The end of this month will see the 15th edition of the Great Manchester Run take place – an event which is now firmly ingrained as one of the city’s annual sporting highlights.
On Sunday 28 May, over 30,000 people will take to the streets of Manchester and Salford in what is the third-largest mass participation running event in the UK behind the London Marathon and the Great North Run.
From its Portland Street start, the 10k route takes participants out of the city towards Salford Quays, passing Old Trafford and the Imperial War Museum before heading back towards the traditional finish line under the Beetham Tower.
Since the inaugural event in 2003, famous stars to have participated include Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie – the five-time winner – and former European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey, who has won the women’s race twice.
In 2009, the event was expanded to include the Great City Games with athletes including Jamaican legend Usain Bolt sprinting down Deansgate on a specially constructed athletics track.
Olympic gold-medalists Jessica Ennis-Hill and Christine Ohuruogu have since appeared at the unique track event and this year also sees a brand new addition to the weekend in the form of a half marathon.
The 13.1 mile half marathon route is partly the same as the 10k course but also includes an extra detour to the Etihad Stadium via Mancunian Way.
POPULAR: Supporters will line the roads as runners make their way back to the city centre
Simplyhealth – new sponsors of the Great Run Series of events – have launched the ‘Millions Moving’ campaign to encourage people to take part or just get the most out of every day by jogging or walking together.
Speaking on behalf of the UK’s leading health cash plan provider, physiotherapist Jenny Blizard has provided advice for runners in those final training sessions and for warming-up on the day of the race.
She says: “As a physio treating predominantly runners and as a runner myself, the best routine I have found over the years, giving the most benefits for the time taken – and let’s face it everyone is short of time these days – is a whole body mobility routine.
“Mobilising several body parts in relation to the activity that is to be undertaken is preferable to stretching isolated muscles. This allows the connective tissue to loosen up and the joints to be lubricated by their own synovial fluid.
PICK UP THE PACE
“In addition, the increasing heart rate sends the blood to the muscles we need to run as you start to get warm.
“Yoga poses are perfect for a whole body mobility routine. Start with the spine, as the nerves that control your working muscles arise from here. If the nerves get irritated from lack of blood flow or lack of movement, or if the joints in your back surrounding the nerves get stiff, then this impedes the nerve’s function and affects your flexibility.
“Moving through a number of ‘cat into cow’ poses, followed by seated spinal twists will get your spine prepped. Next, follow on into a moving bridge to further mobilise the spine and the fronts of the thigh.
“Now you’re ready to pick the pace up with alternating ‘downward dog’ and ‘upward dog’, which is excellent for mobilising the hamstrings and calves. Finally, work on the hips with alternating ‘warrior’ and ‘reverse warrior’ poses.
“This 10 minute mobility routine composing of moving yoga poses at the same time as focusing on deep breathing is the perfect set up to achieve a body ready to run and a calm mind ready to focus.”
To learn more about the positive impact that exercise can have on your everyday health; for practical tips on incorporating exercise in to your life; and for more physiotherapy advice, go to: www.millionsmoving.co.uk
Places for the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run are still available at: http://www.greatrun.org/great-manchester-run