Marathon fever grips Birmingham as city stages inaugural event
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Thousands of amateur athletes are set to take to the streets of Birmingham on Sunday as the city stages its inaugural international marathon.
The 26.2-mile event, which has attracted 9,000 runners, will start at Alexander Stadium, with the course taking in a number of the city’s most famous landmarks before finishing in the city centre.
These include: the Barton Arms pub in Aston, Birmingham Metropolitan College and Millennium Point, Selfridges, Digbeth and the Irish Quarter, the home of Cadbury’s in Bournville, Edgbaston Stadium and Cannon Hill Park.
Organisers have arranged for a series of road closures to be in place during the race so that competitors can run safely.
The winner of both the men’s and women’s events will each receive £2,000, with £1,000 awarded for second place and £750 for third. There will also be awards stretching right down to £50 for 10th place.
There will also be £100 prizes for winners in the 35+, 45+ and 55+ veterans categories for both men and women.
For the less ambitious – but nevertheless committed – athletes, also taking place is the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run.
Around 13,000 people will be taking part in the half marathon – amongst them, hundreds of runners representing businesses across the Midlands who are participating in the hotly-anticipated Arcadis Business Challenge.
Trophies are handed out to the fastest teams in the Small, Medium and Large Business categories, with the four fastest times posted by each team accumulated to pick the overall winners.
Any company entering 12 or more participants is automatically receiving a plaque in the name of its fastest runner.
Arcadis laid down the gauntlet to the city’s corporate community after becoming title sponsor of the Business Challenge at this year’s Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run.
The global design, engineering and management consulting company, which recently moved its Birmingham city centre base to new offices in Cornwall Street, has 80 runners taking part.
Arcadis has entered runners into the event for several years and employees have been training for the run at their very own running club on Thursday lunchtimes.
Arcadis’ Team leader, Sarah Cleary, said: “We have a great mix of abilities, from complete novices to those running their first half marathon to more experienced runners.
“Birmingham is such a great city to run in. We usually train along the canal, where there is some great scenery.”
Among those joining Arcadis at the Business Challenge will be Charter Court Financial Services – with 23 runners, HSBC – with 25 runners, restaurant chain Wagamama – with 21 runners and the West Midands Combined Authority – with a team of 15 runners led by Mayor for the West Midlands, Andy Street.
The ‘Mayor’s Movers’ will be raising funds for Cure Leukaemia’s £1m appeal to expand the globally significant Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Mr Street said: “We are determined to raise as many funds as possible to help Cure Leukaemia’s transformational project become a reality. I look forward to seeing the public out in force on (Sunday) and our team are determined to come out on top in The Arcadis Business Challenge.”
Simon Marks, Arcadis Partner, added: “Arcadis is proud to sponsor the Business Challenge because it plays to all our core values.
“Improving quality of life is at the heart of everything we do, and that includes encouraging our staff to be active, eat healthily and enjoy life.
“Events like this put Birmingham firmly on the map and could be a great prelude as we look to secure the Commonwealth Games for the city and the wider region in 2022.”