Excitement for Sunday’s ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon is building with organisers confirming an elite field and the news that the legendary Dr. Ron Hill will be starting the race. The event, set to attract a turnout of up to 10,000 runners, will see Altrincham’s Dave Norman look to claim a third successive victory on Sunday (6 April).
With a British-only prize fund announced back in November, organisers have attracted a top quality field that also includes Andi Jones, who was runner-up to Norman on both occasions. Looking ahead to defending his title, Norman said: “My training has gone very well for this year’s race, and I feel my preparation has been the best it has been for any marathon I have been involved in.”
On the strong field that awaits, he added: “This year’s race will be very tough as it has attracted a very high quality entry, but I'm looking forward to giving it my best shot. The crowd support through Altrincham last year was incredible as members of my club were marshalling that section of the course, and I'm sure they will make a big difference once again.”
In the women’s competition, Izzy Menzies of Edinburgh AC will be on the start line to defend her title and will be joined by Emily Wicks of Aldershot & Farnham AC and Gemma Rankin of Kilbarchan AAC. The first male British athlete who finishes under 2:10 (hh:mm) and the first female British athlete who finishes under 2:20 (hh:mm) are awarded £10,000.
On top of the prospect of some seriously quick times, there will be a number of world record attempts during the event. Peter Knight from Sheffield plans to become the 'Fastest man dressed up as a bottle' to run a marathon whilst 24-year old Jack Sexty from Penkridge aims to the become the world’s first, and therefore fastest, person to complete the 26.2-mile road race purely on a pogo stick, whilst simultaneously challenging for the Guinness World Record for the furthest distance pogoed within 24 hours.
The race has received considerable attention since its return due to its seriously flat profile with just 54m of elevation over the course. The marathon starts on the A56 White City Roundabout in Old Trafford, just a short walk from Manchester United Football Club, and finishes outside the stadium where the race village and charity zone are also located.