Manchester goes extra mile for Sport Relief as money raised passes £52million

By Ben Burrows & Sean-Paul Doran

Manchester turned out in force to go the extra mile for Sport Relief on Sunday, with some famous faces doing their bit as well.

Over 6,200 people, young and old, pounded the pavements for the one, three or six mile challenges including Sport Relief 2012 man of steel John Bishop, taking his final lap of honour after his ‘Week of Hell’.

Liverpudlian comic Bishop ran, cycled and rowed 295 miles from Paris to London and finished off his monumental effort by completing a mile through Manchester with wife Mel by his side.

He joined the Manchester Mile on Sunday because he felt he needed the exercise, he told us.

“My ‘Week of Hell’ was painful and difficult but today has been an absolute joy.

“I’ve seen firsthand the difference that Sport Relief money makes and I can tell you that it really does change lives here in the UK and around the world,” he added.

As the sun beamed down on Manchester, the Mancunian crowd were in great spirits and delighted to be involved with such a worthy cause.

Stephen Clarke, 25, from Newchurch, embodied the battling spirit of the day, completing the mile on crutches in 22 minutes following a knee injury sustained just last week.

“I had registered to do the run a while back and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me from doing my part,” he said.

Some familiar faces were to be found among the Manchester Milers, including England Rugby stars Chris Ashton and Andrew Sheridan. A host of TV, radio and sports personalities donned their running shoes, but suggestions of friendly celebrity rivalries were dismissed.

“I’m quite a competitive person, but that’s not what today is all about,” said Hollyoaks actress Alex Fletcher.

Embracing the family atmosphere of the day, Alex completed the one mile course with her mum and two young children, before running the one mile course with Big Brother winner Craig Phillips.

“All the kids are involved and the nice thing is that there’s no excuse really as it is only a mile,” she added.

More than a million Britons got involved at hundreds of Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile events across the country and Manchester was one of 17 flagship UK cities, from Brighton to Belfast, to embrace Sport Relief.

Prime Minister David Cameron swapped his suit for his shorts and led by example, running a mile at Prestwood in Buckinghamshire.

The Sport Relief 2012 total currently stands at over £52million, with much more expected to come in within the next few days from Milers and the general public.

Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, welcomed the efforts of the British public and expressed his delight at the volume of support received.

He said: “We’re thrilled that so many people have come out to take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile.

“What a fantastic way to celebrate the biggest year of sport and cap off a record breaking Sport Relief weekend.”

Money raised from Sport Relief will be spent by Comic Relief to help some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and in the world’s poorest countries.

To donate, please visit for further details and give whatever you can. As Mancunians showed yesterday, all efforts, big and small, are welcome.

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