Emmaus set to benefit thanks to O’Donnell Solicitors
Monday 8th April 2019 @ 15:02 by Mark Phillip

Excitement is building ahead of the Tour of Tameside in June. 

Back for its fifth consecutive year, the iconic running event will be taking place across four days from June 13-16.

Sticking with the same format as the past three years, the event will start with the Cross Trail 10k on Thursday evening, followed by the Hell on the Fell on Friday night, the Hero Half Marathon on Saturday morning, and concluding with the Hyde 7 Mile on Sunday.

Revived by Sports Tours International in 2015 after more than a decade’s absence, the Tour has grown in popularity year on year and has attracted runners from as far as Germany, Australia and China.

A major part of the event’s success is predicated on the partnerships forged with local and regional businesses.

O’Donnell Solicitors, Saddleworth, has renewed its sponsorship for a further year.

Established three years ago by married couple James and Rebecca O’Donnell, the business has grown from strength-to-strength and now employs a number of key individuals in two separate offices.

Sponsoring the Tour is a way for James and his staff to practice what they preach. An advocate of health and fitness, James will once again be tackling all four days in aid of this year’s chosen charity, Emmaus Mossley.

He will be joined at each stage by fellow solicitor Suzzanne Gardner, who is also excited about the prospect of challenging herself both physically and mentally while at the same time raising money for a great cause.

Looking ahead to the event, James said he can’t wait to put his best foot forward when the Tour commences in 10 weeks’ time. “The Tour of Tameside is iconic, and I can’t believe it didn’t continue for all those years” he said.

“We’ve ran it for the last couple of years and each year it has grown exponentially. There are so many levels of different runner, and the community has come together in various areas of Tameside and it’s fantastic to see. 

“The benefits of building up to that physically and mentally are just brilliant. For us as a firm, we believe that the training develops a good mind-set for our staff. It helps them to balance work life, and there are definite benefits there.”

While each leg presents its own enjoyable challenges, the Hyde 7 Mile has become a real favourite amongst runners since its rebirth in 2015. Suzzanne is one of those runners and believes the carnival-like atmosphere is a massive source of inspiration. “My favourite leg has to be the Hyde 7 Mile, because it’s the last one” she joked.

“All the way through the event there are people cheering you on, whether you’re running up the hills or toiling in the half marathon. But the Hyde 7 is definitely the best one, as you can go out after it and have a celebration.”

James echoed Suzzanne’s views, adding: “The last one is my favourite race for all those reasons. I think for me personally, the second evening, the Hell on the Fell, is torture on the mind. When you’re running up those hills and you realise that there’s an eight-hour gap until the Half Marathon on Saturday, it can really tax you mentally – but that’s what makes it so great.”

With the Tour a matter of 10 weeks away, James and Suzzanne will be taking their training to new levels. As well as paving the pavements and racking up the miles, James has undertaken strength and conditioning sessions before his work day begins.

As tough and exhausting as training can be, the thought of raising money for a worthy cause is fuelling James’ fire. “Each year we choose a local charity and try to raise awareness and money for them” he said.

“This year we have chosen Emmaus, which is based in various parts of the north west, although there is a site located in Mossley as well. 

“We’re the main sponsor of Mossley Running Club, and we support the Mossley 10k every year. The charity supports homeless people and tries to get them back into work.”

This year marks the launch of the Running Bee Foundation – a new charitable initiative to promote active and healthy lifestyles and help the on-going fight against childhood obesity.

All the profits raised from Sports Tours International’s nine running events will go to the foundation to be invested back into the communities where these events take place.

James was thrilled by the prospect and said: “Anything like that has got to be an extremely positive thing. I’ve seen over the past four or five years a lot of effort being put in by a lot of people to try and entice people into sport and exercise – especially youngsters within the sports clubs. I think the Running Bee Foundation will be formidable in achieving that.”