YORK is to have its own annual marathon, in memory of the late charity fundraiser Jane Tomlinson.
The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon - which will have 5,000 places - will be held for the first time in October this year and will take in the city centre and the Minster as well as surrounding villages.
The event will be launched today by Yorkshire celebrities including cricket legend Dickie Bird, TV football pundit Chris Kamara and double Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft.
The marathon will be held in memory of fundraiser and campaigner Jane, who raised almost £2 million for charity by tackling a series of endurance challenges despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Jane's widower Mike Tomlinson said it would become a major highlight of the UK's sporting calendar and is expected to raise up to £500,000 for charities in its first year.
He said: "It's taken a huge amount of planning but we think it will be really special. In York we have a city with amazingly spectacular scenery, but one that is also extremely flat which should make for a really fast course.
"I know it will be extremely popular because there is still that great feeling of the Olympic legacy. Look at all Yorkshire achieved in the 2012 Games. There is no doubt that Yorkshire is exactly the place to launch a new marathon."
The York event, which will take place on October 20, will be organised by Jane Tomlinson's For All Events, which already runs the York, Hull, Leeds and Pennine-Lancashire 10Ks and the Leeds Half Marathon.
Frank Holden, vice president of Knavesmire Harriers, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea that York could have a marathon and that it does show the city and the surrounding villages in a fitting manner.
"I think it’s a cracking idea and I wish them the best of luck. I have no doubt it will be supported by a number of marathon runners in the city. It’s a lovely city and I hope people nationwide support it.”
Neil Hunter, chair of York Athletics Club, said: “It’s brilliant and the more people that participate in sport the better. Hopefully some of the income generated from such a fantastic event will go towards all community sport in the city.”
Runners will be able to raise funds for any cause of their choice or one of the event's partner charities - Martin House Children's Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Parkinson's UK, the Haven, Clic Sargent, Candlelighters, St Leonard's Hospice, Sue Ryder Care and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.
Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: York was the perfect setting for long-distance runners and said York would benefit from the “legacy and economic impact” of the run.
She said: “The participants, their supporters and families can be assured of a warm welcome to our city.”
The marathon will start at the University of York, before heading into the city centre, through Walmgate Bar, towards Parliament Street and past the Minster.
Runners will leave the city via Monk Bar and will go out of the North East of the city and through villages in North and East Yorkshire, including Stamford Bridge and then back to the university.