Sim­ply­health Great Birm­ing­ham Run and Birm­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional Marathon


Athletics Weekly - - Contents -

THE SECONDbiggest half-marathon in the coun­try takes place on Sun­day in Birm­ing­ham along­side an ex­cit­ing new marathon in the same West Mid­lands city.

The Sim­ply­health Great Birm­ing­ham Run is sec­ond only to the Great North Run in size and stature when it comes to 13.1-mile races.

On the same day, the new Birm­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional Marathon gives run­ners an op­por­tu­nity to tackle 26.2 miles on home soil in what will hope­fully be marathon-friendly au­tumn weather.

The 26.2-mile event is the in­au­gu­ral run in the new Great Run Bri­tish Marathon Se­ries and will start at Alexan­der Sta­dium, the home of Bri­tish Ath­let­ics and Birch­field Har­ri­ers.

From Alexan­der Sta­dium, par­tic­i­pants will pass Villa Park, home to As­ton Villa FC since 1897. Just past Villa Park is the Grade I listed As­ton Hall and as run­ners leave As­ton and con­tinue to the city cen­tre, the home of fa­mous gun­smiths West­ley Richards is the next fa­mous land­mark to look out for at the heart of Birm­ing­ham’s Gun Quar­ter.

Marathon run­ners will then pass the start-line for the Great Birm­ing­ham Run half-marathon and the iconic Sel­fridges build­ing be­fore head­ing out to­wards the Ir­ish Quar­ter of Dig­beth and Peaky Blin­ders ter­ri­tory and Can­non Hill Park. World-fa­mous Bournville is next, be­fore par­tic­i­pants be­gin the jour­ney back to the city cen­tre, pass­ing Edg­bas­ton cricket ground. Then it’s on to the city’s ‘Golden Mile’ of Broad Street and out again for one more lap to com­plete the 26.2 miles.

The Sim­ply­health Great Birm­ing­ham Run, mean­while, is a well-es­tab­lished event which in the past has staged the IAAF World Half-marathon Cham­pi­onships.

The marathon run­ners get go­ing in var­i­ous waves from 8:30am on­wards on Sun­day with the half-marathon­ers start­ing from 1.30pm in waves.

In ad­di­tion to this, the Sim­ply­health Ju­nior and Mini Great Birm­ing­ham Runs take place at Alexan­der Sta­dium on Satur­day Oc­to­ber 14 with the Mini Run open to chil­dren of all abil­i­ties aged 3-8 and the Ju­nior Run for 9 to 15-year-olds.

Or­gan­is­ers hope that the new marathon will help to raise the stan­dard of marathon run­ning in the UK. Bri­tain was the dom­i­nant force in marathon run­ning in the 1960s but stan­dards have been largely in de­cline. From 229 sub-2:25 per­form­ers in 1983 to 11 in 2007, there has been a small re­vival in re­cent years which shows that the time is right for a big ad­di­tion to the cal­en­dar to fur­ther boost it.

Aside from the over­sub­scribed Lon­don Marathon, there are a lack of world­class marathon events in the UK and or­gan­is­ers have an aim of mak­ing the Birm­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional Marathon the coun­try’s lead­ing au­tumn event.

Both half and full marathon events this week­end have a num­ber of as­pir­ing club­stan­dard run­ners. They in­clude Laura Kyte of Broms­grove & Red­ditch, who will be aim­ing to break 80 min­utes for the first time, plus Michael Kal­len­berg of Cardiff – a 66:48 man.

Tsegezab Wol­demichael of Shet­tle­ston also runs – he has a 63:00 PB but from 2009.

In the marathon, en­tries in­clude 2:25 man An­drew Sav­ery of Leam­ing­ton, 2:29 runner Tony Banks of Jer­sey and Martin Wil­liams of Tip­ton Har­ri­ers, who has a 2:17:36 PB but is now an M40.

Prize money is gen­er­ous too with the over­all in­di­vid­ual men’s and women’s win­ner re­ceiv­ing £2000, with £1000 for sec­ond place and £750 for third, with awards stretch­ing down to £50 for 10th, plus cash prizes for lead­ing masters and prizes for the clubs as well.

Andy Ver­non gets last year’s race un­der way

Michael Kal­len­berg: is a half­marathon con­tender

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