Bupa Great Run success

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The Bupa Great Run Series of mass participation running events organised by Nova International, one of the UK's leading event management and sports marketing agencies, has enjoyed a record–breaking year in 2011, with over 180,000 runners taking part and the introduction of the first ever Bupa Great Birmingham Run over the half–marathon distance.

The addition of the Birmingham run brought the total of Bupa Great Run events to eight this year, including the Bupa Great North Run, the worlds biggest half–marathon; the Bupa Great Manchester Run, the UKs biggest 10k and the Bupa Great South Run, the worlds leading 10–mile run which closed the 2011 series on 30 October. Meanwhile, the series benefitted from an increase in television coverage with six events broadcast live this year on terrestrial television via the BBC and Channel Five. In total, the series received over 25 hours of airtime on UK television, with live coverage on the BBC and Channel Five, plus further highlights broadcast on ITV4 and Sky Sports The elite races attracted a bumper crop of world–class athletes, such as the Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, widely regarded as the greatest distance runner in history, who won both the Bupa Great Manchester Run and the Bupa Great Birmingham Run; Great Britains Mo Farah, world 5000m champion and winner of the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross–Country, and Helen Clitheroe, European indoor 3, 000 metre champion and the first woman home in the Bupa Great Manchester Run. Four of the Bupa Great Run events reached full–capacity, including the inaugural Bupa Great Birmingham Run. However, the flagship of the series remains the Bupa Great North Run, which was staged for the 31st time in 2011, generating an estimated economic impact of over £22m for Newcastle. A BBC television audience of over two million followed the progress of 54, 000 elite, club and fun runners in the Bupa Great North Run, who were cheered on by an estimated record crowd of 150, 000 lining the route. With the exception of Birmingham, the events have all been complemented by Bupa Mini and Junior Great Runs – 1. 5km or 2. 5km races which were tackled by a total of over 14, 000 children between the ages of three and 16. All together, runners collectively raised approximately £50m for over 500 charities, including the Jon Egging Trust, which was launched at the Bupa Great North Run by Dr Emma Egging, in memory of her husband, Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, the Red Arrows pilot killed following an air display earlier this year. Celebrities including Hugh Dennis Nell McAndrew, Sophie Raworth and a host of other famous faces have also pounded the streets at this years Bupa Great Run events to champion worthy causes. Bupa sponsored the series for the 19th consecutive year, with other partners including Aqua Pura, the official hydration partner; Powerade ION4, the official energy drink; the Daily Mirror Group and ASICS, the official sportswear and running shoe supplier. Brendan Foster, chairman of Nova International, said: Its been another record–breaking year for the Bupa Great Run Series, the highlight of which for me has been Haile Gebreselassie winning two of our events, delighting the runners and crowds alike, especially in Birmingham where our first event in the city was a great success. Were now looking forward to 2012, which promises to be another landmark year for Nova, as well as for sport in the UK.

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