Elite athletes in all categories are racing towards the Manchester Half

There is an intriguing competition emerging in the forthcoming Manchester Half Marathon, as the event has already attracted two of the UK’s top male runners, as well as what is set to be a fierce wheelchair race. These athletes will be vying for the winning titles on Sunday 14th October.

Manchester Half Marathon 2017 winner Luke Traynor is returning to defend his title after his record breaking 64 minute 7 second run, on his debut half marathon race. Since then he has clocked 61 minutes and 55 seconds at the Barcelona Half Marathon in February, so a huge new record could be on the cards. The run in Spain took him to third fastest in history on the all-time Scottish rankings. The Giffnock North athlete is anticipating another successful trip down the M6 from his Glasgow base.

Traynor said: “I am really excited to be going back to compete in the Manchester Half Marathon. Last year was my first ever half marathon and it was a brilliant experience. It’s a super flat course and the atmosphere was awesome. This year is going to be even better and faster, I hope, as I’m aiming to break my own course record. If you’re looking for a PB I’d encourage all runners to come and join me on October 14th.”

Also joining the line-up is Andy Vernon. With a very successful summer track season under his belt, after finishing 5th in the 10,000m at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin, Vernon is looking forward to taking part in the Manchester event. His 2014 Half Marathon PB of 62 minutes and 46 seconds is certainly under threat given his recent strong form.

Andy Vernon said: “It will be my first-time taking part in the Manchester Half Marathon which is an event I’ve heard great things about. It’s a half marathon that is starting to attract lots of top club runners as the course is famously fast and flat. There are some great competitors this year, so it should be a fantastic race.”

This year’s wheelchair race is set to be one of the most competitive in its history. 2016 Team GB Paralympian and British Marathon record holder, Simon Lawson, will also be making his Manchester Half Marathon debut. Simon said: “I’ve heard competition is growing with more Wheelchair Elites entering year on year, so I’m looking forward to my first time on the course.”

2018 European Championships silver medallist in the 400 and 800m wheelchair sprints, Ben Rowlings, will be another contender for the 1st place trophy. He’s also the wheelchair world record holder for the 5000m. Adding to the elite wheelchair field is Anthony Gotts, he suffered from depression after losing the use of his legs and completed an incredible 900-mile world record from Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland. Anthony said: “As a Mancunian, I am looking forward to racing through my City of Manchester and seeing the crowds. I’ve heard the support from everyone at the Manchester Half Marathon is quite something.”

The incredible Eden Rainbow-Cooper looks promising to be the leading female elite wheelchair athlete. Her career began only 5 years ago, aged 14 Eden was one of the fastest under 15 athletes nationally, now the Weir Archer Academy racer is ranked number 1 in the t54 classification for female wheelchair racers in the 100m to 1500m on track. Eden said: “I’ve heard the course is the flattest, so I’m pushing for a personal best. I hope to see other female wheelchair racers there on the day.”

The wheelchair elite field is the biggest in Manchester Half Marathon history. These are promising early results for the Manchester Half’s inclusivity scheme, which was announced earlier this year, with plans to make the event one of the most accessible in the world.

To find out more about the Manchester Half Marathon, visit: www.mcrhalf.co.uk