CAT JESSOP was surprised to finish women’s runner up in the Milltown to Moors Oldham Half Marathon.
The 32-year-old, who works two days each week at Saddleworth Museum, was taking part in her first ever 13.1 mile race on the road.
Cat, from Littleborough, was also in her comeback race after a three-month injury lay off.
“I fell over fell running and sustained a stress fracture of my tibia,” she explained.
“I had only just returned to training so was really chuffed to do so well, especially as I don’t do much road running.”
Cat clocked 1hr 33min 5sec to finish 55 seconds behind winner Sophie Wood, from Royton Road Runners.
Ultra distance off-road races are preferred by Cat who is also a keen triathlete and the women’s winner in the Milltown to Moors Sprint Triathlon for each of the two years it has been held.
In third place in the women’s event at the Oldham Half Marathon was Gaynor Keane, from Austerlands, who was also first in the 40 years age category in time of 1:34.42.
She also helped Saddleworth Runners win the women’s team prize with Helena Butler and Kim Thorpe the two other team members.
Gaynor was delighted as this was her first race since sustaining a stress fracture of her ankle in July, and it was only a last-minute decision to enter.
Gaynor, who had previously finished runner-up and third in the half marathon, said: “I didn’t expect to do as well as I did. My time was as good as my personal best for the race.”
She also got to run in the event for the first time with husband Alan who, as the former race director, was unable previously to compete.
Alan, who was in the 55/59 years age group, finished in 48th place overall in a time of 1:45.21.
The men’s race produced a one-two for Salford Harriers from Bruno Lima and Jan Pichl in 1:17.10 and 1:17.37 respectively.
In third place was Royton Road Runners’ Rob James in 1:17.55.
The leading local finishers were triathlete Martin Cain, eighth in 1:25.35 and Saddleworth Runners’ Ian Kenworthy in 1:27.14.
There was a field of 263 runners in the half marathon.
Firefighters at Oldham Fire Station on Lees Road supported the event too by arranging water sprinklers to keep the runners cool on what was believed to be the hottest day the event has ever experienced.
The 13.1 mile route began in Oldham town centre’s High Street then headed along Yorkshire Street and Huddersfield Road before taking in Huddersfield Road, Ripponden Road, Moorside, Grains Bar, Grains Road, Delph, Ladcastle Road above Uppermill and then Greenfield. The final stretch brought runners west through Grasscroft, Lydgate, Lees and Glodwick into Oldham town centre via Waterloo Street.
Dates for 2018 Milltown to Moors events will be released later this year. Visit www.milltownraces.co.uk