To be staged for the first time in October 2017, the Birmingham International Marathon will cement the city’s position as the European Capital of Running.
The 26.2-mile event will be the inaugural run announced in a newly formed Great Run British Marathon Series, which will create three marathons in the UK.
Organised in partnership with Birmingham City Council by The Great Run Company, who stage the world’s biggest half marathon, the Great North Run, the Great Manchester Run and the Great South Run, the Birmingham International Marathon will aim to help raise the standard of marathon running in the UK.
From a previous position of power – Britain was the dominant force in marathon running in the 1960s – standards have been largely in decline, with just five male athletes breaking the 2.20 barrier in 2007, and only eight dipping under 2.30.
Aside from the seven times over-subscribed London Marathon, there are a lack of world-class marathon events in the UK and organisers have an ambition to make the Birmingham International Marathon the leading autumn event in the UK.
Research carried out by The Great Run Company identified from a survey of more than 10,000 people that 73% of current Great Run participants would be interested in running a marathon in the Midlands.
The 2017 Birmingham International Marathon, which will also feature the half-marathon event, will start at Alexander Stadium, home of UK Athletics, before taking in iconic landmarks in Bournville, Cannon Hill Park and Edgbaston, before finishing in the heart of the city centre.
There is an ambition that the Birmingham International Marathon will be used as the trials for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Mark Hollinshead, Great Run Company chief executive, said: “Birmingham is long established as a centre of running in the United Kingdom with its huge network of club runners, the British Athletics Inter Counties Cross Country Championships and the success of our own Great Birmingham 10K and Great Birmingham Run.
“The Birmingham International Marathon will become a huge celebration of running for all, offering an ideal opportunity to improve the strength and depth of British marathon running.
“As with all the world class events we deliver, not only will this be a great event for British elite runners, we will also aim to attract runners of all abilities from the UK and beyond, to run for charity, for the challenge or just for fun.
“This will be a celebration of all that’s great about Birmingham.”
Steve Hollingworth, Assistant Director for Sport, Events and Parks at Birmingham City Council, said: “We are delighted that the Great Run Company has chosen Birmingham to stage an international marathon.
“It will encourage more residents to become physically active and have access to a full complement of running events in the city.
“A marathon will also bring additional economic value, will raise the city’s profile and reinforce our ambition to be the European Capital of Running.”
A reminder service is now open at www.greatrun.org/reminderservice with general entries open in autumn 2016.