Bupa Great Birmingham Run – “biggest and best ever”

Record numbers take part to raise money for good causes.

Organisers of last weekend’s Bupa Great Birmingham Run have praised runners and spectators alike for making the event the biggest and best ever.

A record-breaking 20,000 runners took part in the main race, whilst hundreds of children competed in the first ever Bupa Mini and Junior Great Birmingham runs.

Young runners attending the Bupa Great Birmingham Run were also challenged to GO Run For Fun, the UK’s newest mass participation running campaign for children. The idea behind the INEOS GO Run For Fun is simple – to encourage kids to get off the couch, give the TV a rest, get active and have fun, regardless of ability.

Paralympic golden girl Ellie Simmonds was this year’s honorary starter, with a host of celebrities running the 13.1 miles, including celebrity chef Glynn Purnell, former European sprint champion Phil Taylor, ex-footballer Mark Walters and Olympic silver medallist diver Leon Taylor.

Thomas Ayeko from Uganda and Britain’s Gemma Steel were the winners of the men’s and women’s elite races – Steel extending her purple patch of recent form produced a personal best time of 1:10:19 to smash the mark of 1:12:21 she achieved two years ago.

A new course record was also set in the wheelchair race, which was won by Simon Lawson, a winner of the Great Scottish Run a fortnight earlier. Lawson sliced 2:41 from the course record with a winning time of 51:49 ahead of Brett Crossley and Matthew Clarke, who finished in 1:01:01 and 1:01:43 respectively.

The day also saw thousands of pounds raised by the many amateurs running for charity, which included local good causes Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Acorns Hospices and Cure Leukaemia.

David Hart, communications director at Nova International, said: “This year’s Bupa Great Birmingham Run was undoubtedly the best ever. Whilst the brilliant performances by the elite athletes should be applauded, the real story was the thousands of runners and spectators who turned the streets of the city into a massive celebration of human spirit and endeavour. Now the UK’s second-biggest half marathon, the BGBR has the potential to become one of the world’s greatest running events.”

Entries are already open for 2014 at www.greatrun.org/birmingham, with the date set for Sunday 19th October.