Starting gun is fired on Sheffield 10k run shake-up

A new 10k running event set to attract thousands of runners from across the country is coming to Sheffield.

Thursday, 17th March 2016, 1:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2016, 1:21 pm
The Great Yorkshire Run 2015 gets under way

The Great Yorkshire Run has taken place each September since 2007 on streets around the city centre, pulling in 5,000 runners each year.

But, following the success of the new-look Sheffield Half Marathon, which was relaunched last April with a fresh route and a new organiser – Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All – the council is taking bids from organisers for a ‘re-shaped’ city centre 10k.

A report says the council is looking for a ‘more modern business model’, offering the authority a share of income from the race – money it could use to support sports services.

It is understood efforts were made to renegotiate the arrangement with organiser Nova International, which owns the Great Run brand, before it was decided to offer the contract more widely.

The council report said the revamped race should have a ‘preferred but not essential start, finish, or both’ in the city centre.

“The preferred delivery of the 10k would be before the end of March 2017, but essential before the end of December 2017,” it added.

Last year Run For All took over the Sheffield Half Marathon, which was cancelled at the last minute in 2014 because of a lack of water.

The report said the new half marathon, which took runners on a challenging route out into the hills in the south west of the city, was ‘delivered successfully and generated economic and social benefits to Sheffield’.

It adds: “It is envisaged the organiser will ensure the Sheffield 10k Road Race will have a new look and feel and will encourage entries from runners at all levels of ability.

“The council is also keen for the event to grow in size year on year by attracting new runners who have not done the race before.”

Additional activities would form a ‘portfolio of events’ encouraging people to get involved, as well as attracting visitors from outside the city.

The new contract would be for three years, with an option to extend the deal by another two years.

It is not yet known whether Nova plans to bid to oversee the relaunched race. If they do not, the event is likely to be given another name, rather than continuing as the Great Yorkshire Run.

Feedback from potential organisers has been ‘positive’, suggesting there will be a ‘healthy response’ to the invitation for bids, said the report.

Council chiefs hope a 10k race could still happen later this year.

If another organiser wants a fresh start, it is likely they will try to choose a date away from April, so as not to compete with the half marathon.

Coun Sioned-Mair Richards, the council’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “While the Great Yorkshire Run was a popular event, we believe that runners will thrive on a fresh new challenge and that it will attract many more visitors to the city.

“I encourage organisations with ideas and commitment to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity and show us what they can do.”