Organisers hail success of Birmingham marathon

Birmingham International Marathon

Organisers of the inaugural Birmingham International Marathon have hailed the event a major success.

Around 9,000 runners took part in the race last Sunday, with 13,000 more taking part in the half-marathon – or the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run as it was branded.

Brendan Foster, chairman of marathon organiser, The Great Run Company, said: “It was an outstanding weekend of running in Birmingham and underlines the city’s credentials as the perfect potential host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“Congratulations to all participants and thanks to the spectators who made their contribution to a memorable series of events.”

See below for pictures of the event

The 26.2-mile race was won by Christopher Ashford in a time of 2.33.46. Martin Williams was close behind in second clocking 2.34.53 while Daniel Robinson was third in 2.36.39.

Sophie Kelly was first female over the line in 2.52.28, Andrea Banks was second clocking 2.58.15 with Victoria Briggs not far behind in 2.58.51 for third.

In the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run half marathon, William Richardson was the winner in 1.06.38, well clear of Michael Kallenberg who clocked 1.10.22 for second. Richard White was third in 1.12.59.

It was to be a family affair for the Richardsons as William’s sister Chloe took the women’s race in 1.21.40 ahead of second-placed Sarah Stradling in 1.22.10 and Rachel Olivant, who clocked 1.23.07 for third place.

Among those taking part in the marathon was Coventry-born Steve Edwards (below), one of the world’s leading multi-marathon runners, who selected the city as the venue for his 800th 26.2-mile run.

Steve now holds what is believed to be a world record for completing 800 marathons in under 3hrs 20mins.

The corporate world embraced the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run by taking part in the Arcadis Business Challenge, which pitted small, medium and large firms against each other for fastest-time trophies.

Among those taking part in the challenge was the Mayor’s Movers, the team representing West Midlands Combined Authority. The team was led by Mayor for the West Midlands, Andy Street, who has completed the run several times before, each time raising money for charity.

The Mayor’s Movers were raising funds for Cure Leukaemia’s £1m appeal to expand the globally significant Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Another to complete the event was Steve Dixon, founder of Birmingham-based addiction charity, Changes UK.

The social entrepreneur was joined on the course by his wife Debbie, staff members and a number of recovery champions, many of whom owe their lives to the organisation’s services.

Birmingham-born Steve, who has 14 years of sustained recovery from his own addiction, founded Changes out of his desire to bring innovative support services to the city that were not accessible to him during his repeated attempts at recovery.

He raised £2,420 after completing the event and altogether, the team raised £4,228.

Changes UK provides a detox service, community-based rehabilitation, supported and move on housing and opportunities to gain accredited qualifications, volunteering and work experience for 300 service users in the city every year.

Steve Edwards completing his 800th marathon

Andy Street, who ran the half marathon for Cure Leukaemia

Steve Dixon, Changes UK

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