Birmingham International Marathon

As I sat eating the best portion of McDonald’s chips ever, I publicly declared that I’d never attempt to complete another marathon.

The second half of my London Marathon hadn’t been very positive. At this stage of my running journey, running is meant to be challenging but enjoyable. The London Marathon was anything but enjoyable.

Never again!

On Thursday I discovered that The Great Run Company is in the process of organising a new event. The new event; the Birmingham International Marathon, will take place in October 2017. After a break of more than 30 years, the marathon will be returning to Birmingham next year. This left me with a dilemma. I was born in Birmingham, grew up in Birmingham and went to university in Birmingham. Although I’ve spent the last few years studying and living in London, I’m definitely a Brummie. I’m also a runner.

Injuries permitting I’ll be entering the Birmingham International Marathon when entries open later this year. I’ve got plenty of time to train for this marathon.

As I wanted some additional information for my blog, I got in contact with The Great Run Company who kindly sent the following press release:

Birmingham will join the great cities of the world by hosting a marathon running event.

To be staged for the first time in October 2017, the Birmingham International Marathon will cement the city’s position as the European Capital of Running.

The 26.2-mile event will be the inaugural run announced in a newly formed Great Run British Marathon Series, which will create three marathons in the UK.

Organised in partnership with Birmingham City Council by The Great Run Company, who stage the world’s biggest half marathon the Great North Run, the Great Manchester Run and the Great South Run, the Birmingham International Marathon will aim to help raise the standard of marathon running in the UK.

Birmingham 1Runners running past the Bullring – Photograph provided by The Great Run Company

From a previous position of power – Britain was the dominant force in marathon running in the 1960s – standards have been largely in decline, with just five male athletes breaking the 2.20 barrier in 2007, and only eight dipping under 2.30.

Aside from the seven times over-subscribed London Marathon, there are a lack of world-class marathon events in the UK and organisers have an ambition to make the Birmingham International Marathon the leading autumn event in the UK.

Research carried out by The Great Run Company identified from a survey of more than 10,000 people that 73% of current Great Run participants would be interested in running a marathon in the Midlands.

The 2017 Birmingham International Marathon, which will also feature the half-marathon event, will start at Alexander Stadium, home of UK Athletics, before taking in iconic landmarks in Bournville, Cannon Hill Park and Edgbaston, before finishing in the heart of the city centre.

Birmingham 2Runners running past Edgbaston Cricket Ground – Photograph provided by The Great Run Company

There is an ambition that the Birmingham International Marathon will be used as the trials for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Mark Hollinshead, Great Run Company chief executive, said: “Birmingham is long established as a centre of running in the United Kingdom with its huge network of club runners, the British Athletics Inter Counties Cross Country Championships and the success of our own Great Birmingham 10K and Great Birmingham Run.

“The Birmingham International Marathon will become a huge celebration of running for all, offering an ideal opportunity to improve the strength and depth of British marathon running.

“As with all the world class events we deliver, not only will this be a great event for British elite runners, we will also aim to attract runners of all abilities from the UK and beyond, to run for charity, for the challenge or just for fun.

“This will be a celebration of all that’s great about Birmingham.”

I just hope that the organisers don’t charge an extortionate amount for runners to enter the marathon. From reading comments on Fetcheveryone and on the Runner’s World forums, other runners have the same concern. It currently costs £35 to enter the Great Birmingham Run, will the marathon cost double? This is Birmingham not London. I would love to see a discount for runners based in the Birmingham area.

**update: the Birmingham International Marathon costs £55 to enter**

A reminder service is now open at with general entries opening in Autumn 2016.

Do you think a marathon in Birmingham will be a success?

Are there too many autumn marathons?

Why has the standard of British marathon running declined in recent years?


2 thoughts on “Birmingham International Marathon

  1. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    I think it’s great that there are more marathons appearing-the Bournemouth one has been going a few years now and seems popular. I still don’t see the appeal of London- I would much rather enter than have to go through a ballot- partly why I chose Brighton last year. So many people do more than one marathon a year, plus there are people aiming for 100 marathons so I’m sure it will do well.
    I don’t know much about Birmingham though- I went to Cadbury world when I was younger but I don’t think I’ve been to the centre at all. If it’s the same people as Manchester, better hope they measure the course and sort the bag drop – that would put me off more than the price I think.


    • Emma says:

      I think it’s time we had a few more marathons, you never know one might eventually become as popular as London. I’ve reached the point of not entering ballots, I never seem to have much luck and would rather know exactly which events I’m running.
      I don’t know that much about the centre of Birmingham but do know the marathon course is likely to be quite challenging. I’ve never been to Cadbury’s World!
      Hopefully the team behind the Birmingham International Marathon will learn from the mistakes made by the organisers of the Manchester Marathon…


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