Runner shape up for 2014 Leeds Half Marathon

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Thousands of runners are limbering up for the Leeds Half Marathon this weekend.

The city centre’s streets are set to be transformed into a blaze of colour as a record 7,000 athletes tackle the 13.1 mile course.

Runners are coming from as far away as the US, India and Hong Kong to take part in the race on Sunday.

Famous faces tackling the course include former Leeds United star Danny Mills, Leeds Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott, England rugby union coach Stuart Lancaster and BBC sports presenter George Riley.

The YEP-backed event is organised by Run For All, the group that works to continue the fundraising legacy of the late Leeds cancer heroine Jane Tomlinson.

The route starts and finishes in the city centre, taking in Meanwood, Horsforth and Kirkstall among other areas.

The oldest competitor due to take part today is 85-year-old John Johnson, of Garforth, Leeds.

Hundreds of youngsters are set to take part in the free Arena Group Leeds Mini and Junior Run, this year supporting Leeds-based charity SNAPS, which helps children with special needs and their families.

Lynne Preston, Events Manager at Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, said: “It’s already another record-breaking year for the Leeds Half Marathon and we’d like to thank everyone for their support; whether they are a participant, a supporter, an entertainer or spectator.

“All of your efforts go towards making the event as special as it is.”

Leeds mum Sarah Kennedy will be among those runners starting the race in the Headrow.

The mum is running for a cause close to her heart - St James’s Hospital, where neo-natal staff helped ensure the survival of her daughter, Emily, who was born 13 weeks premature in June last year.

The race starts at 9.30am on the Headrow and finishes in Cookridge Street.

Event sponsors are the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds City Council, Asda Foundation, Capital FM and Powerade.

Last year’s half marathon raised £150,000 for its partner charities.

A number of the city’s roads will be closed or subject to restricted access.

The closures will begin from 4am on Sunday, with roads reopening on a rolling timetable.

City centre routes affected include Cookridge Street, New Briggate and the Headrow between Oxford Place and Briggate.

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