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Charity runners gather on Ipswich Waterfront to launch Simplyhealth Great East Run 2018

PUBLISHED: 13:44 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:37 08 February 2018

£1m was raised for good causes by runners who took part in the 2017 half marathon event last year.  L-R Clare Jackson, Ruth Coomber, Giles Marcow, Rob Harvey and Daryl Simpson.   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

£1m was raised for good causes by runners who took part in the 2017 half marathon event last year. L-R Clare Jackson, Ruth Coomber, Giles Marcow, Rob Harvey and Daryl Simpson. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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The half marathon, due to take place in Ipswich on Sunday September 17, will see 3,500 runners take on a 13.1 mile challenge.

Giles Marcow,  from Newmarket.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNGiles Marcow, from Newmarket. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A group of runners, councillors and charity fundraisers gathered at Ipswich Waterfront today to launch this year’s Simplyhealth Great East Run.

A number of enthusiastic fundraisers were present, including 50-year-old Giles Macrow from Newmarket, who has lost 11 stone since 2016 after taking up running to combat his depression and poor health.

Mr Macrow said he has transformed from a “48-year-old playing on an Xbox for eight years”, to a healthy 13 stone marathon runner thanks to ditching his bad habits and getting active.

After he began dieting with Slimming World in 2015, Mr Macrow went on to get involved with the Gherkin Challenge in London, the popular Couch to 5k programme, a number of Park Runs, and three half marathons over the course of six weeks at the end of last year - all while holding down a full-time job.

Charity fundraisers from across Suffolk have launched the  2018 Simplyhealth Great East Run.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCharity fundraisers from across Suffolk have launched the 2018 Simplyhealth Great East Run. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

He said: “I love the headspace you get from running. At the weekend I did a 16-mile practise run, and that’s three hours out on the road so you have a lot to think about. The idea is you think about it in your head rather than the pain in your legs!”

Mr Macrow is taking on the Great East Run for the first time this year to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Organisers also announced that participants of the Great East Run raised £1m for charity in 2017, a figure which this year’s budding runners are keen to beat.

Councillor Tony Goldson, Cabinet Member for Health at Suffolk County Council, said: “It’s fantastic that participants raised a million pounds last year, supporting both local and national charities, whilst achieving their own personal goals.

“Mass participation events such as the Simplyhealth Great East Run deliver numerous benefits for Suffolk and I am delighted that this also includes our local charities.”

The event will start and finish in Ipswich town centre and follow the same popular route as last year, with participants heading out from Russell Road and passing the prestigious Willis building in Ipswich city centre, before heading towards the town’s waterfront.

The route then goes past Felaw Maltings on the way out and back along Wherstead Road, where participants will twice pass under the Orwell Bridge.

On returning to Ipswich town centre, runners will pass over the Wet Dock lock gates and continue along the waterfront for a second time before crossing the finish line in Ipswich Town FC’s complex.

Demand for the 2018 event has been extremely high, with less than 1,000 places remaining.

To sign up for the Simplyhealth Great East Run, go to www.greatrun.org/east.

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