Know what to expect – your Great Birmingham Run route

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‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,’ said Alexander Pope, but we’d have to disagree. Here at Great Run, we think a little knowledge is exactly what you need to take your run from good to great.

Doing your mental prep and knowing your route inside out – from the hilly bits to the flats, and the long, hard straights to the twists and turns – can give you just the physical boost you need at just the right time. Plus, it can stop you feeling overwhelmed and out of control on race day.

No need to worry, though: whether you’ve signed up for the AJ Bell Great Birmingham 10k or the half marathon, we’ve got all the race info, insider tips and training hacks you need to start your training strong.

Read on…

10k and half marathon – get route ready

Our first bit of advice is simple: head to the event page and check out the route maps – they’re live, up-to-date and here to help you. You’ll also get a reminder a month before your event when your digital event guide is ready. It’s never too early to start getting familiar with them!

Here’s our quick summary, though: it’s a twisty one! Although both the 10k and the half marathon are city centre routes, there are plenty of lefts and rights to keep things interesting – particularly for the 10k. Whereas the half marathon includes a long, largely straight out-and-back stretch along Pershore Road (with a little loop around Edgbaston and Cannon Hall Park juuuust to keep things interesting), the 10k has you turning at just about every mile – and seeing some of Birmingham’s most iconic sights as you go.

Both the 10k and the half marathon start at Centenary Square and finish at Smithfield, meaning you’ll experience that big event buzz at both the start and the finish line.

Route need-to-knows and training tips 

Although the 10k and the half marathon have the same city centre start and finish, it’s really a tale of two runs. 10k runners need to prepare for lots of turns – and half marathon runners will need to do the same, except they’ll also need to be ready for a largely straight seven-mile section (apart from a quick loop around Cannon Hill Park and Edgbaston). You know what to do: build some long straight road stretches into your training so that you’re physically – and mentally – prepared.

Previous Great Birmingham Run runners describe sections of the route as ‘undulating’, so get prepared for those ups and downs with some hill training. Run of a Kind have shared some of their favourite training runs with us and suggest heading to the Lickey Hills or Cofton Park to get race-ready.

Know what to look out for. 10k runners, the first time you see Mailbox, you’re coming up to your halfway point – and once you see it a second time, you’ve passed it – keep going! Half marathon runners, once you draw level with Edgbaston, you’re at the 6-mile point – almost halfway there. Use your knowledge of Brummie landmarks to give yourself a mental pep talk – you can do this!

Other hints and hacks: 

Make training more fun – join one of Birmingham’s many running groups and get to know the route while you’re at it. Our top running group picks are here, but there are plenty to choose from. Let’s get social!

A city centre race calls for some urban training – but be safe and be seen. Keep your headphones out or your volume low if running near traffic and wear high-vis clothing if running early or late.

See your 2024 Great Birmingham Run route here – happy training!

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