RUNNERS are signing-up for the UK’s ‘toughest’ half-marathon which tackles 1,100 ft of climbs through the Pennine Hills above Oldham, between Greater Manchester and Yorkshire.

Oldham Half Marathon The 2017 Oldham Half Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 15, and previous races have been sell-outs. This is the third consecutive year that the road run has been held and entries have grown strongly since it was first launched in 2015.

There are cash prizes for top-placed individuals and teams, and a special prize for anyone who can beat the current course record set by local Commonwealth runner Andi Jones.

Oldham Community Leisure (OCL) is the key organiser. The October run is part of a series of four ‘Milltown Races’ runs and triathlons organised by OCL through the year. Others are a 7k and 10k run, and a triathlon featuring running, cycling and swimming.

The half marathon was developed from earlier road runs in the area. Runners are attracted to Oldham’s Milltown Races from across the UK, including Scotland and Cornwall. Northern running clubs are strongly represented and the half marathon is a great event for spectators too.

Paddy Wolstenholme, fitness team leader at OCL, said: “The Oldham Half Marathon has an especially challenging reputation because of its 11,000 ft of ascents. It’s a serious proposition and represents a great challenge for runners.

“But it also provides spectacular views of Pennine moors and valleys, along with towns and villages across the Oldham and Saddleworth area, which adjoin the Peak District National Park. It’s a great mix of urban and rural environments.”

The Oldham Half Marathon starts at 9.30am in Oldham town centre’s High Street then follows a route taking in Huddersfield Road, Moorside, Grains Bar, Delph, Greenfield, Grasscroft, Lydgate, Lees, Glodwick and then back into central Oldham.

There are cash prizes for individual men and women runners who come in first, second and third positions; for men and women teams who finish first, and for veterans. There are also T-shirts and medals for all runners.

The double cash prize will go to whoever can set a new course record currently held by Andi Jones at 1:09:52.2. Andi grew up in nearby Tameside and was formerly a teacher in Rochdale. He specialises in road, cross-country and fell running and has enjoyed many successes.

Places for the Oldham Half Marathon are limited to 500 so sign-up soon to make sure you don’t miss out. Entry is £25 and all runners must be aged 18 or over.

To register, visit milltownraces.co.uk then click on the Milltown Half Marathon 2017 Sign Up button. The website includes a route map and other information about Milltown Races events.