The Manchester Marathon rocks up to the city centre and surrounding areas once again this weekend and we genuinely can’t wait.
More importantly, given that it’s not only one of the city’s biggest events of the year but the second-largest marathon in the UK after London and the fourth largest in Europe, there’s going to be plenty happening on the day and in the lead-up.
With that in mind, we thought we’d give a quick run-through of everything you can expect come Sunday. Whether you’re taking part or simply turning up to cheer on the runners from the sidelines, we want to make sure you know where to be and when, as well as how to make the most of the day.
How about we start with what time it all kicks off?
2023 Manchester Marathon Timetable
It doesn’t matter what wave you’re in or what level of capability you are, we do things at our own peace around here, and with more than 28,000 people registered to take part on Sunday, 16 April, you can expect some serious numbers lining the streets of Greater Manchester to show their support.
That being said, if you want to know where you need to be either as a participant or as a punter, we’ve got your covered.
Onto the Manchester Marathon Route for 2023 itself and for those of you running it for the first time, you’ll be pleased to know it’s also the UK’s flattest major marathon — though we’re sure plenty of you knew that already.
Virtually the same as last year’s route only with a few slight tweaks to some of the turns, the run will see you start under the Trafford Arch, heading through the likes of Hulme on your way into the city centre and back down past Old Trafford, towards Stretford; then Sale, Timperely; all the way down to Altrincham before looping round to Baguley and Sale Moor, onto Chorlton-cum-Hardy and back to Old Trafford.
We feel it always helps to visualise the route, so it’s a good job the organisers have thought of that too:
Now, as you all know, several major roads running throughout the city and surrounding areas will be closed for prolonged periods on the day of the big run and whether you’re a local or travelling in from elsewhere, it’s worth knowing where you can be and where’s best to avoid too.
Lucky for you, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have plenty of useful travel advice for competitors, spectators and everyone else in the area this weekend, just simply check out their website.
For starters, it’s worth noting that public transport around Manchester and Trafford will be very busy before, during and after the race, with several bus services set to be diverted and even those not directly impacted by the marathon route may still be affected by displaced traffic and congestion.
It goes without saying that there will also be a significant number of road closures throughout Sunday as well. However, once again, the wonderful organisers have you covered; you can see the full list of closures HERE and they have even put together an interactive map for you to check what’s shut when:
People are also being advised to leave their cars at home where possible to avoid the busy roads, or to at least use the free park-and-ride services on the way into Manchester and travel to their destinations via our city’s wonderful tram network.
Metrolink will be operating a six-minute frequency on the Altrincham line with more double trams and increased capacity along various other lines too. That being said, services are expected to be extremely busy throughout the day, so if you can travel flexibly, the predicted quietest time to travel is after 4pm.
Once you’ve tapped on and tapped off, most fan corners, cheer zones and regular spots for supporters to gather together should only be a short walk away from your chosen tram stop.
Event Village, Entertainment and the Post-Race Party
Last but not least, aside from the incredible graft all of the wonderful runners are all going to put in over the 26.2 miles, marathon weekend is also about the fun, fanfare and festivities on show from start to finish and this year looks set to be bigger than ever.
Not only will those taking part being spurred on every step of the way by charitable organisations, choirs and live bands, as well as pumping music and cheer zones ran by groups from all over the UK at regular intervals, but this year’s Event Village has everything you will need before and after the race.
Located around the Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground, Event Village is where you’ll find the bag drop and running pack collection (available until 5pm Saturday, 15 April for anyone who did not receive their pack in the post), as well as food, drink, warm-down services, and where to pick up your post-race rewards, with plenty more music playing to celebrate your achievement.
For those staying in town for the event, the team have even put together a weekend guide to make sure you know where you can post up for the day, what’s on in Manchester from Friday to Sunday, where to eat and much, much more.
Drunk Histories: Project Halcyon Distillery launch ‘Still Room Sessions’ where you drink whilst learning about drinking
Project Halcyon Distillery is well and truly up there with our favourite new openings in Manchester city centre and after having enjoyed many unique visits already, the speakeasy-style bar is now offering up yet another interesting drinking experience: their ‘Still Room Sessions’.
There’s a lot to it and we’ll get to all that in due course but, put in simplest terms, it’s kind of a bit like if the TV show Drunk History and a tasting event had a baby. Sold.
Still Room Sessions are Project Halycon‘s brand new monthly interactive workshop experience which will be held on the second Sunday of every month.
Each month, a member of their award-winning bartending team — and trust us, they really are worthy of the recognition — will cover a completely new topic as they take guests through a guided talk on various aspects of the history and ongoing drinking culture behind drinking.
Now, before any of jump the gun and say ‘I don’t want a history lesson, I want a drink’, let us stop you right there; each session revolves around tasting various different cocktails and spirits for the bar’s incredible drinks selection, as well as specials that they create for events like this.
Tickets to one of Project Halcyon’s Still Room Sessions include a drink upon arrival, at least two cocktails during the sessions and a spirit tasting. Oh yes, you might have some trouble concentrating by the end but god knows you won’t be even more interested with a few drinks down you.
Also, it is worth reiterating that the subject matter the guys will be covering is genuinely interesting stuff, not just if you’re a history buff but a fan of drinking in general. In fact, we can personally vouch for that.
After going along to their first session in September, simply entitled, ‘A Century Later’ — an exploration of the effects of the infamous American prohibition 100 years on, its lasting impact on today’s drinking culture, bartending style, as well as how the whole idea of a speakeasy bar came about — we were hooked inside the first five minutes.
After being presented with a refreshing G and T on arrival, we were welcomed into the still room for our first couple of drinks, which came in the form of their irresistible Bees Knees cocktail (created exclusively for this first event) as well as a taste of their house gin. Strong start — literally.
Then, as we prepared for the second 30-minute segment of knowledge and knocking back a few, everyone received an Apple Blossom cocktail along with a taste of Calvados as a nod to both gin and the distilled type of cider being two of the most bootlegged spirits ever.
Finally, to tie things off, the last 10 minutes saw them open up the floor for a more casual discussion and Q&A of sorts, with people asking everything from ‘why do people shake instead of stir for certain cocktails?’ (that one’s for you, Mr Bond) to tips on how to make a proper drink at home.
Oh, and did we mention that everyone got 33% off their bill for the rest of the night? Oh yes, all 12 of us stayed behind to enjoy a few more drinks afterwards. We could hardly turn an offer like that down.
Their second session kicks off this weekend next week on Monday, 9 October, with ‘The Journey of Juniper‘, which will see the staff talk about the world of gins and its illustrious history.
Starting all the way back with Dutch genever and the bathtub gin craze of 18th century London, to newer, more modern style expressions, including their very own, made on sight in the back of house, guests won’t just be sat listening, they’ll also be taught how to make the perfect martini at home.
We’ve always believed in the importance of education…
We think this is a really exciting opportunity for guests to learn and interact with Halcyon’s already rich, culturally-infused drinking space. Each event is limited to just a dozen tickets, so these talks and tasting sessions really are exclusive. You can secure your place on the next one HERE.
A massive spooky outdoor ice rink is coming back to Manchester this Halloween
It’s time to dig out your scare skates, as Manchester will soon be home to one of the UK’s largest outdoor ice rinks yet again this Halloween.
As the nights begin to draw in and the air gets colder by the day, we all know that means the spooky season is just around the corner, right? And, of course, that also means it really won’t be long before a whole host of ghoulish monsters begin to take their place on top of the city centre‘s tallest buildings just in time for Halloween.
While the iconic MCR Monsters will, once again, take centre stage as part of the annual Halloween in the City event, they’re not the only returnees to the scene.
That’s right, Scare Skate is back – and there’s some new additions this year.
Just like it has many years before, Cathedral Gardens will become become home to Manchester’s – and one of the UK’s – largest outdoor ice rink for October half term, as Scare Skate sees Halloween fans and fear-loving families take to the ice for some “frightfully good fun”.
Skaters can expect Halloween-themed music, lighting, and lots of themed props to help “ignite the fright factor”, and not only that, but new for this year, a frightfully-realistic giant spider wrapped in bright-white LED lights will stand front and centre.
Always a highlight in the city’s spooky social calendar, fancy dress is encouraged, and skaters are invited to capture those all-important photo worthy moments on the ice.
“Halloween is an integral part of the Manchester calendar, and we’re thrilled to see Scare Skate play an important part in the city celebrations for another year,” Kelly Baker, who is the Director of event coordinators, Managed Ice Rinks, ahead of the event’s arrival.
“Scare Skate is the perfect activity to bring the family together this season, and we’re looking forward to celebrating Halloween in the Cathedral Gardens grounds”.
Scare Skate will arrive in Cathedral Gardens from 27 – 31 October 2022.
Then, following the opening week of Scare Skate, the ghoulish spider will go into hibernation and a dazzling seven-metre Christmas tree will take its place and transform the area into the ultimate winter wonderland.
Tickets for Scare Skate are now on sale, and prices start at just £15.50 for adults and £12.50 for children – with discounted family, group bookings and season tickets also available.