Running Clubs In Greater Manchester

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Spotlight On Burnden Roadrunners

Burnden Roadrunners

Burnden Roadrunners’ history can be traced back more than 30 years and involves a wonderful tale of feathered tales, klaxons and a challenge laid down to their local football club, Bolton Wanderers…

A Little Club History? In 1983, Vince Regan, a former international runner approached John McGovern (manager of Bolton Wanderers) to run in Bolton’s Adidas British Marathon. John rose to the challenge and invited others to join him under the name of the Wanderers Lifeline Team. Following the event, they continued to run and raise money for local charities, thus the Lifeline Running Group began. In 1985, the group became a fully-fledged athletics club whose name was a nod to the then home of Bolton Wanderers, Burnden Park.

Why Roadrunners? This part of the name is inspired by one of its early members renowned for his participation in events dressed as the original roadrunner with a feathered tail flowing and klaxon blaring.

Claim To Fame? In 1988, 16 runners completed the ‘Pebble Relay’, a non-stop relay run from John O’Groats to Lands End, when they chopped 16 hours off their scheduled five day slog. The pebble collected from John O’Groats beach at 6am on 5 June was hurled into the sea at Lands End, four days, eight hours and 30 minutes later. Although many clubs had completed this feat, especially during the 1960s, it is believed that Burnden were the first club from the area to attempt it.

How Many Members? We have 124 members, with a dramatic increase in membership over the last four years. We have a Facebook page, website and regularly appear in the athletics section of the local paper. Our VET membership is particularly strong, but we also have athletes under 40, or ‘infants’ as we call them!

We Train… On Mondays we meet at Smithills Sports Centre, Bolton. There are usually about three different sessions on offer, varying from new starters/beginners/lighter effort to faster pace. In summer, we offer off-road options on the trails/moors above Bolton. On Wednesday evenings, a more informal grouping meets at Rivington and Blackrod School and on Thursdays at Smithills, an indoor circuit training session runs 7.30-8.30pm.

We Compete... Members compete in road, fell and cross country leagues. Central Lancs Grand Prix, National Relay Championships, British and UK Fell championship and South East Lancs/Red Rose Cross Country respectively; and regularly win championship, team and VET categories.

Favourite Training Run? Has to be the Mast or its kid brother, the Half Mast. The Mast is a seven mile loop that takes us up onto the moors above Bolton, the Winter Hill TV mast and sometimes Two Lads, before returning to base via Barrow Bridge and Moss Bank Park.

Social Side? We don’t forget to have fun and have a dedicated social secretary in Julie Newton, who has arranged all kinds of events from Halloween and Christmas events through to the more unusual, such as scavenger hunts and bowling nights.

Club Stalwarts? Paul Christie, Neil Nuttall, Simon Marland all have 20 plus years association with the club in many different capacities as club officers and runners.

Our Club Run... Is the Trotters 5, which is part of the Central Lancs Grand Prix and is organised for 2 March this year.  It is growing in popularity and now attracts 350 runners. In the past we used Horrock’s Fold Trails for our ‘Smithills Serpent’ race, which local runners jokily referred to as the only flat run they had ever done that was located on the side of a hill!

Local parkrun?  Bolton parkrun is the club’s local event and we always aim to have a strong turnout. Our current chairman Robert Short has won the males points competition for the past two years.

For more information, visit their website.


Interview featured in Northern Running Guide Spring 2014