Hundreds of runners descended on Rochdale this weekend for the annual Williams BMW Rochdale Half Marathon, 10K and Fun Run on Sunday morning. The event, now in its third year was hailed another success after almost 1,000 runners registered, encouraged by hundreds of spectators lining the routes.
The races started at Rochdale Town Hall and set out on new traffic-free courses taking in the town and some of the borough's best countryside scenes.
All runs ended with a final sprint back to the finish line at Rochdale Town Hall, where they were met by hundreds of cheering spectators and a carnival atmosphere.
The half marathon was won by Benjamin Coop from Bury Athletics Club in 01:12:12. The first female was Lisa Probert of in 01:39:46.
The 10K was won by Michael Mannings of Oldham and Royton Harriers in 33:54 minutes, while the first female runner was Diane McVey of Wilmslow Running Club in 37:32.
Ian Aitchison won the 1 mile fun run in 06:15, while last year's winner Rosangela Terim came in close second this time on 06:22.
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Williams BMW Rochdale had another eye-catching presence on the Esplanade. They displayed their latest collection of new models including the i8, a beautiful plug-in hybrid sports car, X6, M3, 5 Series and a 4 Series Coupe.
Rochdale Music Service added some musical entertainment to proceedings, playing on the bandstand in Broadfield Park and on The Esplanade there was a 'Sports Village' featuring fitness and health stalls. Once again the section around Hollingworth Lake proved a popular spectator spot too with hundreds enjoying the morning spectacle by Lake Bank. Many entrants took to social media to praise the scenic route which had been re-designed and there was also much praise for the management and marshalling of the event, which was co-ordinated by Middleton Harriers, Rochdale Harriers and Rochdale Triathlon Club supported by us.
Councillor Janet Emsley our cabinet member for culture, health and wellbeing, who took part in the fun run, said:
"We've not just attracted runners from the North West, but across the UK and beyond. It's good to see how the reputation of this event is growing and I think the subtle improvements we have made this year went down well. The atmosphere was superb, the weather was perfect for running with spectators providing much needed encouragement and we even got some sunshine! I thank the public for their cooperation during the disruption caused by the morning's road closures. The event was made possible by the support of many local people, businesses and groups. I would like to thank all our marshalls and the volunteers from Rochdale Pathfinders and the Big Life Group for looking after the water stations and Rochdale Youth Service for helping to present the medals."
Race Director Phil Roberts from Rochdale Harriers congratulated all the runners:
"Some of the times we saw were superb, and I know how much training and hard work has gone in for those running today."
The prizes were presented by Matthew Bernard, New Car Sales Manager at Williams BMW Rochdale.
Alexandra Cook from Williams BMW Rochdale said:
"Following the success of 2016, we were delighted to be involved with this local event which has now become a national fixture in the diary for runners and spectators. As a local family business, we are always keen to support the local community and most importantly help raise money for some fantastic charities. We are extremely proud for Williams Rochdale to be the title sponsor and look forward to being involved again in 2018."
Springhill Hospice was the official charity for the event.