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Plan to make big races more eco-friendly

28 August 2019

Runners in the Williams BMW Half Marathon.

We're planning to make the 2019 Williams BMW Rochdale Half Marathon, 10K and Fun Run the greenest one yet, with a series of environmentally friendly measures introduced for 2019 in an effort to reduce the event's carbon footprint when it returns in October.

Changes include:

  • Plastic cups used for dispensing water at feed stations are being replaced with recyclable paper ones. Paper cups will also be used in place of over 1,000 plastic water bottles previously handed to runners at the finish line.
  • Over 1,300 runners' technical t-shirts will be supplied without their usual plastic wrapping.
  • Paper use has been further reduced, with all registration documents and race instructions supplied to runners digitally.
  • Start times have been put back by an hour, to give participants more time to get to the event by public transport. With Metrolink and bus stops a short hop from the start line and the train station only 10 minutes' walk from the event, entrants are being encouraged to consider getting to Rochdale town centre by public transport.
  • New re-usable signage will be used on the route, avoiding the need to have new signage made until at least 2021.
  • Goodie bags won't be issued to runners.

A bus leaving Rochdale Interchange.

Councillor Janet Emsley, our cabinet member for neighbourhoods, community and culture said:

"We're trying to make significant steps in the right direction and exploring what can be done, this year with a few measures that will lead to more changes in the future. Some have been simple things we've been able do ourselves - others have involved conversations with our suppliers, who have been supportive and happy to make the changes.  We still want the event to grow but we want it to have less impact on the environment. I also hope that with growing events like this that get people active we can play a part in getting people walking or running more often … being environmentally friendly while training can stay with you and become a way of life."

Councillor Janet Emsley.

The popular event returns on Sunday, 6 October 2019. All races start and finish by the Grade I-listed Rochdale Town Hall. They will be chip-timed on fully-marshalled traffic-free courses, with a technical t-shirt and medal handed out to finishers. 

'Significant steps in the right direction'

Since 2015 over 4,500 people have taken part in the event, which sets out on routes taking in town and some of the North West's most picturesque countryside scenes like Hollingworth Lake. 

The half marathon leaves the town hall along the Esplanade and runs the edge of Broadfield Park, before heading through to Rochdale Canal at Oldham Road Basin. The route then heads past Kingsway Business Park and Smithy Bridge along the canal. Close to the Waterside Restaurant, the route leaves the tow path and heads up Hollingworth Road towards Hollingworth Lake, making a clockwise loop of the lake. It then returns down Hollingworth Road and back on to the canal. The race retraces its outward route from the town hall until it reaches Broadfield Park, where runners will go through the park before re-joining The Esplanade for the final sprint to the finish line.

A runner with a water bottle.

The 10K follows the same route as the half marathon on to the canal, but leaves the canal at the swing bridge at Kingsway Business Park, making a loop of pleasant cycleways, before returning to the canal and the same finishing route as the half marathon.

The fun run retains the same route, setting out from the town hall and up into the beautiful Broadfield Park, taking a scenic route around the award-winning historic grounds. There's a short climb past the statue of Rochdale's political giant John Bright before entering the park. Once at the bandstand it's all downhill to The Esplanade for the return to the finish line at the town hall.

The event is organised by Middleton Harriers, Rochdale Harriers and Rochdale Triathlon Club, supported by us.

The official charity for the event is Springhill Hospice.

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