Sunny skies and perfect autumnal weather set the tone to what was a day of warmth and positivity as over 7,500 runners competed in the second ever Manchester Half Marathon. The half marked a perfect occasion to galvanise support for the #WeStandTogether campaign, which aims to create a more peaceful Greater Manchester through encouraging acts of kindness across communities.
Organised by Cheshire-based Xtra Mile Events, the race has become infamous for its flat profile and, with just 41metre elevation across the 13.1mile course, there was little surprise to see 48 elites looking to the streets of Trafford for a PB.
Pre-race favourite Luke Traynor took an early lead and never looked like conceding it with a blistering performance of 1:04:10, more than thirty seconds quicker than last year’s time.
Impressively, Glaswegian Traynor, who finished third on the track in August’s Trafford Grand Prix 10,000m, was making his debut over 13.1 miles. Peter Huck also took to the podium on the steps of Trafford Town Hall with a time of 1:05:03, while Matt Clowes secured third in 1:05:11.
Team Bath’s Rebecca Hilland followed up her strong showing at last month’s Cardiff 10K with victory in the female competition in 1:15:40, a good three minutes quicker than her closest competitor, Julie Briscoe (1:18:51), while Notts AC’s Sarah Mackness grabbed third in 1:20:56.
The day had a commemorative feel too as participants, race officials and onlookers alike raised their arms in solidarity with the #WeStandTogether campaign launched by Manchester Evening News with the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Peace Foundation, Greater Manchester Police and the families of those who died in the terrorist atrocity last May.
Nick Rusling, CEO of the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon and Manchester Half Marathon, said: “Massive congratulations to all who came to participate and to those who came to cheer the runners on.
“This event is now firm part of the running calendar and Manchester fitness scene. We’ve shown that we have inspired loads of new people as well as putting on a quick race for the regulars. For those that fancy stepping up we hope to see all of you again at the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford in April.”