The Great Run Company announced the launch of its newest event, the Great East Run, in Ipswich today. The half marathon event will be held in the town on Sunday 24 September 2017.
Together with their key partners Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, the Great Run Company will be bringing the UK's biggest series of mass participation running events to East Anglia.
The company stages events in over 15 locations including the Great Manchester Run, the Great South Run and their flagship event, the Great North Run in Newcastle – the world's biggest half marathon with 57,000 entrants.
Following many successful years of the Ipswich Half Marathon, run by Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, organisers plan to take the event to the next level with a closed road course, which will take runners through the town centre as well as taking in some of the area's most iconic sights.
Today's launch was held at Suffolk County Council's Endeavour House on Russell Road. This location, along with Ipswich Town Football Club's Portman Road stadium will provide the backdrop for the event's start and finish lines.
On the new course, runners will pass the prestigious Willis building designed by Lord Foster before heading towards the town's vibrant waterfront. The route then goes past Felaw Maltings on the way out and back along Wherstead Road, where participants will pass twice under the iconic Orwell Bridge.
On returning to Ipswich town centre, runners will pass over the Wet Dock lock gates and continue along the waterfront for a second time, before crossing the finish line on Sir Alf Ramsey Way.
Perfect for new runners or those looking for a half marathon PB, the course will be fast and flat.
Alison Beech, Chair of Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, said: “After our hard work establishing this popular event we are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the Great Run Company.
“This will enable us to help take the Ipswich Half marathon to the next level which will benefit our club, the town and most especially the runners.”
Partners are confident that the inaugural Great East Run will continue to raise East Anglia's profile as a tourism destination for both runners and spectators across the UK.
Councillor Tony Goldson, Cabinet Member for Health at Suffolk County Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Suffolk and we are delighted to be working in partnership with the Great Run Company and other local partners to establish a Great Run event in Suffolk and the east region.
“Mass participation events of this nature are proven to help inspire people to get active whilst making very positive contributions to the local economy and tourism.
“I look forward to seeing the event develop and help us achieve our ambition of becoming England's most active county.”
Organisers are also encouraging local companies to get involved in the Business Challenge, which pits local organisations against each other to encourage team building and healthy rivalry.
Councillor Bryony Rudkin, Deputy Leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: "We welcome the Great East Run to our county town and are confident that it will attract thousands of competitors.
“This event builds on the success of the Larking Gowen Ipswich Half Marathon and helps us to promote sport and wellbeing to an even bigger audience."
Philippa Morrow, Project Manager for the Great East Run, said: “We are thrilled to be able to bring the Great Run series to East Anglia.
“Ipswich is a vibrant, historic town that will provide a stunning backdrop for this event.
“We have developed excellent relationships with our key partners in Suffolk and Ipswich through the success of the Great East Swim and we have over thirty years of experience in organizing some of the world's biggest and most favourite running events.
“We plan to use this knowledge to ensure that the Great East Run is a must do event in every runner's calendar.”
Entries for the Great East Run are now open at Greatrun.org/East