Sun shines on new look AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run
A sun-kissed AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run crowned a wonderful weekend of celebration in Birmingham on Sunday, 7 May. The Midlands’ premier running event saw over 12,000 runners set off in the 10k and half marathon, to see the sights of the city centre and south Birmingham.
Runners were welcomed to the start-line with warm-ups and an inspirational set-list from Heart DJs Gemma Hill and Ed James to help motivate them for the challenge ahead, and each wave started with the ringing of a giant bell, and plenty of high-fives.
This year’s event featured a new and improved route that celebrated the best of the city, including the historic Jewellery Quarter, the Mailbox, Grand Central, St Martin’s at Bullring, Cannon Hill Park and Edgbaston Stadium. Runners taking on both distances enjoyed a grandstand finish at Smithfield, home to 2022 Commonwealth Games events.
A new world record was celebrated when 23-year-old Tom Bracey became the first male to complete a half marathon wearing ski boots – the official finish time of 02:47:11 will now be verified by Guinness World Records.
Tom was one of many Great Birmingham Run participants taking on the challenge in running gear with a difference. The 20,000 spectators lining the route high-fived a Spider-man, Purple-Rain Prince, Darth Vader and inflatable sharks, among many other weird and wonderful outfits.
Pc Jess Davies ‘kept right on to the end of the road’ after completing the half marathon in her Birmingham City shirt to honour murdered six-year-old Blues fan Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and to raise funds for the Arthur’s Angels charity.
More than £10 million has been raised for good causes at the Great Birmingham Run since 2017 and charities will once again benefit from the efforts of the thousands running for good causes this year. Charity cheering buses were on the course – with wonderful supporters representing, Alzheimer’s Society, Birmingham Hospice, Cancer Research UK, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Support – to thank the runners for their fundraising exploits and keep their spirits up and legs pumping.
First male finisher in the 10K distance was Olympian Chris Thompson in a time of 00:29:27, with Rachel Gifford the first female finisher in a time of 00:36:30.
First male in the half marathon was Omar Ahmed in a time of 01:05:23. First female in the half marathon was Birmingham runner Hayley Carruthers in a time of 01:21:11.
More than 500 children took part in the Junior & Mini events – many dressed in regal robes and crowns – for a high-octane sprint across Birmingham city centre, while a host of companies of all sizes took on competitors for bragging rights and fastest-time trophies in the Business Challenge.
Charlie Musson, brand and PR director at AJ Bell, said: “Birmingham has been a fantastic host city for our first race as sponsor of the AJ Bell Great Run series. It’s great to see so many runners achieving personal milestones and raising money for good causes and the sunshine has added to the feel good feeling. We’re looking forward to coming back for many years to come.”
Paul Foster, Chief Executive of the Great Run Company, added: “What a wonderful weekend we’ve had in Birmingham. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came out to cheer, support, volunteer and of course, to those who ran, for making this year’s AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run so memorable.”
Entries are now open for next year’s AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run, which will take place on Sunday, 5 May, 2024. The 10k and half marathon are open for entries with a two-week launch price* of £25 for the 10k (standard price £31) and £33 for the half marathon (standard price £41). Find out more & enter here
*Launch price offer ends at 9am on Monday 22 May.