The Running Bee Foundation Tour of Tameside – A Way Forward For The FSOA?Peter Houghton
Many of you will have seen references to the Sports Tours International/ Running Bee Foundation Tour of Tameside over the weekend.
This is one of a number of running events delivered by Sports Tours International a major provider of these events on a worldwide scale and for much of the last ten years I have had the pleasure of working with them on their events in the North West which include the We Love Manchester 10K, the City of Salford 10K, the City of Preston 10K as well as events in Liverpool and at Media City.
The Tour of Tameside is probably the most challenging as it embraces the X-Trail 10K across two country parks in Ashton Under Lyne, Hell on the Fell a 6-miler above Stalybridge, the Hero Half Marathon along the Longendale Trail and finally the Dr Ron Hill 7 mile road run around Hyde.
All of this takes place on 4 consecutive days.
Acting as Safety Officer on these types of event presents us with major challenges especially on day 4 when there are many road closures in and around Hyde. It is important that the people of Tameside are encouraged to embrace the events in the same way as the runners and not believe we are trying to inconvenience them in going about their day-to-day business.
As always, this weekend’s events passed off remarkably untroubled. There were in excess of 450 athletes competing in the full tour and each day produced up to 750 runners.
Sports Tours International was set up 45 years ago by Fred Done a well-known and respected businessman ably assisted by co-Director Chris Bird who I first met as Chief Operating Officer in the Maine Road days at Manchester City. Chris is also very much a communications guru with a “can do” attitude to everything which drives these events to success.
Last year they launched the “Running Bee Foundation” a Charitable Incorporated Organisation which recycles any profits made on the running events back into “grass roots” running and good health in the locations where the events take place. This means than any profits from the Tour of Tameside will be used to promote and encourage young people to become the runners of the future. The Ambassador for the event is Dr Ron Hill, a true legend, who up until 3 years ago used to run every day.
This is something that is close to the hearts of the FSOA as last year we took our first steps to supporting the levels of football, something which we plan to develop. We have already held a pre-season meeting with Lancashire FA, have a meeting planned with Northumberland FA along similar lines and we have also been contacted by Hertfordshire FA with a view to one of them becoming a Safety Officer, following which we will be looking to support one of their competitions. We are committed to helping football at grassroots level and continue to look for opportunities to achieve this.
I have also spoken to Chris Bird about the Running Bee Foundation, which is an avenue the FSOA could look to pursue. I still think I found the best finishing line!