City on its marks for inaugural marathon
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