RUNNERS tackling this year’s Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon are sure to have their spirits lifted thanks to the efforts of a high-fiving vicar.

Since the race’s launch in 2013, thousands of runners have been spurred on by the encouragement of the villagers of Stockton-on-the-Forest and their vicar, Rev Canon Terry Joyce, whose high-fiving of the participants as they pass through the village has become one of the event’s many highlights.

Terry will be offering his support again this year, joined by a curate colleague Debbie Coyne in spurring the runners on.

Terry, associate vicar of a group of parishes that includes Stockton-on-the-Forest, said: “When the marathon started in 2013, we realised that the 10.30am church service in the village would be affected, so my then colleague, Rev Annie Borthwick, suggested we all meet outside to cheer the runners and then have a short service afterwards.

“We continue that tradition. The marathon is such a highlight of the year that we want to be involved cheering, encouraging and blessing the participants, thanking them for their efforts and praying for them.

York Press:

“It’s great that we can high-five so many people, but we also have a banner which says ‘Stockton Church praying for you’ and that is literally what we do as we go into church afterwards, mindful that by then, many runners will be hitting the most challenging sections of the course.

“Whatever motivates the runners to take part, completing a marathon is an honourable sacrifice and achievement and for us it’s a privilege to support such a fantastic community event. We’ll definitely be there again cheering everyone on.”

One competitor who appreciates the support is the Revd Nick Bird, vicar of the east York group of parishes and Yorkshire Marathon regular. He is running again this year.

Yorkshire Marathon event manager Charlie Tatman said: “It is fantastic that the Revd Joyce and the residents of Stockton-on-the-Forest have embraced the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon so warmly. Their support has become a great feature of the event and I know the runners are grateful for such wonderful encouragement.”

This year’s marathon, which starts and finish at the University of York, is on October 9. and is part of the legacy of the late Jane Tomlinson, who raised nearly £2 million by completing a series of daunting challenges despite being diagnosed with incurable cancer.

While this year’s event is a complete sell-out for the fourth time, entries are now open for the 2017 Yorkshire Marathon pre-sale, the best way of getting a place in the event.

People can get themselves on the event’s 2017 pre-sale register by visiting They will then have exclusive access to places 24 hours before they go on general sale on October 11.