Salford Harrier aiming to be no ordinary Joe at ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon
The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon will celebrate the 40th staging of this famous, old race with new elite men’s and women’s champions in 2016.
So, who will succeed 2015 winners, Great Britain internationals, Paul Martelletti and Georgie Bruinvels, as title holders on April 10?
Martelletti’s victory last year ended a run of home wins following successes for Altrincham & District AC’s, David Norman, in 2012 and 2013 plus Stockport Harrier, Andi Jones, a year later.
A new local hero could be Salford Harrier Joe Bailey. The 27-year-old from Blackley won last month’s Wrexham Half Marathon in 68 minutes 24 seconds and is the current Rochdale 10K title holder.
The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, first staged in 1908, has re-established itself on the long distance running map in recent years. So much so it has been voted the UK’s favourite marathon by runners at The Running Awards for two consecutive years.
It’s easy then to see why runners are attracted to a fast and flat course which this year starts and finishes at Emirates Old Trafford, home of Lancashire Cricket Club.
Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier Kojo Kyereme may be 41 but he certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. Kyereme is the reigning World Masters 10,000 metres champion and finished last year’s New York Marathon in 2:26:17.
Dan Nash of East Cornwall Harriers will make his debut over the 26 miles 385 yards distance and is looking to finish at the sharp end of the field. He clocked 67 mins 57 secs for last month’s Lisbon Half Marathon and posted 67:20 at the 2015 Reading Half Marathon.
Writing on his blog Nash enthused: “I’m super excited about this new challenge.
“Having run for as long as I can remember, and having competed in literally hundreds of races from 1500m up to the half marathon, it’s been very refreshing working towards something I’ve never attempted before.
“For me, with literally no speed (200m PB of 28.8), I’d always thought that the marathon would eventually be the event which would suit me best.
“However, I got bored of waiting and, despite a fair bit of criticism, will be making my debut at the ripe old age of 22.”
Joe Morwood of Aldershot District & Farnham AC was first Briton in last year’s Brighton Marathon and is expected to be pushing at the front end of the elite field.
Clubmate Bruinvels established a women’s course record of 2:37:21 at the 2015 ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, taking more than a minute off Emily Wicks’ 2014 course record.
In Bruinvels’ absence, Belgrave Harrier Samantha Amend and Gemma Connolly of St Helens Sutton will look to improve on last year’s respective second and third places. Amend clocked 2:44:13 and Connolly 2:47:18.
The Manchester race was one of five marathons for 37-year-old Amend in 2015 including victory at Chester. Already this year she has clocked 2:03:40 at the Bramley 20.
Connolly achieved victory at the 2016 Four Villages Half Marathon at Helsby and finished second female at the Liverpool Half Marathon.
Scot Jennifer Wetton finished second female at this year’s Inverness and Alloa Half Marathons while she clocked 2:46:55 at the 2014 London Marathon.
Stockport Harrier Kelly Crickmore, 38, is no stranger to marathons and as a best of 2:45:14 from 2013. She is capable of challenging for the top female prize.
The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon offers a British-only prize fund that attracts a top quality British elite field as well as many international runners.
Being fast and flat, it is an ideal race for athletes of all levels including first-time marathoners, charity runners and elite runners seeking a PB or qualifying time. The race is renowned for its huge crowd and community support and the lively entertainment around the course.
15,000 places were available for the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon in 2016 and entry is now closed.
Please visit www.greatermanchestermarathon.com for the full race details, spectator information and route map.
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