Engineering group Sigma Precision Components has thrown down the gauntlet to city companies after winning last year's Great Birmingham Run Business Challenge.

The aerospace specialist, which has offices in the East Midlands, has put forward two teams for this year's half marathon as it aims to defend its Business Challenge title.

Sigma won the medium company category which is open to those businesses employing between 50 and 249 staff.

The Great Birmingham Run is one of the country's biggest half marathons with more than 20,000 people expected to hit the streets on Sunday October 16 while thousands are expected at the Great Birmingham 10k on May 1.

Sigma director Tom Barrett explained it was "the buzz of taking part" last year which had inspired the search for new recruits.

"We are planning to enter two teams in the Great Birmingham Run. They will be a running team and a finishing team," he said.

"We are trying to double our entrants for 2016. The running team will be hoping to defend their title with another fast collective time.

"However, the buzz of taking part last year has inspired us all to continue training and also encourage new recruits for our finishing team. The finishing team will be runners with no history of running these events."

Supported by the Birmingham Post, Business Challenge teams must be a minimum of four people and a maximum of eight but companies can enter as many teams as they want in male, female or mixed-sex categories.

Mixed teams must have a minimum of two men and two women.

Team members must be 16 years of age or over on race day and placings are based on the accumulated first four finishing times in each team.

Any company that enters 12 or more employees will automatically receive a free, personalised engraved plaque in the name of the fastest runner in the team while winning teams will receive trophies.

Companies taking part in the Great Birmingham Run in October will also feature in a special collector's edition magazine featuring all Business Challenge entries.

Visit to enter the 10k Business Challenge on May 1 or to enter the Great Birmingham Run half marathon Business Challenge on October 16.

To enter the races as an individual, click here for the 10k and here for the half marathon.