A TOTAL of 500 competitors took to the start line on Sunday in a successful second running of Radcliffe Athletic Club's popular 13 Arches Half Marathon.

The field was increased by 200 from the first event last year in response to demand, and it once again sold out as runners travelled from as far afield as South Wales, London and the south east to take part.

Amy Harris, of Horsham Amphibians Triathlon in West Sussex, won the women's race in a time of 1hr 30mins 58secs, putting her 19th overall.

But the remaining podium places were taken up by local runners.

Bury Athletic Club had two runners on the podium in the men's race. Ben Coop finished well clear, coming home in 1:19:44, more than a minute ahead of unattached runner Adam Gorski (1:20:54) in second place, while club-mate Patrick Babb was third in 1:21:17.

Liz McLellan (V45), from Burnden Road Runners in Bolton, was second in the women's event in 1:36:52, while Astley and Tyldesley Road Runners' Josie Maley-Jones was third in 1:37:32.

The chip-timed course started from Radcliffe AC's Nellie Halstead track on Cams Lane and ran along the scenic Irwell Valley Sculpture Trail, through Hurst Wood and Philips Park before reaching the race's centre point – a listed 13-arched railway viaduct.

More than 400 runners finished the event, which was followed by a presentation ceremony at Cams Lane Primary School.

Radcliffe AC president Tom West and race director Fiona Lynch handed out the prizes, while all runners received a goodie bag and a medal.

Massages were available at the finish line and club members sold homemade cakes and biscuits, raising £361 for The Christie charity in memory of Eileen Royle, the club's former head coach, who died earlier this year.  

Radcliffe members picked up a number of honours at the Central Lancs Grand Prix prize presentation at Astley Bridge Cricket Club in Bolton.

They had competed in up to 10 races throughout the season battling against another nine clubs, with the best seven races in the series counting for each runner.

Neal Emmerson was the highest placed Radcliffe runner in the open age category, finishing fourth, while Iain Harris was first in the V65 category and Jim Rhodes was first V75. Mauro Rotondi was second V45, Lucy Dewhurst was second female V35 and Kirsten Cook was second V55.

Radcliffe's mixed A team was fourth, their mixed B team was second and the women's team was fourth.

Two members – Sarah Rushton and Chris Fletcher – earned special mementos for finishing all 10 races, while 10 members – Lucy Dewhurst, Iain Harris, Wayne Holden, Ian Hopkinson, Peter Hunter, Kris Lee, Chris Paxton, Jim Rhodes, Chris Saville and Ian Warrington – received awards for completing nine events.

There was another great turnout from Radcliffe when 38 members took part in the third meeting of the Red Rose Cross Country League, which was held at Leverhulme Park in Bolton on Saturday.

A total of 19 men, 14 women and five juniors from the club battled their way through muddy conditions. Donna Cartwright was the best-placed Radcliffe runner, finishing ninth out of 102 entrants in the women's race and first V40. She was followed by Katie Percival (24th) and Jenny Yates (28th, third V50) as the women's team finished fourth.

Neal Emmerson was the best male finisher in 16th, followed by Dave McGrath (42nd), Chris Paxton (62nd) and Ian Warrington (63rd).