Updated: Monday, 11th November 2019 @ 9:47pm

Bouncing back... Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run showcases city's resilience after terrorist attack

Bouncing back... Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run showcases city's resilience after terrorist attack

| By Scott Sumner

Against the backdrop of last week’s terrorist attack, the 15th edition of the Great Manchester Run had the potential to be a much more sombre affair than previous years.

Yet despite the cloud still hanging over the city from the tragedy, thousands of runners and supporters came out on Sunday in a positive show of defiance to demonstrate that life goes on.

There had been worries last week that the afternoon 10k race – as well as the new half marathon event earlier in the day – would have to be cancelled completely.

It was of testament to the police and event organisers that the day passed without the fear that filled the area last week and 30,000 competitors could enjoy one of the city’s annual sporting highlights.

Before each wave of runners, a minute’s silence was held in honour of the victims of the attack, before poet Tony Walsh – fresh from his rousing poem at last week’s vigil – gave an inspirational performance of 'Do Something’.

A vociferous support lined the route from its Portland Street start and out of the city towards Salford Quays, where runners passed Old Trafford and the Imperial War Museum before heading back towards the Beetham Tower.


FINAL STRETCH: Enthusiastic crowds and uplifting signs greet runners as they prepare to charge up Deansgate for the last 100 metres 

The first to cross the finishing line was Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba – a double Olympic gold medallist over 10,000m – who won the women’s elite race for the fourth time in five years.

Meanwhile American Dathan Ritzenhein ended eight years of African dominance in the men’s race by triumphing seven seconds ahead of Kenyan-American Bernard Lagat.

Amongst the masses were celebrity runners including Manchester-born boxer Anthony Crolla, comedian John Bishop and Coronation Street actors Kym Marsh, Bruno Langley and Sally Dynevor.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham – who also ran – said: “It’s an extraordinary day to be here. The spirit of Manchester you can feel coming through the people.

“They’re sending a message to the terrorists and the extremists that you’re not going to beat us, you’re not going to change who we are, you’re not going to change what we do and we’re going to move forward from here together.

“I could not be more proud of the people of Greater Manchester this week. They’ve shown the world what they’re all about – togetherness and solidarity.”

Burnham was running with a t-shirt emblazoned with the “We Love Manchester Emergency Fund” logo, a campaign which has so far raised more than £5m since the Manchester Arena attack.

Thousands of other runners were raising money for various other charitable causes from Cancer Research to Multiple Sclerosis.

Meanwhile Simplyhealth – current sponsors of the Great Run Series of events – have made a pledge to donate 10% of their profits to health-related charities every year.

They have also launched the ‘Millions Moving’ campaign to encourage more people to take part or just get the most out of every day by running, jogging or walking together.

To learn more about the positive impact that exercise can have on your everyday health, go to: www.millionsmoving.co.uk

I ran on Sunday as a guest of Simplyhealth, the UK’s leading provider of everyday health cash plans, dental payment and pet health plans.