Runners taking part in the Yorkshire Marathon can look forward to some truly heavenly support on Sunday 8th October!
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is to join the event’s famous ‘High Fiving Vicar’, the Revd Canon Terry Joyce in cheering on and praying for the participants.
Revd Canon Joyce will be in his usual spot at near mile six at Stockton-on-the-Forest, while the Archbishop will be lending his support at miles 17 and 19 as runners pass through Dunnington.
The Revd Canon Joyce has become a familiar feature of the Marathon, as since its launch in 2013, he has spurred on thousands of runners in their marathon efforts. Participants famously file past Stockton Church, patiently waiting to ‘high five’ the supportive clergyman.
For the first time, the Archbishop has also pledged to celebrate the runners near Dunnington. The Archbishop will be in the village as part of a weekend of mission in the area. Following the Sunday morning service there at 10.30am, Dr Sentamu and the congregation will walk down to Stamford Bridge Road to cheer on the marathon participants.
Archbishop Sentamu said: “I’d like to send my very best wishes to all the participants as they prepare for their marathon endeavour. It is a huge undertaking and I know that many will be raising funds for charity as they take on this most remarkable of challenges.
“I’m looking forward to seeing as many runners as possible on the day and cheering them on as they reach what can be the most difficult part of a marathon.”
The Archbishop will be in the area until around 1pm to mingle with and speak to spectators, too.
Revd Canon Joyce, associate vicar of a group of parishes that includes Stockton-on-the-Forest, said: “We started this tradition in 2013, with the very first Yorkshire Marathon, when we realised the Sunday service would be affected.
“The church members decided to gather outside to encourage and support the runners, before gathering for our service to pray for them and all their efforts as they continue the run. The high-fiving seems to have caught on!
“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.
“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 always appreciates the support is the Revd Nick Bird, Rector of the Rural East York group of parishes and a Yorkshire Marathon regular. Nick is running again in 2017.
Yorkshire Marathon Event Manager Lynne Preston said: “It is fantastic that Revd Canon Joyce – and now the Archbishop of York – are so supportive of the event.
“Our runners always talk about our famous ‘high-fiving vicar’ and even queue up to make sure they don’t miss out.
“I’m sure they will be thrilled to be able to get similar support from the Archbishop later on the route.”
This year’s marathon, which starts and finish at the University of York, is on Sunday October 8th and is part of the legacy of the late Jane Tomlinson, who raised nearly £2m 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 for the 2018 Yorkshire Marathon are set to open on Monday 2nd October.
More details can be found at www.theyorkshiremarathon.com.