UK Backwards Running Championships

Heaton Park, Sunday 14th August, 2011

Have you ever fancied becoming a UK Sporting Champion with little or no effort?

Last year I did. I discovered that the European Running Backwards Championships were taking place in Austria on the 7 & 8th of August. The UK only had 2 people competing so it was probably my one and only chance to represent the UK in something, anything, and to become a ‘UK Sporting Champion’ despite being not particularly good at anything physically challenging.

Reverse Running - Manchester 2010

I reaaallly wanted to enter. I toyed with the idea for weeks. In the end I just couldn’t justify a weekend away in Austria, especially after my friends pointed out I should probably try it in the UK before attempting to represent our country in a sport which is taken seriously in Europe.

Running backwards is a serious sport? (Shrugs) Well yes, apparently. Or so I’m told.

It has lots of benefits: Running backwards gives you an intense cardiovascular workout, reduces the risk of leg and back injuries, helps create a stronger more balanced lower body and is a speedy aid to losing weight. 

People claim that running backwards for just one lap could be equivalent to up to six laps of forward running and burns a third more calories too. Think of the time you could save!

I didn’t go to the European Championships. I entered into the inaugural UK Championships instead.  

I came fifth.

Hurray!

Ok, ok, so I was only fifth out of the female contestants. And alright, alright, only about eleven women entered. But none of that is relevant. The fact is, as it currently stands, I am the fifth fasted Female Backwards Running Champion in the UK. And I have a medal to prove it.

2010 winner at Heaton Park, Manchester

It’s surprisingly difficult. Yes it’s easy to go a few dozen meters. Anyone can ‘run’ backwards a few steps, but believe me; your calves start to burn very quickly when you don’t stop. I probably should have practiced at least once prior to the day.

One memory that still makes me giggle is when I looked down to see I’d just stepped in horse manure. I continued running, naturally, but with every step I waded deeper and deeper into more manure. I had too much momentum to stop or swerve. Instead I just doubled over laughing and continued to run. Thank goodness I didn’t slip or trip at that point.

As the manure shrunk into the distance I noted it was several meters long in one fairly narrow path. One step to either my left or right would have spared me the mucky trainers. Perhaps I should have made a cap with mirrors at the sides, or at least looked behind me once in a while.

You can still watch a clip from last year’s race on ITVs Granada Reports. I am in the clip but I’m not saying where. You can play ‘Where’s Wally’ for me instead.

A BBC article about the event is still live on their website too.

Our Manchester Race in the Metro newspaper

Manchester is hosting their second UK Championships at Heaton Park on Sunday 14th August, 2011. It’s only £15 to enter online and the race is only 1 mile long.

Anyone can run or walk a mile. Go on, give it a go.

The official website can be found here. Online applications close in about a months time so you’d better get in there quickly, then you too can BOAST about being a UK Sporting Champion.

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9 thoughts on “UK Backwards Running Championships

  1. Hi! You left a message on my blog (thank you!) so I popped over to yours to see what this reverse running business is all about! Your post made me laugh! I’ve always wanted to win a medal for my country too! 🙂 I think, no I know, this could be my only chance, i’m definitely going to keep an eye out for events in Ireland

    • Hello! When I read you were considering it I had to reply. 🙂 You should definitely give it a go if they have one near you.

      I agree with what you wrote on your blog about ‘safety in numbers’ – I begged and pleaded with friends and family to run backwards with me but everyone thought I was being ridiculous.

      Literally about an hour before the race one friend reluctantly took pity on me and agreed to run. She came dead last. Eek! (Sorry hun! Have you forgiven me yet?)

      On the other hand, she’s currently the 11th fasted woman in the UK… Silver lining and all that!

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