So you’re not doing the Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday (October 20). You definitely considered it, but then all the places sold out so quickly – it was like Leeds Festival for running. You’ll definitely do it next year; maybe you’ll start training tomorrow.
Either way, you’re going do the right thing and cheer on the runners. It’s not only the racing that takes preparation, watching does too. Here’s your guide on how to do the marathon (just not the running bit).
This is Yorkshire and York’s very first marathon. Before now, we have only managed 10ks, but we are challenging ourselves. And yes, the course is officially 26.2 miles, making it a legit marathon.
In fact organisers Marathon Yorkshire Ltd say it’s going to be comparable to the London, Paris and Berlin races… so a big hype then.
The 6,000 places really did sell out in three days. A valiant retort to stereotypes of Yorkshire’s special relationship with pastries and puddings.
Good news for the runners: this is among the flattest marathon courses in Britain. Good news for the tourist trade: they reckon it’ll inject at least £1 million into York’s economy.
Whilst runners will be raising money for charities of their choice, Marathon Yorkshire Ltd is a sister company to the late Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, the organisation behind the aforementioned 10ks which have taken place throughout Yorkshire.
Jane raised over £2 million for charity, competing in a series of major sporting events, after being diagnosed with incurable cancer.
The race starts and ends at the University of York. Legendary cricket umpire Dickie Bird will set the first runners off on University Road at 9.30am.
From there the runners will head towards the city entering through Walmgate Bar, then down Parliament Street, past the Minster and out through Monk Bar.
Things get a bit more rural from then on, taking the runners towards Stockton on the Forest. From there runners pound their way through Upper Helmsley, Sand Hutton, Stamford Bridge, Holtby, Murton, Osbaldwick, Tang Hall before eventually finishing back at the university.
Where to watch
You can watch the runners anywhere along the route but there are four official spectator points too. Which one you choose possibly depends on how sadistic you are…
1. Deangate, next to York Minster (first runners expected c9.40am): near the beginning of the race where you can cheer on enthusiastic athletes
2. Buttercrambe Moor Wood, southern edge (first runners c10.30am): the pain starts to kick in
3. Stamford Bridge (first runners c10.30am): they’ll appreciate a cheer
4. The A166, just before the turning to Murton Lane (first runners c11am): at the 18 mile mark when runners must charge through the famous marathon “wall”
Here’s a map with the spectator points on it (PDF).
Who to watch for
Perhaps your loved one competing isn’t enough to get you out of bed on a Sunday morning. Well then, maybe you’ll be enticed by the chance to see York’s own local hero Look North presenter Harry Gration. He’s running the marathon two days before his 63rd birthday.
There’s also the James Potter Eggs Yorkshire Marathon Corporate Relay (there’s a mouthful). Here, teams of six each undertake a leg of the course, and those taking part include double gold-medal Paralympic athlete Hannah Cockcroft and Emmerdale veteran Chris Chittel (aka Eric Pollard).
There are two drop-off points at the university for participants, signposted from the A19 and A64. Then drivers are asked to park off site: “the easiest place to do this is in the city centre” is the official line.
Booking for special park and ride services at York College and Murton are now closed.
No, it’s not all Lucozade and flailing your arms in the air like you just don’t care. There will be some pesky road closures to facilitate this great event.
University Road will be closed between (the brilliantly titled) Innovation Way and Green Dykes lane from midday on Saturday, not reopening til 9pm the next day.
City centre roads affected will include Walmgate, Leadmill Lane, Piccadilly, Parliament Street, Blake Street, Duncombe Place, Deangate, Goodramgate and Monkgate. Although these should only be closed between 9.15 am and 10.30 am on race day.
Other congested areas may include Heworth Green A1036, Stockton Lane, The Village, Common Lane, Northgate Lane, Holtby Lane, Murton Way, Bad Bargain Lane and Osbaldwick Lane.
To find out if your bus is affected, click here (PDF).
Do the Y
After the summer of 2012 where hapless citizens felt obliged to do “the lightning bolt” or “the Mo” this autumn we are being ordered to do “the Y”. I’m skeptical; it looks like an incomplete “YMCA”.
On the other hand they have persuaded Chris Kamara among others to do it, so best to just go along with it really.
If standing next to the A166 on an October morning is not your thing, there are other opportunities to witness human strength and endurance this weekend. The day before the marathon, City Screen will be showing Town Of Runners, a documentary about a small town in Ethiopia, Bekoji, which has produced multiple Olympic winners.
- The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 20 from 9.30am. More details on the event website