Great Manchester Run 20 Years

The Pride Of Manchester

Great Manchester Run gets ready to celebrate 20 years of running, with the help of some incredible runners...

Inspiring runners came together in Manchester recently to kick off the countdown to the 20th AJ Bell Great Manchester Run. The iconic running event will hit this incredible milestone on Sunday 21 May, when thousands are once again expected to line up on the legendary Portland Street start line.

The Great Manchester Run was first staged in 2003 as a legacy event following the Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester in 2002. The 10K grew to be one of the largest in Europe, in recent years it has evolved to include a popular half marathon and attracts thousands of new and returning runners each year.

Sir Brendan Foster, founder of The Great Run Company said: “It’s a privilege for us to celebrate the 20th AJ Bell Great Manchester Run this year - something we’re only able to do because of the way the event has been embraced by the people of Manchester and the North West as a whole.

“We’re recognising the stories of some of our incredible runners, who embody the tenacity, determination and generosity of everyone who has taken part over the last two decades.”

As part of the celebrations, the event has commissioned local artist, Alex Francis, to create an illustration that embodies the experience of the run and celebrates some of its incredible participants. They are all part of a campaign looking back on 20 unforgettable stories from two decades of running in the capital of the North.

The AJ Bell Great Manchester Run has come to be known as an experience which truly embodies the Mancunian characteristics of industry, solidarity and local pride. Those featured bring these qualities in abundance and include Manchester Arena Survivor, Fundraiser and Campaigner Martin Hibbert whose life changed forever on the night of 22 May, 2017, when he found himself just two feet from the blast zone in the Manchester Arena bomb attack.

Martin was then told he had suffered a T10 spinal cord injury and would never walk again. As well as providing a constant public voice surrounding the atrocities, Martin also showed his enormous strength and defiance by completing the 10K Great Manchester Run, which took place just two days before the first anniversary of the attack.

43-year-old Elaine Wilkins from Stockport has taken part in every single Great Manchester Run, raising money for local charities, often in fancy dress. She even took on her own 10K challenge, doing laps of her back garden, during the pandemic. She has raised at least £10,000 for local charities over the last 20 years, including Francis House Children’s Hospice, The Christie and Beechwood Cancer Care Centre.

The illustration will be used in the build-up to the event; on the AJ Bell Great Manchester Run website, across finishers t-shirts and as part of the event day experience.

Everyone lining up to take on the 10K or Half Marathon challenge, will feel the goosebumps as they stand alongside 25,000 other runners. The famous route passes Manchester landmarks, before a grandstand finish on Deansgate. With live music and entertainment zones at every turn, roaring charity cheering squads, plus incredible local support, it’ll be a party from start to finish.

For more information visit the Great Manchester Run website.

Image: Great Run

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