Two runners who took part in the Tour of Tameside for 20 consecutive years are set to hit the pavements again this weekend when the iconic event returns after an absence of more than a decade. Neil Atherton and Neville McGraw will compete alongside hundreds of other runners this weekend (19-21 June) when Sports Tours International launch a new version of the original tour.
Neil and Neville were two of four runners nicknamed ‘the Famous Four,’ who took part in the original Tour of Tameside every year for 20 successive years. Jim Foster and Dave O’Leary also took part each year: sadly, Dave O’Leary recently passed away and will be remembered during the event.
Commenting on taking on the challenge again, Neil said: “It feels good to be preparing for the return of the Tour of Tameside. It will definitely bring back some great memories for me. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to get round as fast as I could 20 years ago, but I will definitely give the race my best shot.”
Neville, 69, is also taking in the event and is very pleased that the Tour is returning. He said: “There has been lots of talk and rumours about the Tour’s return, but it’s great that it has now become a reality. One of the stages of the Tour is a lap of my home village so I would like to get involved! I’m probably one of the oldest competitors so it would be a tough one to finish but if I do compete I will look forward to the challenge.”
The tour kicks off this Friday (19 June), with a six mile fell race at Copley Leisure Centre in Stalybridge, followed by the High Peak Half Marathon run along the Longdendale trail on Saturday, before finishing with a seven mile race around Hyde on Sunday.
You can keep up-to-date with all the latest news at this weekend’s tour by following their Twitter feed.