Runners from across the world will descend on Merseyside this weekend when the RunLiverpool Marathon is held on Sunday 14th October.
Entrants from as far as Brazil and Australia will take on the 26 mile course.
JMU Journalism Senior Editor Hugh O’Connell is coming over from Ireland for his second Liverpool Marathon, and Vegard Grott, who filmed our coverage last year, is flying in from Norway to take part this time.
The race will start at 9.30am in Birkenhead Park and covers 12 miles of Wirral roads, two miles of the Queensway tunnel and 12 miles of Liverpool roads with runners eventually finishing in front of Mann Island.
The event returned to Merseyside in 2011 after an absence of 19 years.
Race Director Alan Rothwell told JMU Journalism: “2012 has proved more difficult than expected with numbers down on year one with fewer local runners but more from outside the Merseyside area. This is a clear indication that the medium to long term growth will come from outside the Merseyside area.
“The five year plan is to attract 20,000 runners from across the world.”
This year will see a new 10k event will be added to the day for those who do not quite feel up to attempting the full marathon distance.
“While most people will be inspired by the efforts of those taking part in the marathon, it is clearly not for everyone.
“With this in mind, the marathon event has introduced a 10k element to attract recreational runners who may be off by the challenge of the marathon but would like to experience the atmosphere of the day – without the ultimate challenge of 26.2 miles.
“The idea is to send the 10K runners away with a sense that perhaps they could do the marathon in subsequent years.”
Mr Rothwell is confident that the marathon can continue to grow and attract participants across the globe.
“The Marathon has been deliberately positioned in October as an autumn marathon given the dominance of the London Marathon and as such attracted 8,500 runners in 2011. This made it the biggest marathon north of London!
“It has significant potential for growth because of what the city has become – a major tourist attraction. There isn’t a marathon in the world let alone the U.K. that will challenge London so the ultimate aim for the event is to be the first marathon that people look to do after London.
“The marathon provides a captivating day for runners and spectators alike. With good local transport links between the start and finish, excellent vantage points along the way and a finish on a World Heritage Site, not many other marathons can claim to deliver a backdrop as compelling as Liverpool,” he said.
From around 4am on race morning a traffic management plan will be put in place for the safety and consideration of runners and those using roads in close proximity to the marathon route.