WE are only halfway through the year, and already thousands of inspirational moments and stories have arrived on our start lines and crossed that all-important finish line.

Here, we take a look at some of the stories and runners to catch our attention so far this year.

If you’re inspired to take on any of our remaining events this year, take a look here and find your next challenge.

Here’s to the rest of the year!

Sprint Finishes

The year began in style with the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh International XCountry at Holyrood Park, where Scottish distance runner Callum Hawkins looked to have victory in the bag over the 8KM course – only to be pipped on the final straight by American Leonard Korir. The groans were almost as loud as the cheers that preceded it, but Hawkins, who will run in the marathon in August’s World Championships in London, became the first Briton in seven years to beat Sir Mo Farah, who finished in seventh place.

In the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K, there was an equally thrilling finish in the men’s race as Frankline Keitany, in his first race outside of his native Kenya, swept past Ugandan Olympian Timothy Toroitich in a magnificent sprint finish in the 10k, which was televised live on Channel Five.

A Marathon Debut

While Great Run have been staging mass participation running events around the United Kingdom ever since our first event, the Great North Run in 1981, we had never organised a marathon before. That all changed in 2017 with the inaugural Stirling Scottish Marathon, where 7,000 runners took on the classic 26.2mile distance along an iconic, scenic route through central Scotland – the only marathon to start in a safari park and finish next to a castle.

Running legends Liz McColgan and Zola Budd rolled back the years to take part in the event, which was won by former Stirling University student Andrew Lemoncello.

Next up on the marathon calendar is the first-ever Birmingham International Marathon which will see 9,000 runners descend on the Second City on October 15.

Record Breakers

Interest in running is showing no signs of tailing off, which is reflected by record entries into two of our events this year. The Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10K saw 13,000 entries, a massive increase on 2016 numbers, while the Simplyhealth Great North 10K saw 5,500 take on the testing, yet scenic course on the banks of the Tyne, finishing in Gateshead International Stadium.

Manchester – A City United

There was shock and terrible sadness after the terror attacks on Manchester Arena on Monday, 22 May. 23 people lost their lives with many more injured, and a city was in mourning. The decision was taken to press ahead with the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run and the Arcadis Great CityGames Manchester which were due to take place the following weekend. The eyes of the world fell once again on Manchester that weekend and the city did not disappoint, with 30,000 participants taking on the 10k, half marathon and Junior and Mini events as an emotional tribute to Manchester and its people.

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things

We’re constantly impressed, awed and amazed by our runners. So many take part for personal reasons, to raise money for charity, to get fit, or just to prove to themselves and everyone else that they can do it.

We celebrate every runner and cheer every single one of you over our finish lines around the United Kingdom, and 2017 is no different.

In Manchester, we had the inspirational Dawn Nisbet, who epitomises so many of our runners and is well on the way to clocking up 1,000km for the year. Then there was Jess Dyer, who fought back from depression to take on the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run, and Helen Bacon, who trained for the 10KM in between chemotherapy treatment for terminal cancer.

And there’s Blind Dave Heeley, the visually-impaired runner taking on every Great Run this year alongside his support team. He’s been with us every step of the way, and has even inspired other runners to follow suit. Jay Semple has joined us for every event since the inaugural Stirling Scottish Marathon in May and will be taking on all events for the rest of the year.

Have you been inspired by our amazing runners? Sign up for one of our events here