Archbishop set to lift spirits of Yorkshire Marathon runners


Canon Terry Joyce with arms raised to support Marathon runners

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.

The Revd Canon Terry will be in his usual spot near mile six at Stockton-on-the-Forest, while the Archbishop will be lending his support at mile 17 and 19 at 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 effort. Participants famously file past the church in Stockton-on-the-Forest, patiently waiting to high five the supportive clergyman.

For the first time, the Archbishop has also pledged to support the runners near Dunnington. The Archbishop will be in the village as part of a weekend of mission  in the Derwent Deanery . Following the Sunday morning service at St Nicholas Church, Dunnington 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 and speak to spectators.

The Revd Canon Joyce, associate vicar of the 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. We decided we’d have the service and then gather outside to lend our support to the runners. 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 the 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

The Archbishop is undertaking weekends of mission in all 21 deaneries in the Diocese of York. He will be in Hull East 29 September to 1 October, Derwent 6 to 8 October and Scarborough 13 to 15 October. 


For more information contact the Yorkshire Marathon press office on 0113 826 7764 or email [email protected]