The 2016 edition of the Tour of Tameside received the fitting finale it deserved with close to 400 runners and hundreds of spectators descending on Hyde Town Hall for the last stage of the event. Familiar faces adorned the podium, with 2015 champions Mohammad Abu-Rezeq and Kirsty Longley taking the spoils on the day while also securing overall victories at the Tour.
Race organisers Sports Tours International reintroduced the new version of the Tour which was founded by marathon legend Ron Hill in 1983. The much-loved event returned with a bang in 2015 with more than 500 runners taking part.
First up on the four day challenge was the Cross Trail 10K at Daisy Nook and Park Bridge country parks on Thursday 16 June. In what was an early test for the 350 plus field, Abu-Rezeq (34:29) claimed a marginal victory ahead of Gareth Raven (34:33), while Kirsty Longley (40:10) claimed top billing ahead of Vicky Wright (40:26).
Next up was Copley and a testing 7 mile fell run which started alongside Walkerwood Reservoir. Abu-Rezeq (35:25) faced another fierce challenge yet prevailed with a one second victory ahead of Joe Steward. Longley (40:59) was ousted from top position by Anna Lupton (40:13).
The penultimate stage of the Tour saw 373 runners tackle the High Peak Half Marathon on Saturday 18 June. With a fast and flat course, the half offered a welcome respite after the exertions of the previous two days and saw Abu-Rezeq really take hold of the competition with a convincing victory in 1:12:38, with Andy Norman second (1:12:56). Longley (1:27:23) was the out and out victor in the female field, crossing the line ahead of Vicky Wright (1:29:12).
Last up was the Hyde 7, and with a palpable air of excitement, Tour runners completed their four day challenge to the applause of spectators as they reached the finish line at Market Street. Abu-Rezeq claimed overall victory in convincing fashion with a winning time of 34:43 (accumulated time of 2:57:15), and said the added exertions took their toll: “The extra day was tough! The fell race was the most challenging but today was great, and I really enjoyed the half marathon yesterday.
Longley was able to secure the championship in style, but, in contrast to the male winner, seemed to enjoy the added day of competition: “I was faster running four stages, it was more of a challenge but I was able to push myself so I preferred that. The atmosphere has been amazing, the fell race was tough but I gave it my best shot!”
There are some great shots of this year’s Tour on Sports Tours International’s Facebook page, you can view them here.