Home James – rivals trail in behind race winner Rob

ROB James regained the individual title he won in 2016 to give Royton Road Runners victory in their own hosted Royton 7K Trail race.

James clocked 31 minutes 34 seconds for the undulating multi-terrain event in Tandle Hill Country Park.

And that was almost a minute in front of Oldham and Royton’s Michael Mannings (32:32), with Billy McCartney (Salford Harriers) a further 38 seconds back in third place.

The race, now in its 12th year, attracts participants from many local running clubs. The latest edition saw more than 240 runners of all abilities tackle the country lanes and woodland paths in the green-belt of land between Oldham and Rochdale.

The recent hot and dry weather turned slightly cooler on the day, making for ideal running conditions.

Rochdale Harrier Kay Welsby claimed the ladies prize in a time of 38 mins 20 secs, with Rachel Emmott (Oldham & Royton) in second (40:43) and Jill Butterworth (Rochdale Harriers) third (42:20).

The men’s team prize, awarded to the club with the three best-placed runners, saw James, Jarrod Gritt and Michael Wildbore narrowly beat the Salford Harriers trio of McCartney, Glyn Billington and Ian Grime.

This reversed last year’s result, giving Royton victory for the first time since 2015.

Rochdale Harriers, through Welsby, Butterworth and Susie Hirst, claimed the women’s team award for the first time, breaking a long-running streak by the host club.

Gift vouchers provided by race sponsors, Up and Running Oldham, were awarded to these and all age category winners.

No matter where competitors finished, there were enough sandwiches laid on for everyone to enjoy with their post-race refreshment in the Tandle Hill Tavern afterwards.

Among many positive comments, this from runner Mick Harwood was typical: “I found it tough going, but in a very good way, it felt like a real community thing.

“Everyone was buzzing and very smiley. I’m glad that I made the effort.”

• Mannings turned the table on his local rival at the annual Mossley 10K road race though both athletes had to play second fiddle to an American schoolboy.

EJ Holland from Oregon took the title in 34:13, with Mannings runner-up in 35:13 and James third in 36:06.

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