THE Sheffield half marathon hits 30 on Sunday – with no sign that interest is tailing off.
About 5,500 runners will take to the streets, and thousands more will watch them as they run from the Don Valley Stadium, through the east end and the city centre to Hunters Bar and back.
Entries ranging from elite athletes to members of the public wanting to raise money for charity ensured that the race capacity was reached 11 weeks ahead of the big day – the fastest sign-up rate it its history.
Now organisers are hoping that the 30th event will see record-breaking fundraising as they encourage each runners to raise money for one of the ten official charities.
The total donation last year was a record £95,000.
Elite runners signed up to the race include Benjamin Morely from Bristol, Daniel Brewe, Michael Sprot and Darren Newbould, all from Sheffield, who hope to complete the race in under 75 minutes. Erica Sheldon and Jenny Horne, both from Sheffield, hope to finish in under 85 minutes.
Half marathon veteran Kenny Roe will be making his 30th appearance, competing in every event in the run’s history.
A corporate challenge has attracted 47 business teams including Sheffield International Venues, HLW Commercial Lawyers, and current champions Irwin Mitchell.
Former Sports Minister and Sheffield Central MP Richard Caborn will be running the 13 miles, as well all sorts of individuals and groups wanting to do their bit for charity.
Among them will be ten South Yorkshire firefighters from Aston Park (White Watch) and Mosborough fire stations, who will run in aid of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.
Watch manager Mark Jones, at Aston Park, said: “We have all been training very hard to make sure we can complete the race in a good time.”
The race will start at the Don Valley International Stadium at 9.30am, although roads will be closed well in advance, and organisers are advising motorists to steer clear until the race has finished at 12.30pm
Feeding stations will be located at Fred Mulley Way, Bramall Lane, Cemetery Road, Ecclesall Road, Effingham Street, Brightside Lane and Don Valley Stadium.
Bands, dancers and cheerleaders will line the route to entertain supporters and keep runners going.
After the half marathon start, by bellydancer Sophie Mei, who is also competing, more than 500 children and families will line up for the start of the 3km Great Fun Run, which circle the stadium.
Lady Mayoress Nicola Ashton and her two children Charley and Ellie will be taking part in the Fun Run.
Charities to benefit this year are Sheffield Teenage Cancer Trust, Motor Neurone Disease Association South Yorkshire, British Heart Foundation for South Yorkshire, North and North East Lincolnshire, Myasthenia Gravis Association South Yorkshire, St Luke’s Hospice Sheffield, Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre South Yorkshire, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind and Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice.