Ten thousand runners are expected on the start line of the Great Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday 25 September. The iconic event will see participants from around the South West and across the UK descend on the city to take on the 13.1-mile challenge.
Emily Diamond – whose heroic third leg of the women’s 4x400m relay helped secure a bronze medal for Team GB in Rio – will be the official honorary starter. Emily will be joined by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Jeffrey Lovell and Bristol Flyers players Brandon Boggs and Hameed Ali.
Emily said, ”The Olympics was a really incredible experience for me, and I hope I can bring some of that Rio magic along with me on the day to inspire Bristolians taking part in the Great Bristol Half Marathon.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the thousands of people cheering and waving as they set off through the city centre. Whether people are running, jogging or walking, I hope they have been inspired by Team GBs performance to give it their best shot. “
Runners of all ages and abilities are expected to take part, running for a variety of reasons including raising money for a good cause, to beat a PB or just for fun.
Four people going above and beyond to complete the event gathered in Millennium Square today ahead of the event to talk about their reasons for running.
Tamara Fraser has travelled 4550 miles from her home in Petite Riviera, Nova Scotia, Canada to take part for local Bristol girl, Sophie Tutton who has Rett Syndrome. Tamara is a member of the I Run for Michael Facebook community, which matches runners with special needs children around the world who aren’t able to run themselves. The group raises money for non-profits including Special Olympics and the Make-A-Wish Foundation through fundraisers and sposorship.
Sean Gaffney from Yeovil is a lower leg amputee. An athlete who competed in the Invictus Games in 2016, he continues to compete at numerous sporting events and speak to school-children and young adults about achievement through adversity.
Two runners from Bristol University Athletics Club, Ben Topely & James Thompson are attempting to break the world record for completing a half marathon while dressed as a pantomime horse! Guinness World Records will verify the attempt.
Joining them on the start line will be presenter and author Nell McAndrew. Since taking up running in her twenties she has become an accomplished amateur athlete, and is looking forward to running in the city for the first time.
“I’m really excited to take on the Great Bristol Half Marathon this weekend, it’s a beautiful city and I’m expecting some great support from the crowds. I’ll be supporting my two chosen charities, Cancer Research UK and Alzheimers UK.”
Local charities are also well represented, and the local nominated charity, The Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity, are expecting 84 runners and are hoping to raise £20,000.
Suzanne Maverick, fundraising manager, The Grand Appeal, said, “We are thrilled to be the official charity partner of this year’s Great Bristol Half Marathon! We’re looking forward to seeing our truly terrific team of fundraisers pounding the streets to raise vital funds to support Bristol Children’s Hospital, and will be cheering them all the way to the finish line!
“Meeting our runners for a pre-race photo in the Charity Village is great fun, but what’s best is when they come to show off their medals afterwards. This brilliant event always creates a real buzz all around the city, and we hope everyone enjoys the day.”
The event gets underway from 09:15 and takes runners from the Anchor Road start line, along the picturesque course including the Portway, the stunning Avon Gorge, under the Clifton suspension bridge and around the old city.
The event is delivered in partnership with Bristol City Council. Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “We have a great sporting tradition in Bristol, with the half marathon and 10k a highlight in the city’s calendar attracting thousands of runners and spectators.
“We want Bristol to flourish as a prosperous, inclusive and sustainable city in which no-one is left behind and participation in sport is a part of this – sport is a great leveller, it breaks down barriers, helps us find common ground, gives us hope and inspiration.
"I want to congratulate everyone who has made it to the start line – good luck and enjoy your run."
The event, which was first staged in 1989, became part of the Great Run series this year. Andy Graffin, Great Bristol Half Marathon Project Manager at the Great Run Company said, “After the success of the Great Bristol 10K in May, we’re really looking forward to this weekend. The Great Bristol Half Marathon is an opportunity to celebrate all that’s great about the city, including its sporting history and tradition.”