The Great Manchester Run Returns to the City’s Streets this Weekend
The Great Manchester Run will see people of all ages and abilities return to the city’s streets in a carnival celebration of running, fundraising and Mancunian pride on Sunday 22 May.
All the action will kick off at the Etihad on Saturday as hundreds of budding athletes take on the Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run, with organisers encouraging participants to take part in a mass, bee-themed, fancy dress.
On Sunday, over 20,000 will line up to take on the challenge, alongside elite athletes and with the support of thousands of volunteers and spectators, all televised live on the BBC.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, is running to support the Manchester Foundation Trust Charity and will be running with a large team of NHS staff.
Andy was joined today by a number of inspiring runners to look ahead to the event.
The Edwards family are raising money for the Once Upon A Smile charity which helps bereaved families of children and offered support to the family of Saffie Rose, who was just eight years old when she died in the attack. Jack will be taking part in the Junior Mini Great Manchester Run with Julie tackling the 10K the following day. Julie was at the Ariana Grande concert in 2017 with her now 14-year-old daughter Lily. They were both treated for PTSD in the aftermath.
Sunday will be the 5th anniversary of the Arena attack, it will be remembered at the Great Manchester Run with one-minutes applause at the beginning of each wave to honour the memory of those that lost their lives, acknowledge the courage of everyone affected and recognise the remarkable spirit shown by the city in the aftermath.
The minutes applause at the start of the 10K will be led by the Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Bev Craig and Freya Lewis who suffered devastating injuries in the attack. Freya is also running the 10K for the first time with Dad, Nick and her friends.
Amongst the other runners in attendance today, was Ukrainian Maria Romanenko, who will be taking part in the half marathon on Sunday. She escaped the war and is now living in Manchester while doing everything she can to support those living through the invasion. Maria said, “I did five ‘official’ half-marathons in Kyiv. I always wanted to do a race abroad but I never imagined it would come this quickly. Russia attacked Ukraine on 24 February, forcing me and millions of others out of the country. Most of my family remain in Ukraine and I worry about them every day.
“Running is like meditation to me and crucial for my mental health. When I don’t run for a week, I become stressed and feel unhealthy. As soon as I go for a run, all those feelings disappear.”
Lots of people will be supporting good causes in the city, including Andy Sykes from Ashton under Lyme, running for Manchester Children’s Hospital, where his daughter PixieBelle received treatment when she was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. Running helped Andy switch off while PixieBelle was going through treatment and he found a running group called Daddies Escape in his local area who provided friendship and camaraderie at a really difficult time.
Prolific fundraiser Ella Chadwick will also be taking part in the Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run on Saturday. Ella from Rochdale, was born with nephrotic syndrome and has undergone 40 operations at Manchester Children’s hospital including a life saving kidney transplant.
A number of well-known faces are also expected to take part, including TV star Ferne McCann and Coronation Street actors Adam Blease (Dirk) and Sally-Anne Matthews (Jenny Bradley) who are running for the Dogs Trust.
Alongside the masses will be elite runners lining up for what’s expected to be a competitive 10K. Eilish McColgan will be back to defend her title after winning the race in 2021 in a European women-only record time of 30:52. Expectations for the 2022 race are high after her incredible performance at the Vitality London 10,000 recently, where she came within 2 seconds of taking Paula Radcliffe’s British Record, which has stood for 19 years.
McColgan will face a competitive field in the shape of Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich and 2019 Great Manchester Run Champion, Hellen Obiri. Chepngetich is World Marathon Champion and the 2021 Chicago Marathon Champion while Obiri is a four-time World Champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist who also won the Great North Run in 2021 as she began her transition away from the track.
In the men’s race three-time Oceanic record holder and four-time Diamond League winner, Australian Stewart McSweyn, will be lining up against his countryman, Jack Rayner, the Australian National 10,000m record holder. Jake & Zane Robertson, brothers from New Zealand and holders of the countries two fastest 10,000m times will also compete.
Paul Foster, Chief Executive of The Great Run Company said,” We’re looking forward to a fantastic weekend in Manchester. “Whether you’re running for charity, a personal challenge or just for fun we want to wish you all the best of luck and encourage the city to come out and support all of these extraordinary runners on the day.”
The Great Manchester Run will take place on Sunday 22 May and is televised live on BBC 2 from 11:00 – 13:00.
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