Final preparations are under way for the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in partnership with Clarion – a day that will once again put the city firmly in the national and international sporting spotlight.
More than 12,000 runners will take to Leeds’s streets this Sunday (May 14) for the event, being held in honour of rugby league legend and motor neurone disease campaigner Rob Burrow.
The marathon is being staged by Leeds City Council and the not-for-profit sporting events company Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All, with the organising team working hard over recent months to ensure local residents are aware of the various traffic and travel arrangements that will be in place on the 14th.
And, as the big day draws ever nearer, people in Leeds are once again being asked to plan ahead and check out the potential impact of the event on any journeys they might be making in the city.
Starting and ending at Headingley Stadium, the marathon will follow a route around the north west of Leeds and areas such as Woodhouse Moor, West Park, Adel, Bramhope, Lawnswood, Pool in Wharfedale and Otley.
Organisers are anticipating a celebratory atmosphere, with musicians performing at various points along the course and members of the public being invited to turn out and cheer on the runners as they pound their way through some of the city’s most picturesque communities and countryside.
Around 700 volunteers will be on hand to help with the day’s proceedings, while – in a sign of the marathon’s global reach – entrants are coming from as far afield as the USA, Canada, Kuwait, New Zealand and China.
The scale of the event – both in terms of the numbers running and expected spectators – means a major programme of road closures and other traffic measures is required to make sure all goes smoothly and safely.
Road closures on St Michael’s Lane in Headingley will be in force from 4am on Sunday 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.
The marathon itself begins at 9am, with affected roads along the route due to 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 access details for individual areas – can be found here.
People travelling to Headingley can 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.
The Leeds Half Marathon is also taking place this Sunday – start time 10am – and will follow much of the same route as the marathon.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education, said; “The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon promises to be a spectacular day for our city and, after so many months of planning and anticipation, we are really excited that it is nearly here.
“As one of the thousands of people who will be taking part, I know how much this event means to both the running community and Leeds as a whole.
“If you haven’t done so already, then please do find the time over the next few days to familiarise yourself with the relevant traffic and travel plans. Residents can be assured that we will be doing all we can to keep disruption to a minimum.
“Leeds has a proud track record of successfully staging big sporting events and, together with Run For All, we’re looking forward to hosting another occasion to remember.”
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.
Leeds Rhinos great Rob was diagnosed with MND in 2019 and since then has won admiration and acclaim thanks to his tireless work to increase awareness of the condition.
His example has in turn inspired 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 achievements were recognised by the council earlier this year when they were given the freedom of Leeds, the city’s highest civic honour.
Mike Tomlinson, chief executive of Run For All, said; “From the moment that the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon was announced, we have been truly humbled and overwhelmed by the fundraising efforts.
“We were delighted to announce recently that over £1m has already been raised for various charities and this total will continue to rise over the coming days.
“The awareness that Kevin and Rob have raised for the MND Association through various challenges is truly inspirational.
“We hope that the biggest running event that the city has ever held will bring it one step closer to opening the new Rob Burrow Centre for MND, as well as benefit other truly deserving charities who will be represented by the courageous participants and volunteers on Sunday.”