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Tour of Tameside – Patrick Wadsworth takes in this northern multi-stage event

Last year on a visit to my In-Laws it was suggested that I took part in a 7 mile run with my sister in law and her partner.  Anything for a PB I thought as I had never run a 7 mile race before.  I met them at their house and we walked DOWN the steep hill to the centre of Hyde where the race started.  I was warned that the race route ran passed their house and it was about halfway up the first hill.  How true that was! As well as those just doing the 7 miler there were people with different coloured numbers who had been at events on previous days and so I discovered the Tour of Tameside.  There was also someone at the end who seemed vaguely familiar.  I then twigged that the Dr Ron Hyde 7 miler was named after Dr Ron Hill runner and founder of the clothing line.

Patrick Tour of Tameside 10k trail

So this year found me entered into the event for all four days.  I travelled up on Thursday afternoon to Oldham Rugby Club (make sure you get the Rugby Union Club not the Rugby League Club!) and a short walk to the start of the 10k trail run.  Lots of local running clubs represented.  Although the start was along a road there was a long steep climb to start followed by a steep descent then some lovely running through two country parks.  The finish was alongside a river in a wooded valley and the first medal of the weekend collected.  Stunning scenery and stunning hills – a situation that continued for the remaining events.

Patrick tour of tame fell.jpg

Friday night was a 6 mile Fell run (clearly yesterdays run was a modern run in kilometres and todays was a traditional run in miles!)  A new discipline to me and I had some difficulty finding the start as the postcode took me to a care home rather than a sports centre.  Running short of time I abandoned the car in a backstreet and set off cross country to the start at a nearby reservoir.  A lovely steep downhill start followed by the inevitable uphill and across farmers fields and out onto the fells.  Reaching the top and with less than two miles to go the route started down and got steeper and steeper.  As a cautious downhill runner I was soon passed by local runners throwing caution to the wind and more experience who came flying past.  I was catching some on the gentler slopes but on the steep parts they were much quicker.  Great fun and a new experience.

Saturday morning saw the half marathon from Padfield.  Most of the run is an out and back along the old railway line to Woodhead and so was flat but being in the North we had to start with a half mile steep down and up before we got to the trackbed.  Lovely scenery and the weather was cooler than the previous two nights.  Being out and back made for a nice event as you knew where water stations were and saw runners at different stages.

Patrick Tour of Tameside half mara

Sunday saw the final event – a return to the 7 mile road run.  Not as hot as last year and even with three events in my legs I ran faster as I knew just how many hills to expect.  A fitting end to four days of racing and those that had done all four events collected a framed plaque in addition to their final medal.

Patrick Tour of Tameside medals

I found the whole event really fun.  Each event was different and the distances were such that you knew you had been for a hard run but recovery was possible before the next one.  It was great to see people in the towns standing on their doorsteps and encouraging runners.  One highlight was to see the road closures – two burly local council workers turn up with traditional Stop/Go signs and just walk out into the main road and turn the sign to Stop. It was lovely and casual.  No aggro that I could see from drivers and I can’t see that being enough in the south!

Patrick Tour of Tameside picture frame

A really nice type of event.  It is a pity there are not more events of this type but I can see that organising it must take a lot of work.

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