Hundreds of runners from across the country descended on Rochdale on Sunday 7, October 2018 for the annual Williams BMW Rochdale Half Marathon, 10K and Fun Run.
The event, now in its fourth year, saw its highest number of entrants with over 1300 runners registered. They were encouraged every step of the way by hundreds of spectators lining the scenic, traffic-free routes.
The races began at Rochdale Town Hall and set off in the sunshine 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 the town hall, where they were met by hundreds of cheering spectators and a lively atmosphere.
The half marathon was won by Benjamin Coop from Bury Athletics Club for the second year in a row in at time of 01:13:25. The first female was Carly Needham from Rochdale Harriers in 01:21:25.
The 10K was won by Thomas Griffiths from St Helens Sutton Athletics Club in 31:38 minutes, while the first female runner was Kirsty Sharp of Glossopdale Harriers in 39:08.
Louis Wakefield, (aged 14) from Macclesfield, won the 1 mile fun run in 05:45, while last year's winner Ian Aitchinson came in close second this time, on 06:34.
The Rock School Band from 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 atmosphere, beautiful scenery, spectators on the route and there was praise for the marshalling of the event, which was co-ordinated by Middleton Harriers, Rochdale Harriers and Rochdale Triathlon Club supported us.
Title sponsor Williams BMW Rochdale had another eye-catching presence on town hall square. They displayed their latest collection of new models including the i8, a beautiful plug-in hybrid sports car.
Councillor Janet Emsley, our Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Community and Culture, who took part in the fun run, said:
"I know how much training and hard work has gone in for those running and it was great to see this event continue to attract runners from the North West, across the UK and beyond, we even had an entrant fly over from France. Each year the reputation of this event grows, the weather was perfect with spectators providing much needed encouragement.
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 for looking after the water stations, Pathfinders Club, Littleborough Runners, Morrisons - Rochdale and Heywood branches, our council volunteers and Rochdale Youth Service."
Race director Nick Barton from Rochdale Harriers congratulated all the runners:
"Many of the times we saw were superb with lots of personal bests obtained and great support along the way."
The prizes were presented by Matthew Bernard, new car Sales Manager at Williams BMW Rochdale and Councillor Janet Emsley.
John Connor, Head of Busness at Williams BMW Rochdale, said:
"We're genuinely delighted to see the event attract a record number of entrants, with people from far and wide participating in what has become a national fixture in the diary of runners. As a locally-based and family-owned business marking its third year as title sponsor of the event, Williams BMW Rochdale remains keen to support the town and most importantly help to raise money for fantastic charitable causes."