Here's what you need to know...

When you launch your first event with ‘the fastest man on earth,’ aka Usain Bolt, safe to say you’re off to a good start. Ever since 2009, the annual Great CityGames have blazed a trail down Deansgate, bringing Olympic champions up close and personal. What’s more, it’s completely free to watch. 

This Friday (18 May) sees the Games return, kicking off an annual weekend of sport that finishes with the Simplyhealth 10k Great Manchester Run on Sunday 20 May. 

As ever, Deansgate will take centre stage - hosting 100m, 150m and 200m races on a four-lane sprint track - while pole vaulting and hurdling will take place at Albert Square (full schedule below). 

2018 05 15 Great City Games
Record-breaking Allyson Felix returns to take on the 150m

Sprinters taking part for 2018 include Californian Allyson Felix - the joint most decorated female in Olympic history - who, after scoring a world best in Manchester in 2013, will be back to take on the 150m. She’ll be against Ivorian sprinter Marie Ta Lou - who scooped silver medals in both 100m and 200m at the IAAF World Championships 2017 - as well as UK talent Cheriece Hylton and Bianca Williams, part of the gold-winning relay team in this year’s Commonwealth Games.

Fellow Commonwealth Games gold medallists Richard Kilty and Harry Aikines Aryeetey will also be competing: Kilty against Solomon Bockarie, David Lima and Northern Ireland bronze medallist Leon Reid; Aikines-Aryeetey against the UK’s Andy Robertson and Norway’s Jonathan Quarcoo in the blue riband sprint event.

2018 05 15 Great City Games 1
The Men's 100m is scheduled to begin on Deansgate at 6.38pm on Friday

Hurdlers, meanwhile, include reigning British 100m champ Alicia Barrett; who takes on fellow Brit Yasmin Miller, Norway's Isabelle Pedersen and Belarus' Alina Talay

Para-athletes are also well represented, with the likes of nine-time Paralympic and World champion Jason Smyth (T13 150m race) and British trio Sophie Hahn, Georgie Hermitage and Katrina Hart ( T37/38 100m race), all boasting an impressive clutch of medals. 

Manchester 10K Run
The Manchester 10k returns on Sunday 20 May

Meanwhile, on Sunday 20 May, the Great Manchester run begins on Portland Street from 9am (half marathon runners) to 3pm (10k pink runners). Find all start times here.

You can find the exact routes for the both the half marathon and 10k here, but both will beneath Beetham Tower/Hilton Hotel on Deansgate.

There'll be spots for spectators all along the route, with the run-through cheer zones
(with DJs) part of the ‘wall of sound’ at the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. Chepstow Street, Great Bridgewater Street or Albion Street near Deansgate Locks are good vantage points for both the half marathon and 10k. Or head out to the the Imperial War Museum North and Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium for more good spots.

Alternatively there are two big screens, showing footage from 9am – one at 100m from the finish and one within Spinningfields by the Oast House stage.

Not able to make it out? The the BBC is showing the Great Manchester Run from midday until 2:30pm. More here.

Great City Games running order:

Albert Square

4.10pm: Men's pole vault warm up

4.30pm: Men's pole vault commences

5.30/40pm: Women's long jump warm up

6pm: Women's long jump commences


5.35pm Girls' Great School Sprint Final 100

5.42pm: Boys' Great School Sprint Final 100

6.06pm: Men's T13 150m

6.17pm: Men's 200m hurdles

6.28pm: Women's 100m hurdles

6.38pm: Men's 100m

6.48pm: Women's T37/38 150m

6.58pm: Men's 150m hurdles

7.08pm: Men's 150m

7.18pm: Women's 150m

The Great CityGames is free to watch and takes place on Friday 18 May from 4.10pm on Deansgate and Albert Square - full traffic info at There’ll be live coverage on BBC2 from 6-7.30pm