This is the One!

Manchester’s biggest running event with 30,000 participants, and 100,000 spectators, is back this Sunday.

Sunday’s AJ Bell Great Manchester Run is the 21st edition of Manchester’s much-loved and biggest running weekend.

Year after year inspiring participants take part in the tens of thousands, from the elite field and fundraisers to celebrities and fun runners. To mark the start of the weekend, we met up this morning in central Manchester ahead of Sunday’s 10k and half marathon. We were joined by runners raising funds for important charities, elite athletes, and running groups, including Made Running, Elite Athletes Benson Kipruto, and Lily Patridge. The University of Manchester also joined us with a group of runners who will be a part of the 1,824 runners joining the 10k PurpleWave on Sunday to make their 200th anniversary. More details on their inspiring stories are below.

Caption: participants of the 21st Great Manchester Run met this morning ahead of Sunday’s 10k and half marathon, including Elite Athletes Lily Patridge and Benson Kipruto, barefoot runner Ermias Yirgu, runners from Made Running group, and University of Manchester’s Bicentenary runners.

Paul Foster, Chief Executive for The Great Run Company, said: “Over 30k runners are signed up to take part in the world-famous Great Manchester 10k and half marathon event this Sunday, 26 May, with over 100,000 spectators expected to line the streets, roaring runners on from start to finish.

“The event also raises millions of pounds each year for charity, something we’re very proud of.

“Broadcast live on Sunday on BBC One to millions, there’s an electric atmosphere from start to finish, with live bands, charity cheer points and tens of thousands of supporters cheering along the way.”

Elite athletes

The Great Manchester Run participants share the start and finish line with the best runners in the world. The event has been able to attract some of the greatest names in running, from Haile Gebrselassie to Tirunesh Dibaba and Sir Mo Farah.

At this morning’s press call, women’s 10k elite athlete, Lily Partridge of Great Britain joined us to represent the women’s elite field. Lily is the 2023 Great South Run Champion and the 8th fastest Brit to ever to run the marathon at 2.25.12.

Lily was joined by men’s 10k elite athlete, Benson Kipruto of Kenya who has just been selected for the Marathon at the Paris Olympics this summer.  Benson is the male 2024 Tokyo Marathon Champion.

Masters race within a race

This year’s Bank Holiday Weekend event will feature a Race within a Race, as England take on Wales in the 10k as part of the International Age Group Masters Match – representing either England or Wales.

These runners have had to qualify to be part of this international match across five qualifying events, including the 2023 AJ Bell Great Bristol Run and Great Manchester Run.

Famous faces

This year several famous faces will also be running the 10k.

  • Gemma Atkinson, actress, radio host, podcast presenter & author is running with a group of friends, as well as alongside her Hits Radio, co-presenter Mike Toolan.
  • Heading from the cobbles to the Portland Street start line are a group of Corrie stars including Harriet Bibby, Calum Lill, Adam Hussain, Peter Ash, Elle Mulvaney, Channique Sterling Brown, Colson Smith, and Luca Toolan.
  • Joined by Isabel Hodgins, and Danny Miller of Emmerdale. Danny Miller will also be running with good friend, actor, and Co-Founder of their charity Once Upon a Smile, Daniel Jillings.
  • Jaz Singh – Finalist from this year’s The Traitors will be trading in his detective hat for trainers to run the 10k in search of a PB.

Inspiring stories

Made Running 

Hermen Dange, turned away from crime and found a new purpose through the Power of Running. His newfound passion led him to establish Made Running, an inclusive running club in Manchester, which has now grown into a community group dedicated to supporting one another through life’s challenges. Beginning with just seven members, Made Running has blossomed into a close-knit family of more than 1,000.

There are 50 Made Running runners taking part in the half marathon on Sunday and keep an eye out for their cheer zone on the route.

Paul Campbell – Running for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Paul is running the 10k on Sunday with Radio Host, Mike Toolan, his running partner, and they’re both fundraising for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in light of Paul’s son, Hugo, who was diagnosed with a rare tumour called an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumour (ATRT) in August 2022. Paul is specifically fundraising for valuable research into brain tumours in children. This fund will go directly to support the research led by Professor JP Kilday who has shown such care for Hugo during his treatment.

University of Manchester Bicentenary

The University of Manchester is celebrating its 200-year anniversary. Each year the University has a PurpleWave in the 10k. To mark their Bicentenary this year there are 1,824 runners from the University of Manchester taking part. All runners receive a purple t-shirt to run in, coming together to demonstrate the wonderful sense of community and belonging that the university provides.

Brandon Marsh

Brandon sadly tried to end his life back in 2023; but through the help of local charity, Telford African & Afro-Caribbean Resource Centre (TAARC) he got the help he needed. Brandon is running the half marathon on Sunday to raise awareness for asking for help and the ability to recover from mental struggles.

Brandon said: “Local charity, TAARC saved my life and now I’m raising money for them by doing 12 back to back half marathons in 12 weeks; this journey is to show what you can achieve once you escape mental struggles, if you’re struggling – you are not alone.

“I want to show that you can change your life and overcome mental health – this is for those who struggle; I struggle with you, and we are the same!”

“They say it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. Your current situation is not your final destination.”

Martyn Cassidy for Francis House Children’s Hospice

Martyn Cassidy is running the Great Manchester Run 10k as event #46 out of 50 runs he is completing in advance of his 50th birthday in June. He’s chosen to fundraise for a local charity, and has chosen Francis House Children’s Hospice after his daughter had a visit from the hospice at her school. The hospice has 70 runners taking part in the 10k and Half Marathon.

Martyn first took part in the Great Manchester Run in 2005 – his first ever running event after friends, and his now wife Sara, dared him to take part.

Martyn said: “My running started at the Great Manchester Run. I love the route and it’s a great event for a first timer as the crowds and atmosphere pulls you along.”

Ermias Yigur

Ermias has flown in from Ethiopia to take part in Sunday’s half marathon and will be running barefoot to raise awareness for Ethiopian athletics, he is running marathon and half-marathon events around the world to continue to promote Ethiopia and to show that it’s possible to do great things with determination, persistence and discipline and inspire global youth.

Seashell Trust

Sam Royle is a big supporter of the Seashell Trust and signed up to run the Great Manchester 10k, and to make it more of a challenge he’s running in a 20kg weighted vest, which represents some of the young people in Seashell’s care that have heavy equipment and wheelchairs, while others wear weighted jackets which help with reassurance and calming. Imagine your check in luggage at the airport – that’s what he’s carrying round on Sunday! Seashell celebrated their 200 year anniversary recently. They transform the lives of young people with the most complex disabilities. They have a school, college, residentials and also provide external services. We’re at Cheadle Hulme near Stockport.

AJ Bell Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run 

It’s not all about the adults, the Junior & Mini event returns to the Etihad tomorrow – Saturday, 25 May, welcoming runners from 3-8yrs, and 9-15yrs of age. The kids’ events offer high-energy fun from beginning to end, crazy costumes, lots of high fives and a very special finisher’s medal.

The 21st AJ Bell Great Manchester Run takes place on Sunday, 26 May and will televised live on BBC One from 11:00 – 13:00.