Blood, sweat and tears will soon be the order of the day as the Liverpool Marathon's return looms large on the sporting horizon.
Alan Rothwell, the event organiser, told JMU Journalism: "I am sat waiting patiently, just like at Christmas," as last-minute preparations are being made for Sunday’s 26.2 mile race.
After a gap of more than 20 years, thousands of spectators are expected to line the course on October 9th to support runners as they strive to complete the demanding course. Rothwell would have expected around 10,000 runners in the first year but a clash with the Chester Marathon means approximately 6,500 will hear the starter’s gun on the Wirral.
The event has already given a boost to the city’s
economy of up to £3m, and this figure is expected to
increase as the event grows in popularity and size.
Recent warm weather has worried many, though
some forecasts predict rain on Sunday. "The weather
you get is the weather you get," said Rothewell, who
hopes is there is no wind to ruin the day.
The race will start in Birkenhead Park and runners will
make their way through the Queensway Tunnel to
complete the final 13 miles on the streets of Liverpool.
It will finish in front of the world-famous ‘Three Graces’
at the Pier Head.
Runners can also take part in a Beatles-inspired Fab
Four Mile Fun Run in Sefton Park the day before the
Ambassadors for the race include actress Suzanne Collins and boxer Paul Smith, who are both expected to take part.
It is hoped the Liverpool Marathon will eventually become a viable rival to the London Marathon, which is hugely oversubscribed each year. Next year’s race date has already been announced and will be held on Sunday October 14th, 2012.
The Annual City Marathon - as the race was first known - was held back in 1927 and continued until being interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. It returned to Liverpool in 1948 and was held annually until 1961, when legendary runner Ron Hill made his debut at the 26.2 mile distance.
* Website Editor Liam Deveney will be running in the Liverpool Marathon on Sunday, tweeting live on JMU Journalism about his progress. He will be joined by JMU Journalism Senior Editors, Chris Shaw and Hugh O'Connell, but Journalism Lecturer John Mathews was forced to pull out due to a niggling groin injury and "personal reasons".
By Liam Deveney, Website Editor Pictures by Vegard Grott, Photo Producer
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The start of the 2010 Liverpool Half Marathon; race ambassadors at the launch of the Liverpool Marathon