THOUSANDS of runners are set to descend on the streets of Southampton today for the city’s biggest marathon.

The city is hosting the ABP Southampton Marathon today with up to 30,000 people expected to be taking part by running, cheering, or volunteering at the event.

The marathon is returning to the city for a fifth year and 10,000 people have signed up to participate.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, said: “Southampton is proud to be hosting the ABP Marathon again this year, on Sunday 5 May.

“As with previous years, we have worked closely with the organisers to ensure the day runs as smoothly as possible.

“More than 8,000 letters have been distributed to local residents prior to the event and advance warnings have been in place for two weeks to encourage residents to consider alternative arrangements for the short duration of the marathon.

“ABP have also created [a] web page, including details of road closures, to help residents plan their journeys and there will be traffic management in place to ensure minimal disruption on the day.

“We would remind residents of alterations to local bus routes and timetables and to plan ahead. Access to pavements will not be affected on the day.”

She added: “This is the fifth year the event has taken place in the city and we are confident this year will be another great success.

“With ten thousand participants and around 30,000 visitors expected to attend, the marathon is an excellent opportunity to put Southampton on the map and encourage visitors to contribute to the local economy and experience what our thriving city has to offer.”

A number of roads will be closed for significant periods of the day, including a number of routes in the city centre.

However officials have said The Itchen Bridge will be closed to vehicles from 8am until 2pm, while the Northam Bridge will be shut eastbound from 8am until 2.30pm.

Meanwhile Weston Shore is set to be closed from 8am until 2pm, and St Mary Street is shut from 9.30am until 11.30am.

Organisers are asking residents to avoid parking on the run routes to ensure the safety of residents and people taking part.

The event will feature a marathon, half marathon, a 10K and a children’s fun run.

The race is fully chip-timed and all participants receive a medal and t-shirt once they cross the finish line.

The fun run has sold out for the first time in five years with 500 participants due to run.

The mile-long fun run is open to all ages from 2-years-old and above.

Racers are encouraged to run, walk, hop and skip the mile donned in fancy dress costumes.

All races start and finish in the city centre, and go past landmarks including the Bargate, Itchen Bridge, Weston Shore, Riverside Park and the Common.

The half marathon and the full marathon are both due to start at 9am and will both start and finish on Above Bar Street.

The 10k run is due to start at 10am which will also start and finish on Above Bar Street.

The fun run will start at 4pm on Above Bar Street and will be started by ABP’s ‘Mascot Mile’ featuring mascots from participating charities and businesses.

Most participants will be running to raise money for charity and will be sponsored by friends and family.

Last year a total of ten thousand people took part and raised an estimated £400,000 for charity.

Around 30,000 spectators cheered them on with more than 850 volunteers helping the event go smoothly.

The event also boosted the city’s economy, with an estimated £1m spent on hotel stays, dining out, parking and shopping.

Scores of local businesses joined forces with Go! Southampton to offer discounts and in some places runners were queuing onto the street to get their hands on free pizza, coffee and alcohol-free beer.

The Half Marathon prize last year went to Aiden Lennan from Winchester who finished in 1:13:46 and Simone Mitchell from Winchester and District Athletics Club who was the first female home in 1:20:39.

Victory in the 10k went to William Bryan from Itchen Spitfires running club with a time of 34:13. Ashley Stone was the first female in 38:07.