Despite freak weather and the danger of long-distance running dominating the headlines, the Greater Manchester Marathon returned after ten years with a bang on Sunday.
More than 8,000 runners registered, but it is thought only 4,500 set off from the Longford Park, Stretford, starting point at 9am.
The region was battered by heavy rain and winds which crushed cars, blocked roads and caused flooding – but keen runners were determined to complete the 26.2 mile route.
Chris Wilson, a runner with Preston Harriers, said: “It was the best one I’ve ever done which was bizarre.”
He praised the organisation of the event and the quality of the route compared with the hard, bumpy pavements in the London Marathon.
The route is said to be one of the flattest in the world and so attracts first-time marathon runners and those wishing to get a personal best time.
Brian Mullan, 42, from Stretford, also praised the Manchester route and, despite the weather, managed to beat his time at last week’s London Marathon, despite the harsher conditions.
Runners passed Manchester attractions, including Lancashire County Cricket Club Old Trafford and the Imperial War Museum.
Myra Jones, 29, praised spectators for their support.
She said: “Even though the weather was bad, a lot of people turned up so that was really good.”
Runners took to the streets of Greater Manchester to raise money for charities.
Andy Wratthal, 23, who did the run in fancy dress, raised nearly £400 for Wythenshawe Hospital.
Last week’s London Marathon dominated the news after Claire Squires became the eleventh person and first woman to die at the event since 1990.
One of the worst recent death tolls for a race was the 2005 Great North Run in which four people died.