Sir Richard Leese, Jesse Lingard and NHS heroes named as honorary starters
On Sunday 26 September, the Great Manchester Run – presented by ExpressTest by Cignpost, will be back on the city’s streets for the first time since May 2019. The event, which was cancelled last year and postponed again this May due to Covid restrictions, will bring thousands of runners together in a celebration of everything that’s great about the North West.
The honorary starters have been announced today as Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, Manchester United Footballer Jesse Lingard and local NHS heroes of the pandemic.
Chairman of the Great Run Company, Sir Brendan Foster said, “It will be a privilege to have Sir Richard on the start line setting runners on their way on Sunday, he was instrumental in bringing the Great Manchester Run to the city as a legacy event of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
“He has been involved in every single Great Manchester Run that has been staged since then, so it’s fitting to have him here at our first one back since the start of the pandemic.”
Sir Richard will be joined by local hero Jesse Lingard. The Manchester United Footballer who was born and brought up in Warrington will stand alongside local NHS front line staff who went above and beyond during the pandemic.
They include, Omer Aziz a consultant colorectal and laparoscopic surgeon at The Christie. Dr Omer was part of the team that ensured urgent cancer surgery took place throughout the pandemic. Omer and the team worked additional hours, including Bank Holidays to ensure that as many cancer patients as possible, many of whom who would usually be treated at other hospitals, could have their surgery.
Thousands of runners of all ages and abilities are expected to take part on Sunday across the 10K, Half Marathon and Junior and Mini events.
Amongst them will be the Broude family from Prestwich, raising money to carry on the legacy of their father Peter who sadly passed away in May 2020. Peter had taken part in the Great Manchester Run for many years for The Christie, after losing son Robert to a rare form of Leukaemia in 2004. In his memory 15 of Peter’s family and friends will be running dressed as the Hulk.
Also taking on the challenge for worthy cause will be Emon Choudhury, one half of the winning pair of the latest series of the BBC’s Race Across the World. He’ll be taking part with fellow cast members running as part of a 40 strong team on Sunday to raise money to build an Orphanage in Nepal. Emon is currently at £24,000 of his £100,000 target.
Joining the masses, a competitive elite field will also be in attendance. Heading the women’s field is Eilish McColgan, who made an impressive debut over the half marathon distance at the Great North Run, that saw her become the fastest ever female British debutant over 13.1 miles. She will be looking to go one better on Sunday after her second place finish on Tyneside.
McColgan may be more suited to this distance than her British rivals, but will still face stiff competition in the form of three fellow British Olympians from Tokyo. 2021 European Indoor 3000m Champion Amy-Eloise Markovc and steeplechaser Aimee Pratt will both make their Manchester debuts this weekend. Jess Piasecki who represented Team GB at the marathon makes up the quartet of Olympians.
There will be strong competition from outside of Britain too with 6 National Champions toeing the line from Europe and Australia, all vying for podium places.
In the men’s race, Marc Scott will be hoping to add the Great Manchester Run champion title to both Great North Run, which he impressively won 2 weeks ago and the Great South Run title which he claimed in 2019. Marc comes into the event full of confidence after his recent victory but will face a serious challenge from Olympic silver medallist Abdi Nageeye of The Netherlands who will also be keen to add this title after an impressive summer at the Tokyo Olympics
Zane Robertson has the fastest time on paper and he will be keen to show he’s back to his best as we move into the autumn marathon season. Andrew Butchart and Chris Thompson head the further British challenge, with the former winning his last outing over this distance in Stirling earlier this month.
The Great Manchester Run combines a fast and flat route through the centre of the city, runners can look forward to the return of the high-energy music and entertainment zones that have become synonymous with the event.
More than twenty local bands, DJs & charity cheering buses will line the course, creating a buzzing atmosphere from start to finish. The popular Hacienda inspired music zone will return in 2021, with Clint Boon and DJ Helen Stelling Holt among the local musical performers boosting runners along the course.
Entries for the event close at 10am on Saturday 25 September. For more information or to enter visit greatrun.org/manchester
This year’s Great Manchester Run will be televised live on BBC One between 11:00 – 13:00.