OVER 800 runners – including a Minion, Wonder Woman, a Stepping Hill super-group of fundraisers, and the largest ever national gathering of Vegan runners – took part in this year’s BIG Stockport Run at the weekend, making it the most successful turnout in the event’s five year history.
The 10k race, first established in 2012 as an Olympic legacy event by Stockport sport and fitness provider Life Leisure, attracted 693 participants from across the UK.
Clive Fitzpatrick (44) from Fleetwood (Trafford Athletics Club) clocked the best overall time of 36 mins 6 secs. Kirsty Johnson (28) from Hadfield (Glossopdale Harriers) was the fastest female, winning in a time of 40 mins 14 secs.
Gavin Astin (53) from Heaton Moor and Lesley Sinclair (53) from Glossop, achieved times of 38 mins 53 secs and 44 mins 55 secs respectively to claim male and female victories in the over 50s category.
Mike Stansfield (61) from Romiley and Helen Todd (62) from Heaton Chapel took the same honours in the over 60s category, with times of 44 mins 54 secs and 48 mins 45 secs.
And, showing age is no obstacle to putting on your trainers and pounding the pavement, 76 year old Murray Bryce – the event’s oldest runner – completed the course in a brilliant 48 mins and 58 secs.
Sponsored by Biffa Waste Services, with prizes provided by sports brand New Balance, this year’s event also attracted a wide range of teams, some of which were rather imaginatively named.
Vegan Runners, a national vegan running group, had their largest ever gathering at an organised event with teams from across the country taking part in the 10k challenge. Winning the overall team category, the aptly North West-named ‘Soy Division’ took the top team spot on the day. Other vegan teams taking part included ‘The Avo-Cardios’ and ‘Good Sense of Houmous’.
The event is also a key fixture for fundraisers, which a team of 48 runners from Stepping Hill Hospital demonstrated by raising money to help develop a centralised Dementia café for patients and their families.
Other local teams running in the name of charity included Gorvins Solicitors – taking part in aid of Cancer Research UK – and Pure Innovations which fielded two teams hoping to raise funds for programmes that support people with disabilities and learning difficulties in Stockport.
The race was also well-attended by fancy-dress fans, with Mark Love (50) from Cheadle Hulme, braving the heat to complete the full 10k dressed as Stuart Minion.
Topping off a fantastic day, over 120 people also took part in a new 1km family fun run event introduced for those looking for a slightly smaller challenge and to help encourage budding young runners of the future.
Sam Barton, Community Sports Officer at Life Leisure, the BIG Run organisers said: “We’d hoped for a record turnout and we got it.
“The BIG Stockport Run really is an event for all ages and abilities, from elite athletes to those taking part with friends and family in the fun run – to see so many people enjoying the whole experience was brilliant. There was a fabulous sense of community spirit.
“We’d like to thank everyone who took part and of course all our fantastic sponsors and volunteers – including the wonderful Stockport Police Cadets who worked with local residents and Life Leisure staff to marshal and support the event.
“Without these guys the BIG Stockport Run just wouldn’t be possible.”
In addition to the prizes from New Balance for Men’s, Women’s and Team categories, 10k entrants all received a high-end technical race T-shirt and medal as well as various goodies in their finishing pack.
O’Neill Morgan Solicitors ensured runners remained hydrated on the course with bottled water, while CafeLito on St. Petersgate opened specially to provide refreshments.
Professional chip timing technology was provided by Crazy Legs Events. Decathlon helped keep kids entertained on the day with a dedicated activity area, and Olympos Sports Injury Consultation made sure runners had access to pre and post run massage facilities. Event entertainment and comparing was provided by Stockport’s Pure FM.
To see images from the event, visit www.lifeleisure.net or follow @lifeleisureuk on Twitter.