This weekend’s Therme Manchester Marathon will see athletes competing in the trial race for the chance to represent England at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

The race is also hosting the British Athletics marathon trial for the 2022 European Athletics Championships in Munich and the British Athletics 50k trial for the 2022 European 50k Championships in Avila, Spain.

The elite start list includes over 100 athletes making it the strongest in the race’s history and athletes will be searching for automatic finishing places and the various England Commonwealth standards of 2:14:00 for men and 2:34:00 for women and British Standard for the European Championships of 2:14:30 for men and 2:32:00 for women.

Mitchell and Briggs lead women’s field

Naomi Mitchell of Reading AC is expected to be a leading contender for the race. Mitchell caught the eye of athletics fans when she finished as second Brit at the 2019 London Elite Marathon in 2:33:23. Mitchell has been in fine recent form representing England at the Granollers Half Marathon before going on to set a half marathon PB of 71:52 at Wokingham Half.

Becky Briggs (Hull AC) is set for her third marathon after a fine 2:34:34 at the London Marathon in October. The under 23 athlete represented Great Britain at the 2020 World Half Marathon Championships.

Last year’s winner Anna Bracegirdle (Salford Harriers) returns to the race in excellent form after a recent 32:52 at Trafford 10km and she is joined on the start list by Rio Olympian Sonia Samuels who recently won the 2021 JCP Swansea Half Marathon.

Georgina Schwiening claimed a fine 3rd place at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in 2021 representing England. The Cambridge based athlete has extensive experience with the marathon distance and could be a name to watch.

Close men’s race expected

Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers) arrives at the race in great form on the back of setting a half marathon PB of 62:20 at the Seville Half in February. With a PB of 2:10:03 Mellor will be one of the favourites.

Irish Olympian Kevin Seaward will undoubtedly be amongst the leading athletes as he searches for the Irish Commonwealth Games standard of 2:13:00. Seaward finished 4th at the Commonwealth Games marathon on the Gold Coast in 2018.

Derek Hawkins (Kilbarchan) is a name which catches the eye on the start list. The Olympian and top 10 finisher at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has a best of 2:12:49 set in 2019.

Rio Olympian Ross Millington (Stockport) is an athlete with huge experience. A controlled performance of 65:14 at the Wilmslow Half Marathon two weeks ago suggests he is another name to watch.

Two more exciting debutants will be Paulos Surafel (Thames Valley Harriers), who set a big PB of 61:51 at the recent Ghent Half Marathon, and Andrew Heyes (Hallamshire) who will be taking his extensive experience from the half marathon distance to the full marathon for the first time.

A course for first timers, PB seekers and elites

CEO of Human Race, Nick Rusling, said;

“The Manchester Marathon is famous for being flat – for PBs, first timers, and now for the Commonwealth Games and European Championship trials. We’ve been working closely with England and British Athletics to stage this really important day for our finest home grown marathon talent. We can’t wait.”

The elite athletes will race at the head of a mass field of over 24,000 runners. Volunteers from clubs across the North West will be playing an essential role in ensuring runners have a wonderful day, from marshalling to drinks stations and much more.

England Athletics Road Running Manager Tom Craggs said “we are really excited to see a really strong elite field competing on Sunday. Thank you to the Therme Manchester Marathon for their work in hosting three trial races.”

The 2022 Therme Manchester Marathon takes place on Sunday 3rd April starting at 09:00. A live stream can be found on the race’s website. The full elite field can be seen here.