MORE than one thousand runners took to the streets and trails of the town for the Big Stockport Run – an event that has doubled in size in just two years.
The 10k and family fun race, first established in 2012 as an Olympic legacy event by Stockport sport and fitness provider Life Leisure, attracted 1,010 runners from across the UK. The weather may have been rainy, but it didn’t put a dampener on everyone’s enthusiasm.
First man past the post in the open male category was Alex Hinchcliffe (22) from Sheffield, for Vegan Runners UK, with a time of 34.30mins. He was among 182 vegan runners taking part this year. First open female was Ali Guihen from Brighton and the ‘Jackfruit 5’ team, at 40:17mins.
Gavin Astin (53) from Heaton Moor and Lesley Sinclair (53) from Glossop both won the over 50s category for the second year running, with times of 38:13mins and 44:48 mins. Andrew Dunleavy (61) from Bolton and Helen Todd from Heaton Chapel took the same honours in the over 60s, with times of 42:00 and 48:57 respectively – Helen repeating last year’s success as first woman home in her category.
And, defying the decades was Alison Holland, 72 of Bramhall – the event’s oldest runner – who completed the course in a very respectable 1:05mins. She is a regular with the Bramhall Runners.
Sponsored by CDL (Cheshire Datasystems Limited) and O’Neill Morgan Solicitors, this year’s event – as ever – attracted a wide range of teams with some imaginative names. Top team for the second year running was the Vegan Runner’s ‘Soy Division’. And the food-related names continued with the ‘Kale Radgies’ and ‘Give Peas A Chance’ adding a winning veggie theme to the top ten teams past the post.
The event is also a key fixture for fundraisers, with among others Daniel Harrison, who ran for the ‘Super Saul Squad’ to raise funds for child leukaemia patients in memory of Saul Chapman. The ‘Ward Runners’ team were raising £1,000 to help a family whose father is terminally ill with cancer.
It wasn’t just a day for serious runners. Nearly 140 people took part in the 1K family fun run to help encourage young runners of the future. Among them were Reuben and family mum Dawn and brother Joseph. Reuben is six, and has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy.
Sam Barton, Community Sports Officer at Life Leisure and Big Run project lead, said: “We would like to thank everyone who took part. It was another fantastic turnout for an event that is growing each year. It was great to see not only the club runners, but also all the recreational runners who were attempting a 10k for the first time. Everyone did extremely well and it created an amazing atmosphere.”
Winning male runner Alex Hinchcliffe said:” I’ve been running for about three years and I’ve been vegan for three and half years. This is the second year I have entered, but this is the first race I have won. I couldn’t be happier!”
Organisations that also helped to ensure the event was an outstanding success were the Olympos Team with free pre and post-run treatments and Stockport Police Cadets, who handed out water, goody bags and t-shirts to the runners, including their Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy who completed the 10k.
New Balance provided prizes for all the winners, while BaseballSoftballUK provided fun family activities, and Stockport Community Cycling Club kept the runners safe with lead and back bikes.
Among the other organisations offering their help was MyProtein, with nutrition bars for the runners, and Cafelito who opened their doors and provided electricity for the event.
To see images from the run, visit www.lifeleisure.net or follow @BIGEventSeries on Twitter.