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Determined Debbie strides out again
Friday 2nd June 2017 @ 10:01 by Mark Phillip

The Tour of Tameside returns to the borough for a third consecutive year in two weeks’ time.

Like many runners competing in this year’s event, Debbie Barras is relishing the opportunity to push herself to the limit both physically and mentally.

Unfortunately, Debbie can only take part in the opening leg on Thursday, June 15, due to holiday commitments.


However, the fitness enthusiast is determined to make the most of her time in what she describes as a ‘fantastic occasion’.

Speaking to Reporter Sport ahead of the tour, Debbie, 33, said: “I’m only doing the Cross Trail 10k this year due to holiday commitments, as me and my husband are going on a Scandinavian Baltic Cruise over the weekend of the tour.

“I’m really excited to be joined alongside other runners at the start line in what promises to be a fantastic event.”

Debbie has enjoyed a physical transformation in recent months, thanks in no small part to running.

In fact, the former Copley Academy student has lost six stone in less than a year.

Detailing how her love for running started, Debbie said: “At the beginning of last year, a friend on Facebook shared a link to the Hyde Striders ‘stride out’ course, which they do three times a year.

“I jumped at the chance straight away to take up the offer, although I was a little nervous at first, as I thought ‘how am I ever going to be able to run’, but I knew that it would be ok because all my friends told me how amazing it was.

“Obviously running is great for getting fit and losing weight, but it’s also important for your mental health as well.”

Debbie owes her incredible weight loss to a healthier way living and the Hyde Striders Running Club.

Having started out with small steps at first, Debbie soon became a running addict and has recently completed the London Marathon. She said: “If anybody had told me two years ago that I’d lose six stone in weight and run a marathon, I wouldn’t have believed them.

“I had so much fun completing the London Marathon, and to complete it in less than five hours was a fantastic achievement.”

Debbie heaped praise on the Hyde Striders and explained how important they were to helping her achieve her goals. “Hyde Striders is such a fantastic club” she said.

“There’s support for everybody, regardless of your age, fitness or ability, and there’s always a coach there to encourage you.

“Some people will be really nervous when they begin the course and won’t know what’s expected of them, but the coaches will guide them, depending on what their fitness is, and they will basically keep them going.

“Regardless of whether you’re a six minute per mile runner, or a 16 minute per mile runner, it’s amazing.”

Although Debbie is an accomplished runner who enjoys a tough challenge, she still believes that enjoyment is the key to success. She added: “I’m signed up for the Chester Marathon in October, but I think for now the priority is to just keep on running.

“I’ve achieved the London Marathon dream which I always wanted to do, but at the moment I just want to keep enjoying running – and to do that I have to keep it fun!

“I don’t want to make it a chore, and as soon as I feel it’s becoming a chore, I’ll have to change it up.

“At the moment it’s fantastic, and I absolutely love it.”

With less than two weeks until the tour kicks off, Debbie offered potential runners with some sound advice. “If you really want to start running, just give it a go” said Debbie.

“Don’t get disheartened if things don’t go too well at the beginning.

“Start with a beginners course and run little and often, but more important than anything else, just enjoy it.”