Know what to expect – your Great Manchester Run route

Brooks Shoe Finder

A wise man once said that knowledge is power – and that’s certainly the case with running. 

If you know what to expect on the road ahead – the tough inclines, the steady flats, the twists and turns and the markers you can use to chart your progress – you can use this knowledge as you train. And ultimately, you’re going to feel more confident and in control on race day.

So, here’s the good news: we’ve got all the info you need to train smart for your AJ Bell Great Manchester Run challenge. Whether you’ve signed up for the 10k or the half marathon, our insider knowledge and route-specific training hacks will get you on the right track – and heading towards your greatest run ever. 

10k and half marathon – get route ready

The Great Manchester Run 10k and half marathon route maps are already live  here. They’ll also go out in your digital event guide a month before your event. On your marks, get set, start studying!

Here’s our quick route summary: the 10k and the half marathon routes begin in the same place: on Portland Street in the city centre. All runners continue together until the half-marathon route branches off onto Mancunian Way and heads up to the Etihad Stadium and back.

Half-marathon runners rejoin the 10k route down Chester Road and Bridgewater Way towards Old Trafford. At Salford Quays, all runners dash Coronation Street’s Rovers Return and the Imperial War Museum North, before heading towards the finish line at the bottom of Deansgate. 

Route need-to-knows and training tips

It’s all city centre, with some long, straight road stretches – especially if you’re a half-marathon runner on that lengthy Mancunian Way/Ashton Old Road/Alan Turing Way section up to Etihad. Our top tip: build lengthy straights into your training routes to build a strong mindset as well as physical stamina.

All Great Manchester runners will spend some time running alongside the canal, so why not get some waterside training into your routine? Start on the Rochdale Canal Path in Manchester City Centre and head out of the city for a straight, simple run – then double back. And, as an added bonus, it’s traffic-free!

Elevation-wise, both routes are pretty flat – great news for runners seeking a PB. However, hill training should still form part of your training if you’re focusing on more than simply getting round the course. Jutland Street behind Piccadilly Station or Balloon Street are both great for some reps – or, if you’re feeling brave, head for Gould Street and its 300 metres of long, hard slog. It’ll all pay off on event day – promise. 

Manchester running group Run Wild have shared their top three Manchester runs with us, and we think their first pick – ‘Beat the Tram’ – is a great out-and-back 10-mile option for towards the end of your half marathon training. Or if you’re doing the 10k, try their number – ‘Hills’ – for a hilly 4k loop.

Other hints and hacks:

At Great Run, we believe in the power of running together – and in Manchester, there’s a running club for everyone. Take your pick from these city centre running clubs and get to know your route while making some new friends. 

You can enjoy the freedom of closed roads on event day, but city centre running means a certain amount of urban training – and hazards like traffic, other footpath users and low lighting. Stay safe – plan your route in advance, keep your wits about you and wear bright clothing.

Know your markers on the day. Doing the 10K? Once you spot the Imperial War Museum, you’re over halfway – keep going! And for half-marathon runners, once you’ve doubled back onto Mancunian Way and rejoined the 10k on Chester Road, you’re well over the seven-mile mark. There are clear distance markers along each route, so you’ll know how far you have left to go.

See the 2024 Great Manchester Run route here – and good luck!

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