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Why the Great East Run is such exciting news for Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 10:59 25 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:21 25 January 2017

Runners taking part in the Great North Run in Newcastle last year. The first ever Great East Run will take place on September 24 this year

Runners taking part in the Great North Run in Newcastle last year. The first ever Great East Run will take place on September 24 this year

PA Wire

It’s a huge coup for Ipswich to be chosen as the home for the first ever Great East Run - an event which will attract national attention.

The course map of the Great East Run Ipswich 2017. Pic: The Great Run Company. The course map of the Great East Run Ipswich 2017. Pic: The Great Run Company.

For anyone with the remotest interest in running, this will be the most exciting race we’ve ever had in Suffolk.

And even if you have no interest, it will be hard to ignore the positive impact and feelgood factor.

It’s brought to us by The Great Run Company, the same organisation behind the world-famous Great North Run. Ever watched that on television? It’s a wonderful spectacle, involving more than 50,000 runners.

People travel from all over the country to be involved, and if you’ve ever run it, you’ll know the wonderful atmosphere it creates. It’s a great display of human spirit.

The Great East Run will start on a smaller scale, but it’s a race which will grow over the years.

Like the Great North Run, it will be over half marathon distance. And here’s a key thing - the course is fantastic.

Anyone who ran the previous Ipswich Half Marathon will know it was challenging with plenty of hills.

But the new GER course will be fast. It is based largely in the centre of town and the waterfront - it’s largely flat, with one hill of note when the race travels out under the Orwell Bridge towards Freston.

It’s important to note that one of the key reasons Ipswich will host this event is because of the brilliant work of Ipswich JAFFA Running Club in recent years.

It has shown the ambition and desire to stage big races, and had huge success with the half marathon and Twilight races - supremely well-organised events, made possible by the hard work from so many volunteers. And, in particular, race director Carl Ashton.

These have laid the groundwork for the GER, and Ipswich now has the confidence to put on a race of this size. JAFFA will again be at the heart of organisation.

Of course it will lead to some disruption on the day, but I’d urge people to work through those problems and recognise what a brilliant thing this will be for Ipswich and Suffolk.

Sign up to the race here.

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