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The Great Manchester Run returns for 20th anniversary

Runners from across the country joined together yesterday in Manchester to mark the countdown to the 20th AJ Bell Great Manchester Run.

The popular running event, which will take place on Sunday 21 May, is set to be a landmark celebration, as thousands of runners return to the iconic Portland Street start line.

Originally staged in 2003 as a legacy event following the Commonwealth Games held in Manchester in 2002, the Great Manchester Run has grown to be one of the largest 10k events in Europe.

In recent years, it has expanded to include a popular half marathon, attracting thousands of new and returning runners each year.

Sir Brendan Foster, founder of The Great Run Company said, “It’s a privilege for us to celebrate the 20th AJ Bell Great Manchester Run this year – something we’re only able to do because of the way the event has been embraced by the people of Manchester and the North West as a whole.

“We’re recognising the stories of some of our incredible runners, who embody the tenacity, determination and generosity of everyone who has taken part over the last two decades.

“With the support of our partners, Manchester City Council, it’s been very special to see the event become such an integral part of the culture of  Manchester.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what the next twenty years will bring.”

The Great Manchester run has chosen the following ambassadors for the run, showcasing the amazing spirit of Manchester and its residents. They are all part of a campaign looking back on 20 unforgettable stories from two decades of running in the capital of the North.


Manchester Arena Survivor, Fundraiser and Campaigner Martin Hibbert’s life changed forever on the night of 22nd May, 2017, when he found himself just two feet from the blast zone in the Manchester Arena bomb attack. Martin was then told he had suffered a T10 spinal cord injury and would never walk again. As well as providing a constant public voice surrounding the atrocities, Martin also showed his enormous strength and defiance by completing the 10km Great Manchester Run, which took place just two days before the first anniversary of the attack.


43-year-old Elaine Wilkins from Stockport has taken part in every single Great Manchester Run, raising money for local charities, often in fancy dress. She even took on her own 10K challenge, doing laps of her back garden, during the pandemic. She has raised at least £10,000 for local charities over the last 20 years, including Francis House Children’s Hospice, The Christie and Beechwood Cancer Care Centre.


23-year-old Azeem Amir from Rochdale was born with sight loss, he has gone on to represent England in Blind Football, become a TEDx speaker and runs his own not-for-profit.
Azeem first signed up for the Great Manchester Run while doing his A Levels, going for a weekly run with some fellow students and staff. He has raised a significant amount for Manchester Children’s Hospital where staff supported him and his family through his sight loss journey.


15-year-old Ella Chadwick from Manchester was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome at 8 weeks old and needed six years of dialysis. She underwent 40 operations, before her life was transformed when her grandmother donated one of her kidneys in 2014. Since the transplant Ella has put her efforts into supporting the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and raising funds to help other sick children. She was a Pride of Britain winner in 2018.  She has been taking part in the Great Manchester Run since 2015.

As part of the celebrations, the event has commissioned local artist, Alex Francis, to create an illustration that embodies the experience of the run and celebrates some of its incredible participants.

There’s still time to be a part of this spectacular running celebration on Sunday 21 May.

Ahead of the main event, the day kicks off with the brilliant AJ Bell Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run.

A perfect introduction to running for kids of all ages and abilities. Minis aged 3-8 take on a 1.5km dash, while Juniors aged 9-15 tackle a 2.5km supercharged sprint.

Everyone lining up to take on the 10k or Half Marathon challenge, will feel the goosebumps as they stand alongside 25,000 other runners. The famous route passes Manchester landmarks, before a grandstand finish on Deansgate.

With live music and entertainment zones at every turn, roaring charity cheering squads, plus incredible local support, it’ll be a party from start to finish.

For more information, or to enter today, please visit

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