Get ready to celebrate 20 years of the Great Manchester Run

The AJ Bell Great Manchester Run 2023 will be the 20th staging of the event.

Girl in a wheelchair smiling accompanied by a runner with crowds behind

Kirsty Howard was at the start line of the Great Manchester Run since its beginnings in 2003

The last two decades have created some incredible stories of courage, endurance, and local pride as well as fantastic fundraising achievements.

The first Great Manchester was staged in 2003 as a legacy event following the Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester in 2002. The 10k grew to be one of the largest in Europe, in recent years it has evolved to include a popular half marathon and attracts tens of thousands of runners each year.

Kirsty Howard

For many people, one of the most memorable images of the run will be that of Kirsty Howard. Kirsty’s involvement came about through Susie Mathis and David Hart from Nova International, the Kirsty Appeal was chosen as the charity for the first Great Manchester Run.

Kirsty was oxygen dependent and used an electric wheelchair. Dressed in her running gear she joined the start line of junior runners at the very first race in May 2003. Her wheelchair however wasn’t equipped for speed, and she was quickly overtaken by the other children. However, she was at the finishing line of the senior’s race cheering them on!

Kirsty Howard made a huge impact as a fundraiser for the hospice. She raised millions for Francis House where she received respite care from 3 ½ years of age. She was proud to wear her Number 1 running shirt, especially the one presented to her by David Beckham for the third run! The outpouring of support for Kirsty from the spectators continued over future years and kept Francis House very much in hearts and minds of the public.

Group of people stood in office setting

A team from Siemens in Manchester are taking part in the run on the 21st May


Today dozens of runners continue to sign up and run in support of Francis House and the atmosphere in the city centre is always incredible. This year 50 runners from Siemens are taking part. Staff from the technology company based on Princess Road, Manchester will be taking on the 10k and the half marathon, intending to raise £8000 in donations for Francis House.

Other fundraising activities the Siemens employees voluntarily take part in, include bake sales, raffles, and a Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge.

Steve Aughton, Head of Sales at Siemens, and the chief Great Run organiser, said, “We’ve participated in the Great Run Manchester for the past 6 years but never with such numbers. There are 50 of us this year from across the business of all abilities.

“We selected Francis House because it is a wonderful charity. What they do each year is to support over 500 families from across Greater Manchester who are caring for a child with a short life expectancy. There’s no tougher challenge that I can think of than caring for a child with a terminal illness. We’re all desperate to raise lots of money to help.”

Donations can be made directly via Siemens Just Giving Page.

Francis House would like to thank Siemens and all the organisations and individuals who are running in support of the hospice in 2023!


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