City on its marks for in­au­gu­ral marathon

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

THOU­SANDS of run­ners are to make a bee­line for Birm­ing­ham this week­end as the city’s in­au­gu­ral In­ter­na­tional Marathon gets un­der way.

The huge event takes place this Sun­day (Oc­to­ber 15) on the same day as the 13.1-mile Sim­ply­health Great Birm­ing­ham Run, with a com­bined 22,000 peo­ple sign­ing up for both races.

The Sim­ply­health Great Birm­ing­ham Run half marathon will be­gin on Jen­nens Road in East­side, near the re­cently-opened Royal Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire.

The marathon, mean­while, will start ear­lier in the day at the Alexan­der Sta­dium, with both events fin­ish­ing at As­ton Univer­sity.

The Great Run course will pass land­marks such as the iconic Sel­fridges store Edg­bas­ton Sta­dium, Can­non Hill Park and pic­turesque Bournville, home of Cad­bury choco­late.

David Hart, com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor for the Great Run Com­pany, said: “If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year it’s that Birm­ing­ham loves to run.

“We’re al­ways de­lighted at how many peo­ple take part in our events and this year will be ex­tra spe­cial as we welcome the first ever Birm­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional Marathon, which has at­tracted phe­nom­e­nal in­ter­est run­ners from across the UK and be­yond.

“We hope thou­sands of peo­ple will line the streets to cheer on our run­ners of all abil­i­ties, many of whom will be rais­ing thou­sands of pounds for good causes or cel­e­brat­ing mile­stones in lifestyle goals.”

For in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing road clo­sures on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 15, visit www.greatrun.org/great-birm­ing­ham-run THE world’s old­est marathon run­ner will be one of the hon­orary starters at the first-ever Birm­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional Marathon Known as the ‘Tur­baned Tor­nado’, 106-year-old Fauja Singh took up run­ning when he was in his 80s after mov­ing to Lon­don from Pun­jab in north­ern India. Fauja shot to fame at the sprightly age of 89 when he com­pleted a marathon in six hours and 54 min­utes. This took 58 min­utes off the pre­vi­ous world best in his age bracket. In Oc­to­ber 2011, he be­came the first 100-year-old to com­plete a marathon when he crossed the fin­ish line of the Toronto Wa­ter­front Marathon in eight hours and 11 min­utes. He was one of the torch­bear­ers for the Athens Olympics in 2004, 2010 Com­mon­wealth Games Ba­ton Re­lay run­ner, and torch­bearer for the Lon­don 2012 Olympic Games and in 2015 he was awarded a Bri­tish Em­pire Medal in the New Year’s Hon­ours for ser­vices to sport and char­ity.

The run­ning leg­end will be joined by an­other world-fa­mous ath­lete at the Alexan­der Sta­dium start-line, Birm­ing­ham In­ter­na­tional Marathon am­bas­sador Liz McCol­gan.

Fauja said: “I feel priv­i­leged in be­ing part of Birm­ing­ham’s first In­ter­na­tional Marathon be­cause it makes me feel as if I am still run­ning my­self. I wish ev­ery­one the very best and can as­sure them that their ela­tion after cross­ing the fin­ish­ing line will be worth the months of ef­fort they put into their train­ing.”

> The world’s old­est marathon run­ner, 106-year-old Fauja Singh

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