The Rochdale Canal runs for 33 miles between Manchester and Sowerby Bridge, crossing from the Pennines to West Yorkshire. Competitors had a shorter section to complete at the new Canalathon 20 Miles (Sunday 23 February) but still had stunning views.
This new race joins the Canalathon family organised by Cannonball Events. The 20 Miler is designed as preparation for a spring marathon, next month's 50K/50M Canalathon event or as a race in itself. It was a good choice for any runner looking to try the distance for the first time as the course is flat and fast and navigation is not required.
However, there were a few diversions in place due to the recent floods that were marked with yellow arrows. Everyone was issued with the mandatory kit list as the race was off-road and in winter and asked to carry their own cup.
The race started from Ashfield Valley Primary School, Rochdale at 10.30am and followed the canal on a mixture of hard gravel and towpaths that were wet and muddy in places. The route meandered along from Lancashire to finish at Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club, Yorkshire and a stiff headwind plus the rain and cold made it tough going at times.
Adam Critchley of Horwich Tri Club was first across the line in 2:11:11; a gap of nearly seven minutes between him and Matthew Pierson of Stainland Lions RC who was second in 2:17:54. Nick Kealey of Ilkley Harriers AC came third in 2:18:52.
Helen Roby of Longwood Harriers AC was the first female in 2:38:42 followed by Fiona Williams of Rochdale Harriers & AC in 2:39:57. Lucy Hardy of Ramsbottom RC was third in 2:46:45.
Image courtesy of Rochdale Harriers & AC Races