Naseem with friends

Great Birmingham Run Is Calling

It's the big date for Midlands' runners - Sunday, 13 October. And once again Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run will see thousands take their place at the start of one of the UK's top half marathons.

All abilities will be on that start line from super fast club runners, local aces Birchfield Harriers always field a strong team, to recreational runners who have spent the previous months getting into shape to conquer the 13.1 mile course.

For one runner the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run will be the second half of an inspiring autumn double. Naseem Akhtar was surprised and delighted to be named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Her award came in recognition of her work in encouraging Asian women to embrace exercise.

Naseem will receive her award at the Council House in September ahead of helping a group of Saheli Hub members to earn their own medals at the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run. She said: “We take great satisfaction in seeing women who have rarely walked long distances – let alone jog or run them – progress to completing events like the Great Birmingham 10K or Great Birmingham Run.

“We’re really proud our city hosts one of – if not the – most diverse half marathons in the country. We want to reinforce that by encouraging women from all backgrounds, faiths and age groups to get active, so they then reap the health benefits.”

Naseem and her friends are just a few of a huge field who will enjoy a new streamlined route for 2019. There is a new start on New Street from where runners will head south, taking a detour around Selly Park before continuing to the picture postcard suburb of Bournville. Runners will be encouraged by big crowds here before heading back towards the city centre.

They will need the cheers and support they will get as they run through Cannon Hill Park on mile 9 but will maybe find inspiration as they go round Edgbaston cricket ground and think about England's World Cup heroes. After taking runners through Digbeth at 12 miles the half marathon will finish on Jennens Road and Aston University campus for post-run refreshments.

Check out the route on video here.

Entries are open for the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run and participants at Great Birmingham 10K in May can claim a £10 discount if they plan to graduate to half marathon level. Runners aiming to make that progression, indeed all entrants, can get great advice at Simplyhealth's Train & Prepare online resource which includes training plans, general advice, race day tips and much more.

If you want to train with a group working towards October's Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run then why not head along to Brewdog on John Bright Street (6.15 for a 6.30 start) on Tuesday evenings for a friendly Great Runners Birmingham session. More information at their webpage.


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