The WRRS arrived in Wythenshawe Park on 10 September for a second year. One of the most exciting and varied courses in the race series, the route takes place largely over trails, including grassy parkland and dirt paths and starts and finishes on a local athletics track, situated within the park. This year, 390 runners signed up to take part in the 5K and 10K races, and also the family one-mile event – a new addition to the race series this year.
It was a chilly and damp start to the event on Sunday, meaning runners arrived at the village a little later than usual to avoid getting cold and wet. However, when bubbly WRRS MC Georgia Stone hit the stage to kick off a series of pre-race interviews, it wasn’t long before runners began to emerge from their cars, peeling off their layers, pinning on their numbers – and generally embracing the elements as they prepared for the race start.
She kicked off a series of interviews with a quick chat to our pacers: Helen Armitage, pacing 50 minutes, Lynda Rowlinson, pacing 55 minutes, Anne Lowe, who kindly stepped in at the last minute to pace 60 minutes after the 60-pacer was forced to drop out due to illness and, finally, 70-minute pacer Amanda Davies.
Next up onto the stage was David Parsons from Good Full Stop – WRRS Official Healthy Snack Partner. David, who was on-hand supplying samples and merchandising Good Full Stop’s range of vegan bars, hosted a competition to win a month’s supply of nutrition, inviting runners up onto the stage to memorize the range of flavours for their chance to bag a prize.
We then heard from Nicole Cheese from Boobydoo, the Official Apparel Partner for the race series, who were hosting a stand at the event, offering complimentary fittings and great discounts to all runners. Nicole gave the ladies the lowdown on all things sports bras, from sizing to bounce control.
Finally Georgia interviewed former Women’s Running cover star and WRRS Manchester race ambassador Emma Cockroft. Emma shared her story of how she turned her life around through running, transforming a lifestyle of partying to become a passionate runner, PT and ambassador of active and healthy living. Having inspired the women to get moving, she then led a fun-filled – and much-needed – warm-up, before the runners made their way over to athletics track – their spirits high – for the start of the 5K and 10K races.
Both events started simultaneously, the 5K course taking in one lap of the park and the 10K route taking in two. Local runners and volunteers were on hand to provide support as race marshals, offering directions, handing out medals and delivering water to runners, supplied by WRRS Hydration Partner Saka Water. Despite the marshalling team being a little smaller than organizers had hoped, this was certainly made up for by the team’s wonderful enthusiasm and willingness to chip in wherever needed, despite the poor weather conditions.
The Christie Charity – the regional charity partner for the event – were also on hand to bolster runners’ spirits and show their gratitude to the runners who were taking part to fundraise for the charity. Alongside those fundraising for The Christie, many had chosen to fundraise for NSPCC – the WRRS Official Charity Partner.
Despite the boggy conditions, and light rain during the second half of the 10K race, runners brought in some fantastic times. First over the line in the 5K race was mum-of-three Magdalena Kaminska, in 23mins 58secs, who received her race entry as a surprise birthday present from her husband. She said: “Last week I was in Poland on holiday and my husband just text me and said, ‘I have a birthday gift for you, it’s a race entry, with a hoody and a personalization on the medal.’ It’s been tough, the turf has been tough, it’s all muddy everywhere, but yes it’s been good.”
In the 10K, Katie Maude was first home in 45mins 8secs. Zoe, 28, who has only ever taken part in one 10K race before, was thrilled with her result, having started to take her training more seriously over the last few months. “It was a surprise to be placed top three. I’ve just joined a running club recently – Winston Runners – so I’m with them every week and do longer runs as well. I only live just behind the park so I run here quite a lot and I’m used to all the tracks and the different terrain.”
Close behind her was Zoe Gmerek in 45mins 21secs, followed shortly after by Rebecca Antcliffe in 45mins 36secs. The three top finishers received a bottle of prosecco, a gift box containing health bars from Good Full Stop, and a hamper of healthy juices from WRRS Healthy Blend Partner Roots Collective.
Our oldest – and perhaps most inspiring – runner to cross the finish line in the 10K was 79-year-old Barbara Thackray, who took up running just three years ago to raise money for charity. She told WR: “Age is just a number. I’m 79. If you don’t use it, you lose it. And I was able to keep going, without walking. It wasn’t fast but it was trotting. I run every Sunday, I do a 10K. I get up about 6am-6.15am and go from my flat – 10K and back – to keep my legs in gear for the Trafford 10K, which I run for St Ann’s Hospice and, this year, I made £800 for the hospice. [I was] 77 [when I started] so never too old to start. My nephew, who is here on his bike and with his wife, his mum and my sister died at St Ann’s Hospice when she was 56, so three years ago. I said, ‘Lets run and raise money for the hospice.’”
Get the full results, here: https://results.sporthive.com/events/6312596116793748736.
To sign up to one of the two remaining WRRS events – in London and Leeds – visit womensrunninguk.co.uk/raceseries/.