On the back of another successful Tour of Tameside, Chris Bird from organisers Sports Tours International said that the continued success of the event lies in the fact it remains about runners getting “together to enjoy themselves”. After the close of the four-day event at Hyde on Sunday, he added: “We want it to be the peoples’ race, and we want it to be a community race.”
Founded by Dr. Ron Hill in 1983, the Tour of Tameside was re-introduced in 2015 and proved to be an immediate success with over 500 runners taking part. Last year resulted in a further upturn with competitors thriving on the multi-stage format and enjoying a fitting finale at Hyde Town Hall.
This year proved to be no different with 1000 runners lining up to take part in the four stage event, which commenced on Thursday with the X-Trail 10K in Daisy Nook and Park Bridge Country Parks before moving onto Stage 2 on Friday evening, at the infamous ‘Hell on the Fell’ in Copley. Stage 3 saw close to 500 competitors gain heroic status after completing the 13.1-mile ‘Hero Half Marathon’ down the Longendale Trail before a resounding finale at the Dr. Ron Hyde 7 Mile Road Race on Sunday.
In what was a fiercely contested (and warm) four days of running, Gareth Raven took the overall male title with a superb showing. The Sale Harrier took first place in each of the four legs, closing with an impressive 39:45 at Hyde.
Kirsty Longley of Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton successfully defended her female title by winning three of the four stages, including victory at Friday’s Hell on the Fell. Kirsty said: “I feel great, because I’ve won the Tour twice but I’ve never won the fell race. This is the third time I’ve completed the course, but it never gets easier – I just didn’t look behind!”
Just as it was a memorable day for Raven and Longley, so it proved to be for the 295 runners who completed each of the four races, making for a superb atmosphere throughout this year’s Tour of Tameside. Chris summed up the mood from this year’s field: “We’ve been blessed with the weather, we’ve had more runners than ever before, we’ve had great support from sponsors, and it’s just been tremendous.
“I also think with the backdrop of what’s gone on in the UK over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot of sadness in the country, so it was just great to have a big get-together over the last four days. I think it goes to show how a community can come together in the good times, as well as the bad times.”
Results from the Tour are available on our race listings page.