Steve Way has confirmed he will return to distance running next week after his remarkable rise to fame this summer. Way, the former 17-stone-binge drinker, who finished tenth in the Commonwealth Games marathon in August, has confirmed he will take part at the Bupa Great Birmingham Run on Sunday 19 October.
Way’s journey to become one of the UK’s leading marathon runners has all the hallmarks of a fairytale: after taking up running at the age of 33 in 2007 to combat his excessive drinking and smoking (20 a day during the week, 40 at weekends), Way led at the early stages of the Commonwealth Games and set a lifetime best of 2:15:16, breaking the long-standing British over 40s veteran record that stood to the legendary Ron Hill.
In the Bupa Great Birmingham Run, Way will be up against defending champion Thomas Akeyo of Uganda and Josphat Bett. Yet the Dorset runner said he was looking to use the race as preparation for an ultra event next month: “Everything that I’m doing in terms of training and racing at the moment is part of a plan working towards the World 100km Championships in Doha. I’ll be running some road races at the weekends, basically as my speed training for that. I’ll be doing the Bupa Great South Run ten miler the weekend after the half marathon in Birmingham.”
Way feels Birmingham, plus the challenge of Akeyo and Bett, will represent a vital component in his training: “The idea is to run as fast as possible off tired legs, because that’s what I’ll be looking to do as the race goes along in the world 100k. I do get stronger with longer distance so I’m not as competitive at the half marathon as I am at the marathon. Realistically I’m not going to be challenging the leading Africans for the win in Birmingham.”
Formerly known as the Birmingham Half Marathon the event was first staged in staged in 2008. Since then, it has established itself as the most popular half marathon in the Midlands, with 20,000 runners set to compete on 19 October