Updated: Thursday, 19th September 2019 @ 4:44pm

Sumo Race comes to Manchester in Heaton Park charity run

Sumo Race comes to Manchester in Heaton Park charity run

By Hannah Gradwell

The first ever Manchester 5km Sumo Race took place in the blazing sunshine at Heaton Park on Saturday morning.

Raising money for educational charity Gemin-I, 34 runners turned up to race around the course wearing inflatable sumo suits.

After three successful years of the London Sumo Run, the first of its kind in Manchester had raised over £5,000 by Saturday, with the potential for more from sponsorship collections afterwards.

Tammy Nelson, Development Director at Gemin-I, said: “It’s something that’s a little bit different. With everyone in the same costume there’s a real sense of community, and it’s so whacky!”

Entrants were allowed to keep the suits after completing the race, and runner Lindsay admitted that was the real reason behind her decision to take part.

NO SWEAT: The runners weren't put off by the blazing sun

“I did it for the suit,” she said. “It will make a great Halloween costume.”

And if the sumo suits weren’t silly enough, some of the runners customised their outfits with wigs, hats and all manner of themed costumes.

‘Team Oz’, Michael, Ziggy and Sarah, ran with an inflatable crocodile, snake and kangaroo and raised over £300 between them while ‘Sumo Sensei’s’, Vicky and Carl, added pink accessories.

Saturday’s race winner Carl Jones finished the 5km run in an impressive 26m02sec, though previous years have seen the course completed in less than twenty minutes.

“But it’s not just for fitness fanatics,” insists Tammy. “It’s only 5km, so anyone can take part, even if they’re just up for a laugh.”

Other prizes were available on the day, including one for best fancy dress, awarded to Christine Ho who tailored her suit with a Scottish kilt and ginger wig, and one for the most sponsorship raised.

Runners were encouraged to collect around £250 in sponsorship, though many collected much more for the charity, with some making over £300 each.

Gemin-i brings together children from 122 countries to help educate them in matters ranging from HIV/AIDS and Malaria, to race issues and global conflicts.

This year, London’s Sumo race in Battersea Park attracted around 207 runners and raised nearly £50,000 for Gemin-i.

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Organisers decided to add a second race in Manchester after willing participants complained that London was too far to travel.

“Manchester is such a wonderful city,” explained Tammy. “And Heaton Park is beautiful.”

Runner Natalie travelled three hours from Leicester to race. “This park is really pretty,” she said. “And it’s even better in the sunshine.”

Event organisers are now considering hosting the event in cities such as Brighton, Edinburgh and Leeds, but first plan to return to Manchester in 2012.