Close to 10,000 runners, a new course record and a female champion who sliced ten minutes off her PB all made for a remarkable day of racing at Sunday’s ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon. The race, re-established in 2012 after a 10 year absence, is now seen as one of the country’s top marathons, a sentiment echoed by event CEO, Nick Rusling, who commented: “What we have seen here today is a truly-world class mass participation event with fitness and inspirational human achievement at its very heart."
Organised by Xtra Mile Events in partnership with Trafford Council, the marathon saw Sunday’s runners depart from Trafford Arch and tackle a speedy 26.2-mile route that took in Sale, Brooklands, Timperley, Altrincham, Urmston and Stretford.
Kenya’s Shadrack Tanui lived up to his billing of pre-race favourite to secure first in 2:21:19. The 31-year-old Kenyan, who boasts a PB of 2:10:39 from Seville Marathon, pulled away at the half way point and never looked in trouble thereafter: Southport’s Ben Johnson (2:25:04) and Rathfarnham’s Mark Ryan (2:25:04) were his closest competitors.
It was a remarkable day of racing from Dani Nimmock in the female competition, with the City of Norwich runner smashing her PB to take first in 2:38:24 with Garscube Harriers’ Katie White joining her in setting a PB, coming second in 2:41:16, while Wakefield’s Julie Briscoe claimed third in 2:41:36.
Nimmock’s previous marathon best of 2:48:16 came in Frankfurt two years ago, and with a 10k and half marathon PB also set this year, things are certainly looking up for the runner, who later tweeted: “Running through this tape was a moment I’ll never forget! Winning in a 10min PB is definitely a giant leap forward for me.”
Just as Sunday was filled with PBs across the board, there were numerous inspirational tales from the 9,500 strong runners. One of those taking part was Claire Lomas, who joined competitors at the start line and is aiming to cover the 26.2 miles wearing a bionic suit.
Sean Aintree, leader of Trafford Council, summed up the upbeat feeling that was felt throughout the day: "It is a great showcase of the true spirit of people here who have shown a world-class welcome so many local and international participants. I offer my congratulations to all who took part, from elite athletes to the many who successfully raised so much money for charity."