Course record smashed in Oldham Half Marathon

MOHAMMED Abu-Rezeq obliterated the seven-year-old course record as he triumphed in the Milltown Races Oldham Half Marathon.

The Altrincham AC runner clocked 1hr 8min 29sec for the 13.1 mile run to beat Andi Jones’ previous best of 1:09:52 which was set in 2012.

The half marathon on Sunday, October 27 was an event to remember with 345 runners – including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding – taking to the streets of Oldham and Saddleworth in welcome sunshine after a week of heavy rain.

Abu-Rezeq, the recent winner of the Tour of Tameside, won by a margin of more than four minutes as second place went to Gavin Hill of Sale Harriers, who finished in 1:12:32 while third was Royton Road Runners’ Ian McBride (1:15:37).

Men’s top three (Pictures thanks to Darren Robinson Photography)

The women’s winner was Kirsty Sharp, from Glossopdale Harriers, in 1:29:45, second was Saddleworth Runners’ Martha Tibbot (1:31:13) and third was Gaynor Keane, also of Saddleworth Runners, in 1:32:27.

Andy Burnham completed what is one of the country’s most gruelling half marathons, for homeless charity Real Change.

Women’s top three (Pictures thanks to Darren Robinson Photography)

He has ambitious plans to tackle homelessness in Greater Manchester and the ground-breaking A Bed Every Night scheme is committed to providing a bed, a warm welcome and personal support for every single person forced to sleep on the streets – more than 400 beds are now available across all 10 boroughs.

Andy Burnham

He said: “The Milltown to Moors Oldham Half Marathon was without doubt a challenging race but the support on the streets was fantastic and it was a great day to be a part of – I also enjoyed running alongside my friend and colleague Sean Fielding.

“The Half is a real community event, where everyone turns out to support the runners, especially on the incredibly difficult ascents when I certainly needed it most!

“I ran in support of Real Change as I believe homelessness and rough sleeping is a humanitarian crisis and in 2019, no-one should need to spend a night on the street – here in Greater Manchester we’re working hard to make sure no-one has to.”

Sean Fielding, Labour Councillor for Failsworth West, said: “I’ve run a few 10k runs around the region and I’ve had a personal ambition to run longer distances for some time.

“The Oldham Half Marathon seemed like the best opportunity to do that – even though I knew the hills make it really tough. Everybody told me what a stunning route it was – it wasn’t until I got up to Grains Bar that I appreciated what they meant.

“It’s a tough run though and there were a dozen points at which it would’ve been easy to drop out.

“Three things kept me going: the incredible support of local people lining the route, the great cause, Real Change Oldham, which Andy and I were raising money for, and that I was just ahead of a guy in a Rochdale vest most of the way round – I was determined not to let pass me!”

The event was organised by Oldham Community Leisure (OCL). In total there were 341 finishers who made it round the difficult course, which includes 1,100ft of ascent.

Race director Patrick Wolstenholme said: “There’s nothing to beat Oldham’s infamous Half Marathon.

“It’s one of the race calendar’s best loved events, thanks to both it’s extremely challenging course and also to the amazing atmosphere local spectators turn out to provide without fail, every single year.

“I’d like to thank every local business which has offered its support as well as our army of volunteer marshals and not forgetting all the local people who took to the streets to cheer on the runners.”

• Full race times can be found online:

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