One of the biggest sporting events Birmingham has ever staged will take place this weekend.
The EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon will be held on Sunday and will see nearly 9,000 runners and thousands more spectators lining the streets.
Dozens of roads will be closed for most of the day and traffic diversions set up. But the organisers, Birmingham City Council, say they are confident the city’s roads network can cope with the chaos.
The 13-mile race starts at Alexander Stadium at 9.30am and will weave its way into the city centre and out again through Edgbaston and parts of Harborne before finishing via Broad Street in Centenary Square.
It is the first time the event has been held and organisers had only expected around 5,000 entrants so were delighted when almost 9,000 signed up.
Roads and traffic restrictions will begin around midnight on Saturday and will be fully implemented by 7am on Sunday. A regular shuttle bus service starting at 7am will ferry runners between the start and finish.
The vehicle access restrictions will be lifted at the following approximate times: 12 noon A34 Birmingham Alexander Stadium to Lancaster Circus, Ring Road New Town Row to Dartmouth Circus and other city centre streets.
At 2pm residential streets in Edgbaston will re-open, 3pm Hagley Road and Harborne Road will have their restrictios lifted, 3.30pm Broad Street Five Ways to Sheepcote Street will be open again and at 6pm Broad Street will be fully open.
A city council spokesman said: “The EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon is going to be a fantastic event for the city and we would like to encourage those people not taking part to line the route and cheer on the runners as they take on this 13 mile challenge.”
Coun Ray Hassall, Cabinet Member for Leisure Sport and Culture, has entered the event. He said: “We are delighted that so many people from the city and region have signed up as we have introduced this event in order to inspire local people to be more active.
“But we are also pleased we have attracted runners from not just across the country but also across the globe. Staging an event such as this is a great way of raising the profile of Birmingham and I hope that people from across the city will give visitors a warm welcome.”
* A total of 8,927 people signed up for the event, also known as the Race Against Climate Change.
* Two-thirds are from the West Midlands, with the rest from as far afield as America, Canada, Australia and Brazil.
* 70 per cent are male. The oldest entrant is 79, the youngest is 17.
* More than 1,000 are members of clubs affiliated to UK Athletics.
* The official charities are: the Birmingham Mail Charity Trust Fund, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Birmingham Lord Mayor Charities and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.