Updated: Thursday, 14th December 2017 @ 4:23pm

Great Manchester Run: Inspirational words of poet Tony Walsh to launch run

Great Manchester Run: Inspirational words of poet Tony Walsh to launch run

| By Lewis Chapman-Barker

Professional wordsmith Tony Walsh has been named as the first Poet in Residence for the Great Manchester Run.

His latest work Do Something, an inspirational tribute to those taking part in the event, is set to be performed at the starting line and a second poem will be broadcast on the BBC.

Tony’s ties to the city, having worked for Salford Council up until four years ago and watched the race many times, mean this is a title he takes on proudly.

He said: “The Morrisons Great Manchester Run is quite an emotional thing for people, whether they're doing it for charity or personal reasons and I wanted the poem to reflect that passion.

“I've watched the run several times and am passionate about Manchester so know exactly what this event means to the city and those who take part.”

“There's a great sense of occasion with big crowds, banners, balloons and fancy dress outfits and I wanted to capture that spirit and colour of the day.”

The planned route will take runners past Sir Alex Ferguson Way, where Tony performed his work title The Govan Boy for the former Manchester United manager when the road was renamed in his honour.

Tony said: “Sir Alex stood next to me and I was told he had a tear in his eye because he was so moved by my poem.”

The city holds a special place in Tony’s heart and he continues to be involved in community projects such as Forever Manchester.

He also offers workshops in poetry at both primary and secondary school level across the region.

David Hart of Nova International, organisers of the run, said: “I was immediately inspired after hearing Tony recite a poem at a birthday party for the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

“His passion for the city is so apparent and when I heard how much he loves the Great Manchester Run it seemed natural to ask him to get involved.

“We love the result – it's a brilliant poem which absolutely captures the unique spirit of the event and is a stirring call to action.”

Though he has been writing since he was young, Tony’s first performance as a poet came just ten years ago during an open-mic night at the Briton’s Protection Pub in Manchester.

He then continued to work for the council whilst building a resume of poetry and performances before finally being able to become a full time poet in 2011.

Fate appears to have favoured the Mancunian, since he received a call to become Poet in Residence for Glastonbury Festival at the exact moment he left his day-job.

Tony’s first collection of poems, titled Sex & Love & Rock & Roll, came two years later and was soon followed up with a book for three to seven year olds, I Can Draw My Alphabet.

The Morrison’s Great Manchester Run will take place on Sunday May 10.

Image courtesy of Darren paul Thompson, via YouTube, with thanks.