Starting off as both a way of keeping fit and a relatively easy yet low-cost way of exercising compared to other much more demanding and often expensive sports, the widespread appeal of running is reflected in several ways. Whether you base its popularity on the number of runners you see on the street (or boasting about it on Instagram) or even through the grand variety of different running shoes, coats, socks and much, much more available to purchase, there is certainly no ignoring the extensive reach that it has not just in Manchester but across the world too.
Perhaps the biggest barometer of the size, scale and sports popularity can be seen in the enormous number of different events hosted all over the country every single weekend. From Saturday morning park-runs to the flagship 10km, half and full marathons that the different cities yearn to host throughout the year , there really is something for everybody no matter your age or ability. And like many people at this time of year, if you are considering taking up running or just getting fit in the New Year, as a beginner then choosing an event to work towards can often feel like a stab in the dark and a jump into the unknown – largely basing a decision on the cost to enter a run or its locality.
With this mind and keeping to Greater Manchester specifically, @ASelbyInfo looks forward to running in Manchester this 2017 and profiles in no particular order, five of the best upcoming runs to work towards in the New Year.
1) Manchester City Blue Run
When? Sunday 26th March 2017 (1pm)
Where? Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Age? Family Friendly
Price? Adults: £25.25 Children: £12.74
After parting with its infamous Sky Blue Santa Run last Christmas, you felt it was only going to be a matter of time until the club announced something different for the New Year and with their introduction of a brand-new Blue Run for 2017, the club have done just that. Taking inspiration from the highly popular colour run’s which see thousands of runners across the continent take to parks and open spaces to get caked in a rainbow of fluorescent colours across a 5km route, Manchester City’s Blue Run have launched their very own themed run which is sure to leave participants feeling blue after the race itself. Whether you prefer to stroll, skip or run around the impressive Etihad Campus, you’ll be taking part in one of the club’s many events to mark its foundations’ ‘City in the Community’ 30th year celebrations and could be a one-off opportunity to for interested ‘sky-blue’ runners to take part. Open to all ages and abilities, registration is open over on the club’s official website and should you wish to fundraise over £100 for the event, your registration fee will even be refunded!
2) Milltown to Moors Oldham 7k
When? Sunday 14th May 2017 (11am)
Where? Alexandra Park, Oldham
Age? Minimum age 15 yrs
Price? Entry price from £12 – £18
As part of Oldham’s annual Milltown Race Series, Sunday 14th May 2017 marks the start of a series that takes runners on a number of diverse courses that take in countryside pathways, quiet lanes and busier roads touching on the Tameside area on Oldham’s border. Whilst many runs concentrate solely on either a 5 or 10km distance, the first of several events in the Milltown Series offers runners the opportunity to run that little bit less or even more than the usual distances with a unique chance to take to the streets in an official event over 7km. For runners who are looking to build on their previous achievements, whether that be comfortably running at 5km for some time with a much longer-term aim of one day running a 10km race or alternatively runners that may have previously ran a 10km race and wish to maintain their level of fitness and running ability, this really could be the event for you. Situated not too far out of Manchester in the Green Flag award winning Alexandra Park, the Oldham 7km is one of a kind and make sure to make the most of such a quirky yet rewarding race.
3) Great Manchester Run & Half Marathon
When? Sunday 28th May 2017 (From 9am onwards)
Where? Manchester City Centre
Age? 10k – 15 yrs old +, Half marathon – 17 yrs old +
Price? 10k – £38 per entry, Half Marathon – £44 per entry
Perhaps the most well known of all five races discussed in this article, the Great Manchester Run is once again back for 2017 but this time with its bigger brother as the Great Run series welcomes a brand-new half marathon to the party for the New Year. As the largest of its type in Europe, the Great Manchester 10KM having participated in this very event three times before, genuinely offers (as in the words of its website) a running event where you can experience a true Manchester welcome. As well as the third-largest mass participation running event in the United Kingdom behind the Great North Run (Half Marathon) and of course the London Marathon, both the Great Manchester Run and now Half Marathon takes runners of all abilities on a tour of some of the city’s greatest landmarks. As well as taking in the views of Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, the award-winning Imperial War Museum and The Lowry as well as Coronation Street’s new set before heading to the finish line with the backdrop of the iconic Beetham Tower over 10KM, Manchester’s coolest new race passes by two of the UK’s most iconic football grounds, the Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford as well as Albert Square and over The Mancunian Way. Need I say any more?
4) Decathlon Sports Series 2017
When? Sunday 2nd August 2017 (7pm)
Where? Woodbank Memorial Park, Stockport
Age? Minimum age 16 yrs
As part of a wider initiative across the country, popular sport retailer Decathlon last year embarked on hosting a number of free running events across the United Kingdom which were met with both a great public response and involvement. Given the success of its 2016 Running Series which allowed dashers from all corners of the country to enter into a 5 or 10km race situated in the proximity of a local Decathlon store, the Decathlon Sports Series returns for 2017 with a whole host of different sports events available to view on their official website. Albeit with some degree of competition in the form of a race and running series with prize incentives for the best performing runners across the country, Decathlon’s Sport Series is largely aimed at runners of all abilities to simply run for run – allowing friends and family to get together and have tons of fun together in an incredibly healthy way. All Decathlon Sports Series events are free all entrants will receive a free t-shirt to run in on the day as well as a Sports Series goody bag and medal at the end of the race.
5) South Manchester Park Run
When? Every Saturday morning (9am)
Where? Platt Fields Park, Manchester
Age? All ages permitted but children must be accompanied by an adult
Price? Free (However runners must register here before their first run)
If running has become a relatively new yet important part of your life this New Year you’ll probably find yourself looking at events and signing up to different races left, right and centre in an attempt to try and medicate the running bug. However with the desire to participate in every local event over a range of different distances sometimes too difficult to ignore, one thing that can’t be avoided however when deciding to register for numerous races can be the price which an amassed number of 5 and 10km runs can cost not only to enter but also in terms of accommodation and travel too. With this in mind, the South Manchester Park Run is an incredibly simple and cost-efficient concept whereby runners simply turn up every Saturday to run 5KM both against the clock and other competitors for no cost whatsoever. It certainly doesn’t matter how fast you go nor what you’re wearing for the race, the South Manchester Park Run encourages runners to get involved for their own enjoyment at whatever pace you feel comfortable with. Located at Platt Fields Park, Fallowfield, the run itself is easily accessible by car and public transport making it one of the friendliest and inclusive runs that Greater Manchester has to offer at present.