Words by Iain Blackwood Hobbs
THE annual ‘ultimate running challenge’, The Tour of Tameside, saw a record breaking 1,200 runners compete over the four-day event.
Competitors took part in the back-to-back stages which consisted of the X-Trail 10k, Hell on the Fell, Hero Half Marathon and Dr Ron Hyde 7 mile road race.
Organised by Sports Tours International, the iconic event attracted a good mix of club-class competitors, social runners and charity fundraisers for its fourth consecutive year.
Local clubs, Mossley Running Club and Hyde Village Striders were out in force to represent Tameside.
Mohammed Aburezeq, from Altrincham & District AC, who led the men’s proceedings after the X-Trail 10k, eventually ran out the overall winner in the men’s category in 03:01.16.
The 2017 winner, Gareth Raven from Sale Harriers Manchester, battled hard to stay in touch with Aburezeq across the four days but finished in second place overall with time of 03:03:36.
Joseph Hudak of East Cheshire Harriers & Tames finished third overall in the men’s category.
Kirsty Longley from, Liverpool Pembroke & Sefton Harriers, was unrivalled in all four stages and led with the yellow to jersey to win the overall female category.
Lonley completed the tour in 03:29:47, with nearest rival, Susie Cheshire, who finished in 03:42.07, taking second place.
Emma Finney from Sale Harriers Manchester finished third overall in the female category.
Aburezeq and Lonley both ran out winners across all four stages. Lonley retained her title from 2017.
Kevin Harmer, UK Events and Sponsorship Manager at Sports Tour International told the Correspondent, “We were delighted with the 2018 Tour, as more numbers entered than ever before and all of the adjustments we made were to make an even better customer experience and it all came off as we had hoped.”
Harmer added that is was great to see a mix of runners from local clubs and those participating from overseas.
He said: “Highlights are always seeing runners on the start line and all of our hard work coming together.
“It’s great to see local Tameside runners line up against runners from all over the UK and even clubs from Germany and Australia.”
Sports Tours International, who re-launched The Tour in 2015, worked hard behind the scenes to improve the event and provide a better running experience for participants.
Since being relaunched, each year has seen an increase in entries.
“After bringing the Tour back in 2015, the event has grown on average 25 per-cent each year and this year has been no exception,” said Harmer.
“With an increased number of runners, sponsors and partners on all four days, the event has again been a fantastic showcase and will help further in getting the whole borough on the move.”
The 2019 dates are to be confirmed but runners can expect to see The Tour again in the middle of June next year.