HUNDREDS of runners will take part in York’s first Brass Monkey Half Marathon in two years this Sunday.

The event, now in its 39th year and with 1,700 places available, had to be cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

Organisers have decided it can go ahead in 2022 despite the Omicron variant recently causing a massive surge in York’s Covid rate.

However, a number of changes have been made to the usual format to keep everyone safe.

Runners need to test negative on a lateral flow test and have no signs or symptoms of the coronavirus before going along to the start outside York Racecourse.

To help with social distancing, the start pens have been elongated and places/prizes will be based on ‘chip time, not gun time’ and, just before 10 am, marshals will begin walking the runners onto the road towards the start line.

Organisers say they also won’t be hosting a cafe, or have an official bag drop or any changing facilities this year.

Some runners have told on Facebook of their disappointment at not being able to run after recently testing positive for the coronavirus.

One runner posted that they were ‘gutted,’ as they were now unable to run because they were still recovering from Covid.

“Another posted: “Just had a positive pcr this morning for Covid. Still hoping to run but guess depends how I feel once I have recovered. Obviously it’s only two weeks away so it doesn’t give me much time to recover.”

This year, for the first time, there will be seven race pacers supplied by Northern Pacing Volunteers, at running pace times of1h20, 1h30, 1h40, 1h50, 2h00, 2h10, and 2h20, with runners asked to leave a bit of space around them to allow for social distancing.

The road race will take its usual route through Bishopthorpe, Acaster, Selby and Appleton Roebuck and back to the racecourse, with a number of road closures in place, affecting Main Street, Bishopthorpe, Appleton Road, Moor Lane to Northmoor Gate, Broad Lane to Temple Lane, Broad Lane, Beechlands and Bishopthorpe Road from the projected south eastern property boundary of the former Terry’s Factory.

The ban on traffic and parking will apply for much of the route only between 9.45am and 1pm on Sunday.

But in a section of Bishopthorpe Road, the prohibition will be in effect between 09.30am and 10.30am on Sunday, while in Main Street, Bishopthorpe, the prohibition on parking will run from 4pm on Saturday to 1pm on Sunday.

*The forecast for Sunday does not currently look like ‘Brass Monkey weather’, with BBC Weather in association with MeteoGroup predicting a maximum temperature of 8C, light cloud and a gentle breeze, and the Met Office expecting cloud and a maximum of 7C.