Bupa Great Birmingham Run 2012

Bupa Great Birmingham Run 2012

Bupa Great Birmingham Run 2012

The Bupa Great Birmingham Run, is probably better known as the Birmingham Half Marathon. The organisation of the event by Bupa is now in its second year, and it is the largest half marathon in the Midlands and one of the fastest growing half marathons in the UK.

It was originally known simply as the Birmingham Half Marathon and was first staged in held in 2008. In 2009 the event incorporated the World Half Marathon Championships.

Thousands of runners compete

Thousands of runners compete

Bupa’s course takes a 13 mile route around the second city’s streets and takes in some of Brum’s better known locations such as the Bullring, Cadbury’s Victorian factory in Bourneville, Edgbaston cricket ground and Cannon Hill Park. Live music and street entertainment plays all around the course, from blues, rock to gospel, reggae, bhangra and acid jazz keep runners entertained, there’s even a DJ who plays house music from her front garden.

There are supporters and spectators on ever street corner and it’s rare to see a section of the race without supporters cheering runners on. This helps keep runners motivated every step of the way. There are hundreds more supporters who turn out to cheer finishers across the line on Broad Street in the heart of the city centre. The notorious hill climb at the end of the route has taken many casualties and is seen by some as a real challenge, even by professional runners.

Britain’s second largest city is situated at the heart of England and is the perfect stage for the event which attracts competitors from across the UK and around the world. Last year’s race was won by the legendary Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia who completed the 13.1 mile course in 1:1:29 seconds, Gemma Steel of the UK took the women’s title with a personal best time of 1:12:21.

It is estimated that around 15,000 took part in 2011 with many running to raise money for causes close to their hearts and raised thousands of pounds for charities and worthy ventures.  Large numbers are expected to participate in 2012 also.

The top 5 elite runners taking part in 2012 will be:

  • Zersenay Tadese – Half Marathon World Record Holder (58:23;5)
  • Micah Kogo – 2008 Olympic 10000M Bronze
  • Eliud Kipchoge – 2010 Commonwealth Games 5000M Silver
  • Yusei Nakao – 5th Place 2008 World Half Marathon Championships
  • Abera Kuma – 5th Place 5000M 2011 World Championships

Runners will take months to prepare for a large run like this, with many runners hoping for a personal best. There will be professional entrants and those who are members of running clubs, but there are also fun runners and people simply running for their chosen charity. As with the London Marathon, Bupa’s Birmingham Half Marathon is also a large stage for charity fundraising and tens of thousands of pounds are raised each year for good causes such as the local Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Good Running Shoes Essential

Good Running Shoes Essential

A full or half marathon is not cheap to enter. Entrant fees for a half marathon average at £30 and regardless of skill level, runners and athletes will need to have invested in some good quality running shoes, such as Asics, Adidas, New Balance, Saucony or Nike running shoes, and for those who want to take it really seriously there are breathable running vests, Lycra shorts and nutritional energy gels and bars to consider.

Running a half marathon can be fun but also should be taken seriously as there is plenty to prepare against such as hypothermia, cramps, falls, fatigue and dehydration. Most large scale events such as the Birmingham Half Marathon will have water stations and medics all along the route, but runner safety is down to the individual. So warm clothes and a quick escape in the dry and warm after the race is essential.

Whether you choose to run to raise money, complete a personal challenge or as part of the journey towards a healthier lifestyle, running in an event such as the Bupa Great Birmingham Run can bring immense satisfaction and the medal at the end will give you a real sense of achievement.

Article by Simon Lucas.

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