First marathon set for Greater Manchester in a decade

Lead runners in the 2011 Great Manchester Run
Image caption The 26-mile route will take runners through the streets of Trafford

Greater Manchester is set to stage its first full marathon in a decade.

Five thousand runners are expected to take part in the Greater Manchester Marathon in April 2012, organisers have announced.

The 26.2 mile (42km) route will take competitors past Old Trafford cricket and football grounds and Dunham Park.

The city's last marathon was held in 2002 but has been superseded by the 10km Great Manchester Run as the city's major running event.

The event is being staged by Altrincham-based sports management company Xtra Mile Events in conjunction with Trafford Council.

Managing Director Simon Hill said he was proud to bring the "ultimate running challenge" back to Manchester.

World's flattest

"The city is known for its achievements within sport so there was no question that Greater Manchester should have a marathon of its own."

He added that the event would be "one of the world's flattest marathons" and would be open to all comers as well as elite athletes.

The gruelling event, to be held on 29 April 2012, will start and finish in Longford Park, Stretford and take runners through Trafford.

In May, 38,000 runners took part in the 2011 Great Manchester Run, the UK's biggest 10km event.

Organisers hope the new marathon will raise £1m for charities including partners The Christie and Henshaw's Society for Blind People.

Entries opened on Thursday.

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