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Making Tameside Proud Nicola shines at Greater Manchester Sports Awards
Wednesday 22nd November 2017 @ 11:50 by Mark Phillip

Mossley Running Club secretary Nicola Steen says she’s in complete shock after winning the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Greater Manchester Sports Awards.

The 39-year-old was crowned victorious at the star-studded glitzy event, which took place at the Point, Old Trafford last week.

Devised by Greater Sport, the ceremony was hosted by BBC Radio Manchester presenter Chelsea Norris, with guest speaker Gary Neville also taking to the stage.

Nicola qualified for the awards after winning the same category at the Pride of Tameside Sports Awards in September.

She was joined by a string of other local nominees, including Curzon Ashton chairman Harry Twamley, who was nominated in the Unsung Hero of Year category, plus Droylsden Amateur Boxing Club’s Ian Harrison, who qualified for the Coach of the Year category.

Nicola, whose running journey began seven years ago, said she felt sick upon hearing her name announced as the winner. Speaking to Reporter Sport, she said: “I keep smiling to myself about it now and then.

“The other nominations were so great and had some really amazing things. I was more than happy that I had won the Tameside award, so it was a complete surprise when they said my name on Friday. I actually felt sick, either through shock or the thought of having to make a speech in front of all those people – I’m not sure which!”

While the running club was formed in 2015, Nicola’s love for the sport began five years earlier after having a child.

Naturally, an increase in weight followed, which prompted Nicola into action.

However, with limited time available for exercise, she decided to take to the streets instead of joining a gym. The results since then have been remarkable. She said: “I remember that day like it was yesterday, and I was so pleased with what I’d achieved.

“I think it must have been less than a quarter of a mile, but I kept at it and just ran further and further each time until I was running religiously every Sunday morning with my neighbour doing 5k.

“I then ran the 2014 Mossley 10k as my first official race, and have since done three half marathons and improved in ways I never would have dreamed of or even considered.”

Such is Nicola’s passion for running, she has decided to enter all four stages of the 2018 Tour of Tameside. She added: “I took part in one leg of this year’s Tour of Tameside, which was the High Peak Half Marathon on the hottest day of the year. We had lots of club runners complete the whole event and I think the numbers will double next year.

“Sports Tours International, who organize the event, have also kindly donated a full tour place for us to raffle off at our presentation evening on Friday.”

While Nicola loves to smash her own personal targets, she takes just as much pleasure from helping others achieve theirs.

And while running the club is a time consuming hobby, Nicola wouldn’t have it any other way. She said: “It can be time consuming – some parts of the month more than others – but I think I’m quite good at managing my time. I work part time which allows me to allocate chunks of time if needed and my husband is very understanding about it all which helps – more so after he has seen the recognition for what I’ve been doing.”

“It’s such a lovely feeling to see all the runners turning up each week, with people achieving goals they never thought possible.

“The thing I love most is the lifelong friendships that have been formed. It has been great for bringing the community together, and you can’t go anywhere locally these days without bumping into a fellow Mossley runner.”