Before the starting whistle, a minute’s silence in memory of the victims and casualties of the suicide bomb that killed 22 at the Manchester Arena. This year’s Great Manchester Run may have been more subdued than usual, but runners turned out in their thousands, undettered by the attack on their city less than a week earlier.
Mike Cricksley, who was running in a Batman costume, said:
“It`s a bit of a strange day actually, it`s usually more upbeat and more buzz in the air but it`s a bit of strange, but I`m sure it’ll be okay.”
Another runner, Rita Kelly, said:
“We had to make a decision to fly over from Ireland, so we’re kind of feeling we are here, yes, it is an emotional run as well, I say. But you have to show that you are not afraid and we are looking forward to it. I hope it is going to be okay for everybody.”
Greater Manchester Police gave the go-ahead for the run after additional security measures had been put into place. Armed officers were stationed in amongst the crowds, but neither competitors nor spectators let this dampen their spirits.
David Hart, organiser of the marathon, spoke emotionally from the side of the run:
“Amazing, amazing. This event has been a year in the planning, and than everything happened over the course of the week, but we are here, the yellow ribbons are out in force. It’s an emotional day, it’s a special day for the people of Manchester to show their solidarity, their spirit, their compassion and what a great city that they are from. Incredible… Good luck Abbie!”
The event is Europe’s largest 10 kilometre run, with, for the first time, a half marathon as well.
This year runners have seized the opportunity it affords them to demonstrate the pride and loyalty they feel for their city.