OLDHAM HALF MARATHON RUNNERS CONQUER HILLS AND HEAT
HUNDREDS of runners took part in the 2017 Oldham Half Marathon, which is described as the UK’s toughest with its steep climbs and descents.
This year’s half marathon on Sunday, October 15, came on a day of unusually mild weather and featured runners tackling 1,100 ft of uphill climbs.
The run is organised by Oldham Community Leisure (OCL). Over 260 people entered, with the oldest competitor aged in their 70s, and they received great support from the community.
In the men’s category, the top results were:
1st Bruno Lima (Salford Harriers and Athletics Club), 1hr 17 minutes 10 seconds
2nd Jan Pichl (Salford Harriers and Athletics Club), 1hr 17 minutes 36 seconds
3rd Rob James (Royton Road Runners), 1hr 17 minutes 55 seconds
In the women’s category, the top results were:
1st Sophie Wood (Royton Road Runners), 1hr 32 minutes 10 seconds
2nd Cat Jessop, 1hr 33 minutes 5 seconds
3rd Gaynor Keane, 1hr 34 minutes 42 seconds
The Oldham Half Marathon is part of a series of ‘Milltown Races’ runs and triathlons held through the year. Events over the years have included a 7k and 10k run, and a triathlon featuring running, cycling and swimming.
Paddy Wolstenholme, fitness team leader at OCL, said: “Our congratulations go to all the top-placed runners in each category and to everyone who took part. It’s a tough run and it’s great to see such enthusiastic commitment from individuals and clubs across the region and beyond.
“We also want to thank all the OCL staff who help to host these fabulous events. This year, after many years of organising these events, Alan Keane and Gaynor Keane stayed true to their word and both competed.”
The pair are both members of Saddleworth Runners’ Club and well known stalwarts.
Kelly Tattersall, community and partnership development officer at OCL, added: “It was a lovely day and it must have been the warmest day we have ever held the half marathon. There was great support from businesses and the public, with lots of spectators watching the run.
“There was a massive response in the Glodwick area of Oldham and up Waterloo Street, where runners returned to the town centre. This year it was also lovely to see the run going past the redeveloped Old Town Hall cinema and restaurant complex and the new Parliament Square.”
Kelly thanked event commentator and entertainer Brian Porter along with local businesses for supporting the event. These included local Tesco stores for donating water, County Car and Van Hire, and Nando’s restaurant at Parliament Square.
Firefighters at Oldham Fire Station on Lees Road supported the event too by arranging water sprinklers to keep the runners cool.
Sunday’s half marathon began in Oldham town centre’s High Street then headed along Yorkshire Street and Huddersfield Road before taking in Huddersfield Road, Ripponden Road, Moorside, Grains Bar, Grains Road, Delph, Ladcastle Road above Uppermill and then Greenfield. The final stretch brought runners west through Grasscroft, Lydgate, Lees and Glodwick into Oldham town centre via Waterloo Street.
In addition to cash prizes for individual men and women runners who came in first, second and third positions, there were T-shirts and medals for all runners.
The Oldham Half Marathon was developed from earlier road runs in the area. Runners are attracted to Oldham’s Milltown Races from across the UK, including Scotland and Cornwall, while northern running clubs are strongly represented.
The course record remains set by Andi Jones at 1:09:52.2. Andi grew up in nearby Tameside and was formerly a teacher in Rochdale. He is well known in road, cross-country and fell running, and has represented England and Great Britain at various competitions including the Commonwealth Games.
OCL and Milltown Races work with UKA (United Kingdom Athletics), Run Britain and Triathlon England.