The second Simplyhealth Great East Run will take place this weekend on Sunday 16 September, with over 3,500 runners set to tackle the half marathon distance in Ipswich, Suffolk.
The 13.1-mile course will welcome participants of all abilities from around East Anglia and across the country, as they descend on the town to take on the sold-out event.
Together with location partners Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Ipswich JAFFA Running Club, the half marathon features a closed road course that takes runners through the town centre before heading past some of Suffolk’s most iconic sights.
Many of the runners who aim to be their greatest at the event include a competitive club runner field, avid fundraisers and those who are taking on their very first half marathon distance.
The event’s Elite Athlete Ambassador, marathon runner Lily Partridge has supported a group of local participants to go from beginner runners to completing their first half marathon on Sunday.
Lily, who was the first British female at this year’s London Marathon and came tenth in last week’s Simplyhealth Great North Run, has offered advice and training tips to the group through training sessions and Skype calls.
Today, Lily visited a host of Daily Mile schools across Suffolk to celebrate their commitment to encourage physical activity into the children’s daily lives, including Abbots Green Primary school in Bury St Edmunds and Wells Hall Primary School in Sudbury.
Lily also met the group she has trained ahead of the Simplyhealth Great East Run at Britannia Primary School in Ipswich, where they joined over 300 children who were taking on the Daily Mile.
Joanne Porter, from Newmarket is in remission from skin cancer and has been running once a week with friends for headspace. She is set to take part in her first half marathon this weekend.
Amanda Cook, from Ipswich suffers from Lupus and joined the training programme in the hope that running can improve her mental and physical health. She has progressed to run her first ever 10k in August and is set for her first half marathon distance at the Simplyhealth Great East Run.
Suffolk County Council’s headquarters on Russell Road provides the backdrop where runners will line up before the starting gun is fired by Lily.
Runners will then pass the prestigious Willis building designed by Lord Foster before heading towards the town’s vibrant waterfront and through Holywells Park.
The route then goes past Felaw Maltings on the way out and back along Wherstead Road, where participants will pass twice under the iconic Orwell Bridge.
On returning to Ipswich town centre, runners cross the finish line on the practice pitch inside Ipswich Town’s Portman Road Stadium.
Runners can then meet up with friends and family and enjoy the vibrant event village inside the stadium, which includes the new addition of a range of food, drink and craft traders from Suffolk Market Events.
The event, which sold out within months of opening after unprecedented demand, is part of Suffolk County Council’s initiative to become the most active county in England.
Councillor James Reeder, Cabinet Member for Health at Suffolk County Council, said: “It’s testament to the success of last year’s inaugural Great East Run that a further 500 people will be taking to the start line on Sunday to complete their own personal challenge.
“We know from experience that hosting mass participation events of this nature can provide the catalyst to get people active and help inspire them to stay active.
“Support along the route for participants last year was fantastic and I would encourage residents to come out again, get involved, and give the runners a cheer as they pass by, as I know it makes a real difference.
Caroline Sharp, Head of Communications at Simplyhealth said: “We’re really looking forward to returning to Ipswich for the Simplyhealth Great East Run.
“We know that being active can really help people make the most of life so it’s great to hear stories like Joanna and Amanda’s on how they are taking on their first half marathon.”
Organisers are also confident that the event will continue to raise East Anglia’s profile as a tourism destination for both runners and spectators across the UK.