THE countdown is on to this Sunday’s Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon - one of Yorkshire’s biggest and oldest charity road races.
The 32nd annual race, which is backed by the Yorkshire Evening Post, will see more than 8,500 people running to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for a string of charities.
Famous faces set to take part include actor George Rainsford – Ethan Hardy in BBC TV’s Casualty, former Leeds Rhinos greats Barrie McDermott and Keith Senior and Sky Sports reporter Bryn Law.
Leeds athlete Callum Hall – paralysed after he stood on a sea urchin on holiday – will contest the wheelchair race.
Burley-in-Wharfedale Scout and Guide Group treasurer Mike Harrison, 46, will take part in the race as he nears his goal of running 1,000 kilometres to raise money for a new scout and guide hut.
The group’s appeal has already raised about £200,000 towards a £400,000 target and Mr Harrison, who started his challenge last August, hopes his efforts will boost the total by at least £1,500.
He said: “I have run the Leeds Half Marathon before. There’s always a great atmosphere and people cheer you all the way round.”
The event is organised by Run For All, part of the lasting legacy of the late Jane Tomlinson, who raised nearly £2m for charity by tackling a series if gruelling challenges despite battling terminal cancer.
The route starts in The Headrow alongside Victoria Gardens at 9.30am on Sunday May 14.
Many of those tasking part will be raising money for the event’s partner charities which this year are the Jane Tomlinson Appeal; Martin House Children’s Hospice; Sue Ryder; St Gemma’s Hospice; Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice; Marie Curie; Overgate Hospice; CLIC Sargent, Leeds Children’s Hospital Appeal and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Andy Baker, CEO of the event’s title sponsors Plusnet, said: “As a company we have very strong ties with Leeds and are delighted to support an event that does so much for good causes in the city and the wider region.
“Last month’s half marathon in Sheffield got the Plusnet series off to a super start and we are sure the Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon will once again be hugely successful.”
Lynne Preston, Run For All Events Manager, said: “The Leeds Half Marathon is one of the flagship events of our season and we will be working very hard to ensure all those involved – runners, spectators and volunteers – have an excellent day.”
Limited places remain in the Leeds Half Marathon; sign up at http://www.theyorkshiremarathon.com/events/plusnet-leeds-half-marathon/
The Leeds Half Marathon is supported by Plusnet, Leeds City Council, ViiSana, Asda Foundation, High 5 Sports Nutrition, Erdinger, Aftershokz, Yorkshire Evening Post, Radio Aire,Up & Running and bananakick.