History is to be made once again on the ancient streets of York as the White Rose county gets ready to host the first ever Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. The 6,500 runners who have signed up to take part in the hotly-anticipated race this Sunday (20 October) will be buoyed by the news that one of the county's most famous sporting sons, Dickie Bird, will start the race.
The race has attracted considerable interest with entry levels increased twice to keep up with demand. The marathon has been staged by a new organisation under the Jane Tomlinson charitable events umbrella - which already includes the successful Leeds, York, Hull and Pennine-Lancashire 10Ks and the sell-out Leeds Half Marathon.
Dickie, a former international cricket umpire, is delighted to be part of the inaugural event: "It's a great privilege for me to be asked to come along and start the first Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. I am absolutely delighted to be able to help. I'm sure it will be a big success and I wish all those taking on the challenge the very best of luck."
With a flat and fast course through the historic city of York and its picturesque countryside, the event is said to offer a great opportunity of hitting a quick time. Top placed male and female runners will receive £2,500 each, £1,250 is up for grabs for the second place finishers and £750 for those in third. A number of elite athletes, including, John Mutai of Kenya, 25, (PB of 2:11:08), plus Tarus Elly, second place at the Chester Half Marathon, have registered and will be vying for a top place finish.
Event lead Lynne Preston feels the course will be conducive to quick times and is expecting a competitive race: "We're really excited about the new Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. It's taken a huge amount of planning but we think it will be really special. In York we have a city with amazingly spectacular scenery, but one that is also extremely flat which should make for a really fast course."
Highlights of the event are due to be shown on TV, with Dream Team Television commissioned to produce a 50 minute highlights programme to air on Sunday 3 November on Channel 4 at 7am.