Manchester was bathed in sunshine as the city welcomed a record-breaking turnout of over 9,500 runners for Sunday’s marathon. The bumper field, departing from a new start point at the Trafford Arch, was given a fitting send off from legend Dr Ron Hill as the event celebrated its 40th year in style.
Ahead of Sunday’s race, organisers of the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon announced news that the event had received approval by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS). The celebratory feel carried throughout the day as competitors and spectators alike enjoyed the live entertainment throughout the day in perfect conditions.
For the first time this year the race village was based at Emirates Old Trafford, home to Lancashire County Cricket Club. The 9,000 plus field enjoyed what is known to be the UK’s flattest and fastest marathon with highlights of the event also broadcast, for the first time, on national television.
A group of 10 runners established an early lead from the outset yet by the 18th mile this had dwindled to two, with Steven Bayton of Hallamshire Harriers and Kevin Rojas of Brighton & Hove AC battling it out. Bayton, in his marathon debut, prevailed and crossed the line in 2:22:34 with Rojas second (2:23:03) and Salford Harrier Nathan Kilcourse third in 2:25:08.
In the women’s competition, Stockport Harrier Kelly Crickmore showed her steel to take the lead at mile 22 to take the title in 2:48:04 with Samantha Amend second (2:52:07) and Anne Holyland of Wreake Runners third in 2:52:52.
Post race organisers said they would be looking at certain aspects of the event's management for 2017 after reports that finishers had to wait up to three hours to have their bags returned.