After strong winds and torrential rain clouded last year's event, the 6,000 runners taking part in Sunday's Greater Manchester Marathon were greeted with cool, spring conditions ideal for racing. Dave Norman and Andi Jones, top two from last year, once again battled it out, with the Altrincham & District AC man successfully defending his title.
Before the starter's orders, runners paid tribute to the victims of Boston marathon with a 26 second silence followed by a 26 second applause. Athletics legend Ron Hill and Steve Kenyon, the quickest-ever finisher at the race, then set runners on their way from the White City Roundabout at Old Trafford.
Norman and Jones, both local runners, reignited their battle from 2012 with both setting a fast early pace, passing the 10 mile mark in 53:08. As with last year's race, Norman proved slightly stronger, finishing in 2:20:19, with Jones two minutes behind in 2:22:29, and Michael Glowacki in third place (2:26:45). Such was the difference in conditions, Norman and Jones both finished 4 minutes quicker than they did last year.
In the women's field, Scottish runner Issy Menzies secured her first ever victory at marathon distance. The Edinburgh AC member, 33, took an early lead and maintained a strong pace throughout, coming home in 2:42:24. Liz Cocks finished second in 2:43:30, with Jocelyn Payne in third place (2:45:58). Of the 4956 competitors who finished, the mid-point runner was Craig Sutherland in 4:01:05.
Sunday's race marked the 37th staging of the Manchester race, with the event returning last year after a decade long absence. Renowned for its pancake flat route through the city, the marathon has one of the lowest course differentials in Europe, with just 54m throughout the 26.2 miles.
Full results are available via northernrunningguide.com