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Sunshine and smiles as hundreds Run Rochdale

04 October 2021

Runners starting the Williams BMW Rochdale Half Marathon.

Runners descended on Rochdale this weekend for the long awaited return of Williams BMW Rochdale Half Marathon, 10K and Fun Run on Sunday, 3 October 2021, after it was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The event, in its sixth year, saw over 1,000 runners registered, encouraged every step of the way by spectators lining the routes covering both town and countryside.

The 3 races began along The Esplanade in Rochdale town centre and despite occasional light showers it was mostly dry and sunny conditions.

Half Marathon runners on the Esplanade.

Each ended with a sprint back to the finish line at the town hall, where runners were met by cheering spectators and a lively atmosphere.

The half marathon was won by Neal Emmerson from Radcliffe Athletics Club for the second year in a row in a time of 01:16:11. First female was Dominque Searle from Vale Royal Athletics Club in Cheshire in 1:26:54.

The 10K was won by Martin Peck from Spenborough Athletics Club in West Yorkshire in 34:19, while the first female 10K runner was Amy Mckechnie from Queensbury Running Club, Bradford in 41:10.

Entrants taking part in a warmup session.

'Well done to everyone' 

Oliver Cooper won the 1 mile fun run in 05:51, while Ian Aitchison came in second on 05:52. Lucy Dent was third on 05:57.

Runners travelled from across the UK to take part. In addition to hundreds of Rochdale borough residents, there were entrants from Yorkshire, Cheshire, London, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Hampshire, Merseyside, Hertfordshire and Oxford. 

The Mayor and Mayoress of Rochdale at the start line of the Fun Run. 

The Esplanade was busy, with a team from Sports Physio UK providing post-race massages in return for a donation towards a new defibrillator for the area. The start and finish was hosted by race day announcer Dave Sweetmore. Once again the section around Hollingworth Lake proved another popular spectator spot and many entrants took to social media to praise the support on the route as well as the organisation and marshalling.

The event was organised by Middleton Harriers, Rochdale Harriers and Rochdale Triathlon Club supported by Rochdale Borough Council.

The Williams BMW Rochdale team next to a BMW.

Title sponsor Williams BMW Rochdale had another eye-catching presence on The Esplanade.

Alexandra Cook, director at Williams Group who ran the 10K along with a team of her colleagues said:

"I know how important this excellent event is to Rochdale and we are very proud to be involved. Today has been a fantastic morning and it is great to be out in the fresh air, seeing so many people taking part, raising money for such good causes including our chosen charity Maggie's. Well done to everyone." 

Councillor Sue Smith with Williams BMW Rochdale team members.

Councillor Sue Smith, cabinet member for communities and co-operation at Rochdale Borough Council added: 

"The weather was kind to us for most of the morning and spectators provided much needed encouragement. What a great atmosphere too. I thank the public for their co-operation during the disruption caused by the road closures. This event was made possible by the support of many local people and it was great to see it return. I also want to thank all our marshals and the volunteers for looking after the water stations, Hopwood Hall College, SM Cash and Carry, Asda Rochdale, the samba band that played around the lake, our council staff volunteers and Rochdale Youth Service." 

Prizes were presented by Alexandra Cook, director at Williams Group and councillor Sue Smith.