FORMER England football manager Steve McLaren has thrown his weight behind York’s first marathon, as entries for the event top 3,500.

The number was reached in just over 24 hours after the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon’s official launch at Clifford’s Tower in York on Tuesday. Organisers were “thrilled” with the deluge of entries from across the UK, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, the USA and even the Bahamas.

With only 1,500 places left, York-born Mr McClaren, who manages Dutch team FC Twente, has urged people to enter before they run out.

Mr McClaren, a celebrity ambassador for the York event, said: “Coming from York, I am delighted that my home city will play host to the first-ever Yorkshire Marathon.

“Not only will people conquer massive personal challenges at this event, it will also raise a huge amount of vital funds for charities up and down the country.

“This is an exciting time for the people of Yorkshire.”

The October 20 event is being organised by a new company under the Jane Tomlinson’s For All Events umbrella – set up as a legacy to Jane, who raised almost £2m for charity despite being diagnosed with incurable cancer.

Mike Tomlinson, who heads up the organisation bearing his wife’s name, said: “It’s phenomenal – we’re really humbled by the level of interest in the new Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. We knew it would be popular, but this is just sensational.

“It was always our hope this would become the biggest marathon in the North and judging by people’s appetite for it, we’re well on our way to achieving that.”

Celebrity supporter Alastair Campbell, himself a keen runner, said today: “Jane Tomlinson was an incredible woman who showed astonishing courage in the face of such a dreadful illness.

“She was an inspiration to many people, which is clear to see with more than 3,500 people signing up for the marathon in little over 24 hours. That is just fantastic.

“I know the marathon will be a huge success, both in terms of being an amazing run, but also in bringing in a huge amount of money for charity.”

Runners can choose 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.

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