THE AJ Bell Great Manchester Run 2023 was the 20th staging of the event.
The first Great Manchester Run was staged in 2003 as a legacy event following the Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester in 2002. The 10k grew to be one of the largest in Europe, in recent years it has evolved to include a popular half marathon and attracts tens of thousands of runners each year.
The last two decades have created some incredible stories of courage, endurance, and Manchester pride as well as fantastic fundraising achievements.
For many people, one of the most memorable images of the run will be that of Kirsty Howard. Kirsty was a remarkable little girl born with a rare life-limiting condition and her courage and smile made her the face of Francis House. Kirsty’s involvement came about through Susie Mathis and David Hart from Nova International, the Kirsty Appeal was chosen as the charity for the first Great Manchester Run.
Kirsty was oxygen dependent and used an electric wheelchair. Dressed in her running gear she joined the start line of junior runners at the very first race in May 2003. Her wheelchair however wasn’t equipped for speed, and she was quickly overtaken by the other children. However, she was at the finishing line of the senior’s race cheering them on!
Kirsty Howard made a huge impact as a fundraiser and raised millions for Francis House where she received respite care from 3 ½ years of age. The outpouring of support for Kirsty from the spectators continued over future years and kept Francis House very much in the hearts and minds of the public.
Based in Didsbury, Francis House provides respite care for children and young adults with life-limiting conditions, helping them live life to the full and offering much-needed support, friendship and encouragement to their families.
The run this year saw 110 supporters line up to race in aid of Francis House and the atmosphere in the city centre on a hot Sunday, May 21st was incredible. Among those crossing the finish line were a team of 50 runners from Siemens. Staff from the Manchester office of the technology company are aiming to raise £8000 in sponsorship as well as through bake sales, raffles, and a Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.
Steve Aughton, Head of Sales at Siemens, and the chief Great Run organiser, said:
“We participated in the Great Run Manchester for the past 6 years but never with such numbers. There were 50 of us this year from across the business of all abilities. Everyone enjoyed it, some more than others!
“We selected Francis House because it is a wonderful charity. They support over 500 families from across Greater Manchester who are caring for a child with a short life expectancy.”
Daniel Rogers and Dale Quarmby had personal reasons for wanting to run for the hospice. The pair raised £1,105 and ran in memory of Dale’s cousin Billy and for friend Andrea whose daughter attends Francis House for respite care.
Other teams who took part included GMI Construction Group, Neuven Group and Oldham Care Organisation.
The Great Manchester Run is expected to raise approximately £20,000 for the hospice.
For more information and to get involved, please visit: www.francishouse.org.uk.