The 15th running of the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run is fast approaching – a milestone that was celebrated yesterday by Olympic gold medallist, Greg Rutherford. Rutherford, who was joined by a host of runners who will compete at the race on Sunday 28 May. They were able to look through memorabilia, ranging from medals to photographs, which dated back to the first ever staging in 2003.
Organised initially as a legacy event following the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, the Great Manchester Run has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence and now stands as Europe’s largest 10k road race – an average of 25,000 runners compete annually.
The race has attracted, almost without fail, the world’s best runners: Haile Gebrselassie, Tirunesh Dibaba, Kenenisa Bekele and Wilson Kipsang have all competed throughout the years. Gebreselassie held a longstanding love affair with the race, winning it on five separate occasions.
Such a rich history was celebrated yesterday as Rutherford, himself a multiple winner in the long jump at the Great CityGames Manchester street athletics event, returned to the city to celebrate the milestone.
Also in attendance were charity fundraisers supporting The Christie, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital Charity and the Kirsty Club, the charity launched by Kirsty Howard, who took part in every Simplyhealth Junior Great Manchester Run before her death in 2015 at the age of 20.
David Hart, from The Great Run Company, reflected on the event’s history: “We are delighted to be joined by so many familiar faces to celebrate our 15th birthday. Over the years we have met so many inspiring and extraordinary people who have done some amazing things for charity. It's only right that they are here today to celebrate the last 15 years as we look forward to many more here in Manchester.”
The race has expanded for 2017 and will see, for the first time, the staging of a half marathon distance. All of the entries (8,500) for the 13.1 mile race have already been snapped up, marking the latest stage of development for the event.
Registration for the Great Manchester Run is open, however, and priced at £38.