Mike Strides Out For Tour
Thursday 21st April 2016 @ 15:22 by Mark Phillip

The Tour of Tameside Running event returns to the borough in eight weeks’ time.

Hundreds of runners are expected to take part in this year’s competition which will stretch from Thursday, June 16, until Sunday, June 19.

Created in 1981 by Dr Ron Hill MBE, the iconic event returned last year following a 14 year absence and attracted more than 500 participants across a three day period.

However, due to the positive feedback from last year’s race, the event organisers have decided to host an additional leg this time round – The Cross Trail 10k.

The picturesque course will guide participants through Park Bridge Country Park, leading to a long flat straight disused railway, before finally heading under Ashton Road to take on the second part of the Cross Trail in Daisy Nook.

The extra leg has certainly whet the appetites of runners across the borough – none more so than Hyde Village Striders Head Coach, Mike Mason.

Having won a free tour courtesy of an Active Tameside competition, Mike is set for a challenging few days. He said: “I’m glad to see that the tour has been revived as it can only be a good thing for the borough.

“I didn’t take part last year, although I completed three tours when it originally started.

“It was always billed as a double marathon over six days which proved to be a real challenge.”

Mike’s love for running will see him to travel to the Capital this weekend for the globally claimed London Marathon.

Despite marking his 15th marathon to date, Mike is excited nonetheless. He added: “I’m currently finishing a 16 week training programme which has been tailored for the race.

“The crowds make it one of my favourite races, although I love Manchester too because of the flat surface.

“However, with London being the capital, it makes it a bit special.”

Upon completing the marathon, Mike is set to take a week off before taking to the streets once again in preparation for Junes challenge.

Given the severity of his running regime, you might think that Mike suffers from low motivation from time to time.

However, if those periods do occur, his wife – and fellow running coach – Liz, is there to help him out. He said: “I originally got into running because of my wife who encouraged me.

“I’d been running for years on my own, but she invited me to a session at Hyde which eventually evolved into a coaching role.”

An elite runner herself, Liz recently competed in the 31 mile canalathon event, encompassing a mix of terrain from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire.

When questioned about the severity of such a race, Mike highlighted the importance of setting a pace. He said: “A 31 mile event is done at a slower pace and the training is a bit more steady.

“You’re not going out Hell for leather all the time, and because it’s done over a long period, you need the right intake of food and drink.”

Depending on your view of the situation, some runners have the pleasure – or displeasure – of competing in a 46 mile race – not that you’ll see Mike competing one.

He said: “Some of the runners from our club did the 75km version, which is 46 miles.

“You could actually go up to 60 miles, although none of our club members did that.

“It’s not for me either. I did the canalathon last year, and that was enough for me.

“There’s definitely a limit.”

With less than eight weeks before the tour kicks off, Mike offered some sound advice for beginners. He concluded: “Anyone who’s looking to start running shouldn’t go too far too soon.

“Build it up gradually, and make use of a sports massage if you have access to one.
“A good weight programme also helps core strength, which is massively important in running.”