NEVER has the phrase, ‘keep on running,’ been more apt than for the fortunes of a Hyde man whose decision to not let a club die is paying off.
And Tony Hillier’s call is also benefitting many people who are all in better health.
When the old Sweatshop Running Club closed, a decision needed to be made – stay on the sofa or keep on pounding the streets?
Tony decided the latter was the right course of action.
Now Hyde Running Community (HRC) boasts up to 60 members regularly taking part in its activities, after starting just two years ago with 10.
Tony, who celebrated his 72nd birthday by running up Apple Street to the top of Werneth Low, said:
“I went to Hyde Leisure Pool (Sweatshop Running Club was based there) and wondered if they would have their own group.
“They didn’t but said there would not be a problem setting one up.
“We started with one group of about 10 runners – now on our runs there is between 40 and 60.
“But we’re not a running club. We don’t want to be that and we’re completely community funded.”
Hyde Running Community runs on Monday and Wednesday evenings, with about four groups but it needs funding for people with a qualification in Leadership in Running Fitness (LRF) to operate them.
It costs about £130 per course but donations, sponsorship from Runnorthwest and £1 from each of the distinctive yellow T-shirts it sells have helped cover bills so far.
“It’s just snowballed,” added Tony, who lives on Mottram Road. “And I can’t explain why! It’s just one of those things I guess.”
Officially the ‘lower group’ is meant to run three miles but Tony admits the course clocks in at nearer four but only because of the fitness and dedication of the runners.
The ‘higher group’ can sometimes do seven milers and they are all in or around Hyde, occasionally crossing the border into Stockport, all setting off from Hyde Leisure Pool on Walker Lane.
“In the summer months, we go mainly off road – on things like canal towpaths – but in the winter months we stay on the road,” explained Tony, who says new members are welcome but it is not for novices.
Those wishing to join in must be able to run for three miles continuously. This is more about boosting people’s fitness and technique rather than teaching it in the first place.
He also operates more personal training sessions for people of all abilities close to Kerry Foods in Godley.
The Hyde Running Community had a particularly strong turnout for the recent seven mile race around the town organised to help Liam Mellon of the Daddies Escape club.
He had completed three of the four stages of the Tour of Tameside but being in collision with another car as he was driving meant he could not do the fourth.
So people organised their own and HRC joined in.
“Everyone just got together and it was fantastic,” Tony said.
“Liam was involved in a collision and when the air bags in his car set off, he burned his hands meaning he couldn’t run.
“We had about 70 runners that day who did it.”