A record of 16,500 runners took to the streets last weekend for the Manchester Half.

The half marathon returned on Sunday with the route starting in Old Trafford and travelling through Sale and Stretford as well as the city centre.

At the front of the field were the elite runners with the men's event and the women's event won by Jack Rowe and Lauren McNeil respectively.

Mr Rowe, who was followed by Andrew Heyes and Tommy Power in second and third, ran a course-record 1:02:40, while Ms McNeil, who was followed by Lauren Howarth and Gemma Astin in second and third, ran a course-record 1:10:02.

Messenger Newspapers: The top three in the men's event

They were followed by thousands of other runners in support of their chosen charities.

The theme was Express Yourself and all of the participants in the Manchester Half received one of dozens of different medals in a first for it.

There were six different designs celebrating icons of Greater Manchester from Alan Turing to Noel Gallagher and six different ribbons in a range of colours and combinations.

Additionally, all of the participants were able to create their own bib by choosing a background, an emoji and a flag. They were able to add their reason for running as well.

Messenger Newspapers: The top three in the women's event

The aim was to encourage everyone to celebrate their individuality and to express their uniqueness.

Andrew Smith, chief executive of organiser Human Race, said: "What an incredible day of action. The people of Greater Manchester continue to show why this is the UK’s most welcoming location. 

"It is no surprise this event is seeing record demand as everybody wants this unforgettable experience."

The record of 16,500 runners constitutes an increase in capacity but the event still sold out two months in advance this year. The entry for next year opened this week.

For information go to MCRHalf.co.uk. 

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.