in 28.08 ahead of Wilson Kipsang in 28.15, with David McNeill third in 28.39 after the hotly-tipped Zane Robertson fell away to finish fourth.

The 33-year-old said: “It's great to be here in Manchester, it's a great place with great people. Everything was fantastic and I'm happy to be here. It was a great race and I'm happy with the win.”

Dibaba, meanwhile, picked up where she left off after taking time off to have a baby – her victory from Edna Kiplagat coming in her first race since 2014.

The 30-year-old's winning time of 31.16 could not be bettered by Kenyan Kiplagat nine seconds behind, with Diane Nukuri third in 31.49.
Dibaba, who aims to represent Ethiopia in this year's Olympic Games, said: “I felt a bit nervous [before the race] but I'm happy with my result. 

“I did not expect this time; I just wanted to win. I didn't know what was going to happen so I had no clue about the time.”

Runners were entertained by bands situated along a route which took in famous sights such as Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, the famous cobbles of Coronation Street's set and the 47-storey Beetham Tower skyscraper. 

World boxing champion Anthony Crolla led home his ‘Crolla's Army' – a specially selected group of ten runners who all benefited from training and guidance provided by Crolla.

There were also a host of celebrities on the route, including former New Order star Peter Hook, Sunderland and England defender Michael Gray, and Coronation Street stars Jack P Shepherd and Tina O'Brien.

England manager Roy Hodgson was the honorary starter of the event, ahead of England's friendly with Turkey at the Etihad Stadium later that day.

The Great Manchester Run completed a memorable weekend of sport which began with the Co-operative Bank Great CityGames Manchester on Friday and continued with the junior and mini Great Manchester Run on Saturday morning.

One of the event's honorary starters, Channel 5's Milkshake! TV presenter Olivia Birchenough was also there to support runners from the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity.

She said: “I was delighted to be an honorary race starter at this year's Mini Great Manchester Run and it was amazing to be able to cheer along all the young runners who were taking part.

“I recently visited Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and was amazed by the positivity of the patients, despite the challenges they face on a daily basis.”

Olivia was joined by Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell and inspirational fundraisers Ella Chadwick and Josh Cubbin, who have thrown themselves into supporting the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity.

The event was also a huge milestone for the GO Run For Fun (GRFF) campaign, sponsored by INEOS, celebrating its 130,000th runner at the Mini Great Manchester Run.

David Hart, Communications Director at organisers The Great Run Company, said: "The Great Manchester Run was another wonderful day for the city and it was great to see so many people, both in the city centre and out on the course supporting the runners. 

"We'd like to thank everyone who participated in different ways, including runners, spectators and volunteers who helped make the day run so smoothly. 

"Once again millions of pounds has been raised for charities, many of them local to Manchester, and the Run is an important focal point for such tireless fundraising." 

The success of the 10k follows the news that a half marathon event will be added to the weekend next year.

The Great Manchester Run half marathon is to be staged on the same day as the 10k event, forming part of a weekend that includes the Great CityGames and the Mini and Junior events.

The half marathon will follow a new route, taking in both the Etihad Campus and Old Trafford, running over the Mancunian Way, and finishing at the same point as the 10K beside the Beetham Tower on Deansgate.

The new, 13.1 mile event will offer an opportunity for Great Manchester Run 10K runners to experience a new challenge.
Both events will take place on Sunday 28th May 2017, and entries are open at greatrun.org/Manchester