Plan ahead – that’s the message to people in Leeds as the city gears up for one of its biggest-ever sporting events.
More than 12,000 runners are set to take part in the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in partnership with Clarion on Sunday, May 14.
Organised by Leeds City Council and the not-for-profit sporting events company Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, the marathon will raise funds for a string of good causes, including the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association and a Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build a Rob Burrow Centre for MND.
As is normal for an event of this size, a major programme of road closures and other traffic measures will be required to ensure the day passes off smoothly and safely.
The council and Run For All have been working hard over recent months to make sure residents and visitors alike are aware of the disruption they may face on the city’s roads come the 14th.
And, as the countdown continues to the event, the organising team has now reminded people that a little advance planning will go a long way when it comes to making journeys around Leeds on race day.
The marathon will start and end at Headingley Stadium, with runners following a circular route around the north west of the city that will take them through communities such as Woodhouse Moor, West Park, Adel, Bramhope, Lawnswood, Pool in Wharfedale and Otley. The Leeds Half Marathon, also taking place on May 14, will use much of the same route.
Road closures on St Michael’s Lane in Headingley will be in force from 4am on the 14th and are due to be lifted by 6.30pm.
Closures are scheduled to kick in from 7.30am elsewhere in Headingley, 8am around Lawnswood, 8.30am around Adel and Bramhope and 9am around Otley and Pool in Wharfedale.
Affected roads along the route will be reopened on a rolling basis through the day as soon as it is safe to do so.
Further road closure information – including a list of vehicle crossing points and printable leaflets giving access details for individual areas – can be found here.
People travelling to Headingley – either to take part in the race or cheer on the runners – are being encouraged to use special park & ride and shuttle services that will be operating from sites including Elland Road and Stourton. There will be no dedicated event parking in Headingley on the day.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said:
“The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon is set to be a wonderful occasion for the city and we are working hard with Run For All to make sure it is the best day possible.
“Organising an event of this scale is a massive undertaking, and the road closures and park & ride services are an important part of our wider preparations to ensure that everything goes safely and smoothly.
“Please do take the time over the next fortnight to see how you might be affected so you have the opportunity, if needed, to tweak your journey plans.
“Residents can rest assured that we will be doing all we can to keep disruption to a minimum, and we thank them in advance for the patience and understanding I’m sure they will show as Leeds takes its place once again in the national and international sporting spotlight.”
Tristan Batley-Kyle, operations director at Run For All, said; “For an event of this scale, significant road closures will be required. We are working in partnership with Leeds City Council, emergency services and multi-agency planning groups to make sure the event is operated safely and securely.
“Some road closures will be put in place to ensure the safety of the participants and spectators. We would like to thank all residents for their understanding and we apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused. Please be assured that all closures will be lifted as soon as possible.”
The marathon is being held in honour of Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow, whose name has become synonymous with bravery and selflessness thanks to his efforts to raise funds and awareness for all those affected by MND since he was diagnosed with the condition in 2019.
That example has in turn spurred on his friend and former Rhinos team-mate Kevin Sinfield to raise millions of pounds for MND-related causes by tackling a series of endurance challenges.
The pair’s remarkable achievements were recognised by the council earlier this year when they were given the freedom of Leeds, the city’s highest civic honour.