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Runners put their best foot forward for hospice care


With just a few days to go until hundreds of runners take to the streets of Rochdale town centre for this year’s Rochdale Half Marathon and 10K run, the list of people who are running to support Springhill Hospice continues to grow.

Springy the Hospice mascot called into Council headquarters at Number One Riverside earlier this week to meet three of these runners who are taking on this year’s challenge.

Having recently moved to the area, for Assistant Director John Rooney, a seasoned half marathon runner, it is a chance to sign up for his first encounter with the Rochdale circuit – known for its scenic beauty and traffic-free course - and will proudly be running in a Springhill Hospice vest.

Said John, “I feel strongly that hospice care is important and I’m pleased to have the opportunity to run to raise money for Springhill which does such a fantastic job here in this borough. It is one of the Mayor’s charities and a number of my colleagues have a strong connection with the Hospice, giving their time as volunteers or raising money, and I’m delighted to be able to make a personal contribution to this great cause.”

For Rick Eckersley, one of a six person Council team running on the day, it is three years since he’s run a 10K and his entry is part of his own personal fitness campaign having successfully lost 2½ stone since April. He’s setting himself a target of finishing in under one hour and has been running 5Ks every other day. Colleague Dilip Mistry however admits that he “hasn’t actually started to train yet” and in this his first attempt at taking on a 10K, he jokingly says he “expects to walk most of the way” and his target is “I just hope to finish!”

They will be joined on the day by a team of sixteen runners from Oulder Hill Community School and unofficial team captain Sue Farrell said, “We are a group of mixed running abilities and we’re looking forward to getting together and raising as much money as possible for Springhill, which is a local charity close to our hearts. We have all been training really hard and are looking forward to a fun day.”

Springhill Hospice is the official charity of the Rochdale Half Marathon/­10K/­Fun Run and Springy the Hospice mascot will be there to set off the runners.

Community Support Fundraiser Barbara Lloyd said, “We want to thank each and every person who is taking part to raise money for the Hospice. We will be there on Sunday and we hope everyone will come over to see us and say hello. I’m sure there will be a great crowd of people to cheer the runners on.”

The Springhill Hospice green gazebo will be located near the official stand of event sponsor Williams BMW at the Town Hall where cars on display will include the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sports car.


Getting ready for the big day, left to right, Rick, John and Dilip

Springy presents John with his running vest