Sports Tours International sign Dame Sarah Storey
Sports Tours International has signed Paralympic Gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey as its official brand ambassador.
As part of Sarah’s role she will be part of Sports Tours International marketing and PR activities as well as hosting training camps for first time participants. Additionally Sarah will be actively involved with Sports Tours International exclusive European training resort, Club La Santa in Lanzarote.
Dame Sarah has trained at Club La Santa for several years, having first visited the resort 21 years ago as a swimmer.
Impressed by the range of facilities the resort had to offer, Sarah returned to the island in 2010 with her bike and since then has spent time preparing for last year’s London Paralympic Games, which saw her take home 4 gold medals, bringing her total to 11.
Commenting on her new ambassador role, Manchester born Dame Sarah said: “I have spent a great deal of time at Club La Santa and I’m really pleased to become an official ambassador for Sports Tours International, and be affiliated with the resort too.
“My aim is to help Sports Tours further position itself as one of Europe’s leading travel companies for people who love running, cycling and triathlons. But I’m really excited about their plans to focus on getting families more active and helping first time event participants prepare and perform properly.”
Keep your eyes peeled!
Throughout the two year sponsorship, Dame Sarah will write monthly blogs, comments, product reviews and interviews for the Sports Tours International and Club La Santa websites. She will also appear at a branded ‘Sarah Storey’ training camps in the UK and at the resort.
Sports Tours International Chief Executive Chris Bird said “Dame Sarah Storey is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest athletes and her passion and motivation is inspiring, so we are thrilled to welcome her as an official ambassador.
“We have enjoyed a great relationship with Sarah over the years and are looking forward to continuing our work with her.”
The Guardian Travel Awards 2013 are open for entry and we are asking you, our loyal customers, to support us by voting for Sports Tours International in the Tour Operator and Short Break Operator categories.
Now coming to our 40th year anniversary it would be great to have support from yourselves. The awards take place every year and are voted for by the public on the Guardian website.
If you have travelled with us last year and enjoyed it, and think we deserve to win an award then please fill in this quick questionnaire online by clicking here. When casting your vote please specify in the text box SPORTS TOURS INTERNATIONAL in each of the categories.
There’s something in it for you too as everyone who votes gets entered into a prize draw to win one of 5 holidays abroad including a week on a Greek island, a week in Cannes or a cycling holiday in the Loire Valley.
The deadline for entries is Saturday 6th April, so please get voting!
Thanks for your support!
2013 a year of sporting inspiration
Our top 10 marathons for 2013
Whether your New Year’s resolution is to run your first marathon or set yourself a new personal best, 2013 is the year to get inspired to do it!
To help get you motivated we have announced our top 10 marathons for 2013!
1. New York City Marathon – 3rd November 2013
Following the understandable cancellation of the 2012 event demand for the 2013 race is predicted to be even higher, with more people than ever wanting to take part in what is the largest marathon event in the world.
New York is a must for any serious marathon runner and after 40 years has become the international race every marathon runner wants to be part of.
2. Berlin Marathon – 29th September 2013
2013 is a landmark year for the Berlin Marathon as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. If you’re looking to set yourself a new personal best, then this race is the one for you.
Around 40,000 runners take part hoping to beat the current world marathon record time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 38 seconds.
3. Paris Marathon – 7th April 2013
The race starts on one of the world’s most famous streets, les Champs Elysees. The romantic setting and stunning landscape makes Paris one of the most popular marathon events in Europe attracting over 40,000 runners every year.
4. Chicago Marathon – 13th October 2013
Known for its flat and fast course the Chicago Marathon attracts some of the greatest runners in the world. Starting and finishing in Grant Park on the shore of Lake Michigan the race attracts around 40,000 runners every year.
5. Boston Marathon – 15th April 2013
This is undoubtedly the most famous modern day marathon and welcomes amateur and professional runners from all over the world.
This year celebrates the events 117th anniversary making it the oldest annual run in the world.
6. Stockholm Marathon – 1st June 2013
Compared to marathon events such as London or New York, Stockholm is a small race but with a buzzing atmosphere.
This race is bursting with history as runners get the chance to finish at the classic 1912 Olympic Stadium where no less than 83 world records in athletics have been broken over the years.
7. Medoc Marathon – 7th September 2013
The Medoc Marathon is not your normal marathon event and is famous for being one of the most unusual races around.
It’s a marathon which you must run, as with any other race; however this is your chance to be creative and take part in fancy dress. The theme for the 2013 race is Science Fiction, so we are sure to see a number of runners donning their favourite sci-fi outfits.
8. Rotterdam Marathon – 14th April 2013
This race might not be top of everyone’s list, however the Rotterdam Marathon has been the biggest one-day sporting event in the Netherlands for 13 years in a row and welcomes a number of the world’s top athletes and around 925,000 spectators every year.
The city keeps reinventing itself and every time you visit you’re presented with new cultural and sporting events.
9. Frankfurt Marathon – 27th October 2013
Famed for its fast course Frankfurt is a popular race for those looking to beat their personal best or those looking to break a world record. The race is Germany’s oldest city marathon and shows off the attractions of the city.
10. San Sebastian Marathon – 24th November 2013
This might be one of the smaller marathon events with around 4,000 runners taking part, but it is certainly worthy of a top 10 place thanks to San Sebastian’s beauty, cuisine and culture.
One of Europe’s top tourist destinations San Sebastian is the perfect location to partner a run with a holiday.
Our top 10 cycling events for 2013!
Whether your New Year’s resolution is to take part in your first ever cycling event or set yourself a new personal best, 2013 is the year to get inspired to do it!
To help get you motivated we have given you what we think are top 10 cycling events for 2013…
1. L’Etape du Tour – 7th July 2013
This is your chance to be part of history and ride a stage of the 100th Tour de France. 2013 is to be an exciting year for cycling and an opportunity for you to be part of it.
Unlike the last few years there will only be one Etape in 2013 making the event even more prestigious. Riders will get the chance to complete the Tour stage from Annecy to Annecy Semnoz which will be ridden by the pros two weeks later.
2. Gran Fondo New York – 19th May 2013
The Gran Fondo is growing as more people start to take part in cycling events, and this year’s Gran Fondo New York is no exception. Gran Fondo New York is now one of the most exciting city cyclosportives on the calendar.
Taking in all that New York has to offer this race is a fantastic way to see the big apple.
3. RideLondon100 – 3rd August 2013
It might be new to the cycling calendar but RideLondon100 is looking to be the biggest cycling event in the UK this year. Starting at the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park the race will replicate much of the 2012 Olympic Road Race course.
After the success of the 2012 Olympics, over 20,000 riders are expected to take part to help create a legacy.
4. Gran Fondo La Marmotte – 6th July 2013
For those looking for a more classic cyclosportive La Marmotte is the race for you. The race is held over a classic cycling Alpine route that rivals the Etape du Tour.
One of the first ever cyclosportive events to take place, La Marmotte is still one of the most popular cycling events in Europe and a must for any amateur cyclist.
5. Haute Route Alps – 18th – 24th August 2013
This event is the toughest and highest cyclosportive in the world and a challenge for any cyclist….but well worth it.
This year’s race sees the addition of a number of new host venues and some course changes from 2012. So even if you have done this event before it’s definitely worth taking part again as you can guarantee to find new challenges along the way.
6. Haute Route – 1st – 7th September 2013
This is a brand new event for the 2013 cycling calendar, and one which is expecting to be as popular as its sister race, the Haute Route Alps.
The event will follow the same format as the Haute Route Alps and take riders from Catalonia, Spain to the Basque Coast in France.
7. Paris Roubaix Challenge – 6th April 2013
The event gives you the chance to ride the famous sections of cobblestones the day before the pros race. The event will cover a good proportion of the pro race route and finish at the Roubaix Velodrome.
The ultimate challenge is to ride the 170k from Busigny to Roubaix, on the same course as the pros will do the day after. However, the routes of 140k and 70k will also leave you plenty of opportunity to get to know the tough cobblestone sections of the mythical Paris-Roubaix race.
8. Gran Fondo Campagnolo Roma – 11th – 14th October 2013
The Gran Fondo Campagnolo Roma is the latest addition to the city cycling Grand Fondo collection. The first Gran Fondo in Rome last year was a huge success with over 5,000 riders taking part, with more riders expected to take part this year.
9. Liège-Bastogne-Liège sportive – 19th – 22nd April 2013
First run in 1982 this event is one of the oldest cycling classics and travels through the hilliest parts of Belgium.
This is your chance to ride the Liege Bastogne sportive 2013 and then be a spectator at the Liege Bastogne Liege 2013 Pro race.
10. Etape Caledonia – 12th – 13th May 2013
The Etape Caledonia was the UK’s first closed-road sportive and is considered to be the largest event of its kind outside Europe.
Covering 81 miles of the Perthshire Highlands the Etape Caledonia is the perfect domestic UK preparation for any European cyclosportive, including the Etape du Tour.
Sports Tours International offer travel and race entry packages to all cycling events mentioned.
St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day Marathons….From Rome to Barcelona, LA and New York in One Day
St Patrick’s Day will hold a prominent place on the running calendar this year, as four of the world’s top marathon and half marathon events take place on the same day.
The Rome, Barcelona and LA Marathon’s will all take place on Sunday 17th March along with the New York City Half Marathon, making it one of the most high profile race days of the year.
Around 70,000 runners will compete around the world on one day, and they will all be wishing for the luck of the Irish to motivate them around the 26 and 13 mile courses.
Brendan Fox, Head of Commercial here at Sports Tours said: “St Patrick’s Day 2013 will make its mark in the history books as one of the greatest days for running. All four races have their place amongst the world’s greatest marathon and half marathon events, and with the added St Paddy’s Day celebrations it’s bound to be a day to remember.”
Both the Rome and Barcelona Marathons take in the main tourist sites, from the Coliseum in Rome to the Camp Nou in Barcelona. Both events are amongst the big city marathons and are becoming more popular, particularly with those looking to partner a marathon with a weekend city break.
Ranked as one of the top 10 largest marathons in the world the LA Marathon provides runners with a completely different experience and takes in famous Hollywood landmarks such as Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive and allows runners to soak up the LA sunshine.
The New York City Half Marathon is also one of the most competitive half marathons in the world and one of the best supported. Runners will explore the heart of New York and get the chance to experience St Patrick’s Day New York style, including the famous NYC St Patrick’s Day Parade which takes place on 16th March.
Online Christmas Boom
Online Christmas Boom
Sports Tours International, have seen a 218% increase in visits to our site on Christmas and Boxing day compared to last year…
Brendan Fox, the Head of Commercial here at Sports tours said ‘mobile technology which has developed over the past year has been incredible. You can now easily find information or book a holiday at your fingertips, and it’s great that it is helping us develop our business and generate more sales year on year.”
And it seems iPads and iPhones were the present of choice this Christmas as the majority of customers, using a mobile or tablet device, took a look at the Sports Tours International website from their new Apple devices, which accounted for 88% of these visits over the two day period.
The biggest increase however came from those visiting the website via their iPad which has increased by 559% compared to last year.
Brendan added: “This time of year is one of our busiest, as people set themselves a sporting goal for the New Year and start to get back into their training. Our cycling packages have already been extremely popular and we have found that the largest proportion of those visiting the website over the Christmas period were looking at cycling packages including L’Etape du Tour, La Marmotte and the Paris Roubaix Challenge.
With technology continuing to develop and the current buzz around sport we expect 2013 will be a very successful and exciting year for us and we look forward to what it brings.”
Marathon runner, James Russell wins the £1,000 charity donation for our New York Marathon scrapbook competition
Menston Marathon runner James Russell has won the charity donation of £1,000 for the best photo entry for the NY scrapbook competition!
We started the NY scrapbook competition after the cancellation of the New York Marathon. -We wanted to give something back to those affected by hurricane Sandy, so we created a photo scrapbook competition for people to get involved and show how they spent their time in New York.
James (31) from Menston, West Yorkshire, was chosen as the winner after submitting a number of photos of his clean-up efforts in the city following Hurricane Sandy, still wearing his running gear and helping clean up, we felt this was the perfect picture to show runners getting involved and giving a helping hand.
James said: “Obviously it was a disappointment that I didn’t get to complete a marathon, however after seeing the aftermath it was the right decision to make. I wanted to go home knowing that I’d helped and made a contribution so took a ferry to Staten Island the day before the marathon was due to take place and asked a taxi driver to take me to a place I could help.
I spent the day on Staten Island with local people helping to clear gardens and houses. It was like a scene from a movie, very surreal. Everybody was so positive and happy that people had turned up to help them and there was a really good atmosphere. It was also great to know that this contribution helped me further my fund raising efforts for charity.”
James who is a PE teacher at Titus Salt School is currently raising money for Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds and with the addition of the £1,000 donation from Sports Tours International has raised £3,500 in total this year!
After missing out on two marathons this year, including London due to injury James is determined to complete a marathon and is looking to create his own route around Menston and Ilkley.
Danielle from Manchester has raised nearly £400 for PDSA running her first ever 10k in Salford this weekend
Danielle Wheeler ran the City of Salford 10k last Sunday in memory of her Granddad’s dog “Ben” who sadly passed away back in May. Danielle looked after and cared for the dog after her Granddad passed and decided to raise money for PDSA (Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals) running the Salford 10k to help other sick animals.
Danielle, pictured on the right, brightly decorated her PDSA t-shirt with cut out hearts with the name’s of the pets from the people who donated to her cause.
PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity providing care for more than 350,000 pet patients. This year PDSA will provide more than 2.2 million free treatments to sick and injured pets and more than 360,000 preventive treatments.
Danielle said on her JustGiving page: “Thank you for taking the time to sponsor me and help the poorly animals!!”
She added: “I completed my 10k run in memory of Ben in 1 hour and 18 minutes. This is the first of many I am sure. I enjoyed every minute and the sun was out for us too. Thanks for all your support and you really are making a difference to those animals that need it.”
Danielle set a goal of raising £100 for PDSA, but ended up raising a very impressive £370. Her JustGiving page is still live and you can still donate to her cause. You can also read more about Danielle’s story from Haughton Thornley Medical Centre’s website.
Well done Danielle, from everyone here at Sports Tours International!
A record turnout for City of Salford 2012 races
This year’s City of Salford 10k and 5k races got off to a flying start at the weekend with a record number of runners taking part.
Almost 2,000 runners entered to take part in the race on Sunday (9th September) more than double the entries from last year.
Runners were joined by Hollyoaks stars Tom Scurr (Barney Harper-McBride) and James Atherton (Will Savage) along with running legend Dr Ron Hill MBE.
Commenting on the race Ron said: “It was great to see so many people getting involved in this year’s race. This is one of my favourite races and the fourth time I’ve taken part in it. Salford Quays is a great location to hold a race the area is constantly developing and I’m always delighted to be part of it.”
The race was started by the Ceremonial Mayor of Salford, Councillor Bernard James Lea who awarded 5k runner Danielle McMinn with the inaugural Mayor prize, for the first under 15 year old to cross the finish line in the 5k race.
At just 11 years old Danielle crossed the finish line in the 5k race in 21 minutes 5 seconds, and took second place in the overall female race.
In the men’s 10k race first to cross the finish line was the winner of the We Love Manchester 10k, Mohammad Abu Rezeq from Altrincham and District Athletics Club in a time of 30 minutes 18 seconds. Second was Tarus Elly of Salford Harriers and third was Gareth Raven of Sale Harriers.
First to cross the finish line in the women’s 10k race was Kirsty Longley in a time of 36 minutes 59 seconds. Second was Gwen Kinsey and third was Jenny Knass of Stockport Harriers.
In the 5k race the winner of the men’s race went to James Lewis who completed the course in 17 minutes 45 seconds, second was Yared Sisay and third went to Robert Nowicki.
Lisa Gawthorne was the winner of the women’s 5k race in a time of 20 minutes 33 seconds followed by Danielle McMinn and Emma Flynn in third.
Sports Tours International Race Director Graham Jackson said: “This year’s race has definitely been the biggest so far, we couldn’t have asked for a better turn out. It’s great to see more and more people getting involved in sporting events and raising money for charity and we hope that numbers will continue to increase year on year.
“We would like to thank Salford City Council, volunteers and everyone who helped make the day such a success.”
This year’s race was supported by Salford City Council and helped raise thousands of pounds for a number of good causes.
Olympic fever reaches Salford
City of Salford 10k organisers see entries soar after the Olympics. Organisers of the City of Salford 10k & 5k race on September 9th have announced that this year’s event will be the biggest yet as entries have more than doubled, following an inspiring summer of sport.
With just a week to go race organisers, Sports Tours International expect entries to reach near to 1,800 compared to last year’s 800.
Sports Tours International Chief Executive Chris Bird said:
“We are delighted with the response we’ve had so far. We started this race from scratch 4 years ago and to go from a few hundred to almost 2,000 in such a short space of time is fantastic and is very much a result of people becoming more active after the excitement and success of the Olympic Games.”
Sports Tours International has also noticed an increase in the different age groups taking part, as well as a shift in the ratio of male and female runners.
The female entries account for 44% of total runners this year, an increase of 7% from last year.
The age group twenty to forty has also increased by 6% with 60% of participants now falling into this age category.
“It’s great to see more women and young people getting involved. Team GB has certainly helped inspire people to get more active and more competitive which is great for the sports industry and the smaller sporting events around the country.”
And it seems soap stars are also feeling inspired, joining the runners this year are Hollyoaks stars Tom Scurr (Barney Harper-McBride) and James Atherton (Will Savage).
“With some stunning locations and a (fingers crossed) manageable distance, it’ll be a fantastic day rain or shine. It’ll be a perfect motivator for the Great North Run, which I’m doing the week after. All I have to do is stick my number onto someone fast so I get a respectable time!”
The race, which is supported by Salford City Council will start and finish in the Plaza between the Lowry Theatre and the Lowry Outlet Mall and incorporate MediaCityUK, and Old Trafford.
The 10k race will start at 10.15am and the 5k race will start at 10.30am. Deadline for entries is Thursday 6 September.
Tower 2 Tower
On 28th July, 13 cyclists set off in windy conditions from Blackpool Tower and undertook a mammoth ride of more than 600miles to reach the Eiffel Tower in Paris the following Saturday.
The team headed by David Djordevic from the charity and activity centre Challenge4change raised more than £1,000 each for charities including C4C, Jumpspace and the Royal British Legion Poppy Factory.
They battled severe downpours on several days, steep hills through the Peak District, blistering heat on the way to Amiens for the first day in France and then extremely strong headwinds on the final straight towards Paris. All this was overcome by the brave cyclists, including Steven Grimes and James Bolton riding mountain bikes and Paul and Dee Beckett on their Tandem bike!
The first day from Blackpool to Manchester saw around 50 cyclists complete the 60mile ride ending up with a Barbecue at the C4C Headquarters. The group of 13 cycling to Paris soon realised what they were in for on the 2nd day when the mileage increased, the rain started and the route took us through hilly parts of the Peak District.
Motivational support, nutritional advice and the route set up on the bike computers were all provided by Sports Tours’ very own Dave Bond who, along with myself were on hand with the support vehicle. The ride obviously encountered a few bike malfunctions and punctures but luckily there were no major crashes or incidents and all in all it was a huge success. Congratulations to everyone who made it to Paris!
The success of Run the Flash!
Runners couldn’t have asked for better weather for this year’s Run the Flash event in Leigh this weekend.
The sun was shining as over 300 people from Greater Manchester and beyond took part in the Run the Flash 10k and Women’s Only 5k trail races on Saturday (11 August) at Leigh Sports Village.
Amongst the 10k runners was Lancashire’s own running legend Dr Ron Hill MBE who completed the race in 53 minutes, 55 seconds.
Sports Tours International race director, Graham Jackson said: “We really couldn’t have asked for better weather, the route through Pennington Country Park is what makes this race and the fact that the rain stayed away was even better.”
The 10k race took runners into Pennington Flash Country Park and along the trails before returning to Leigh Sports Village and saw some excellent finishing times from the club runners.
First to cross the finish line in the men’s 10k race was Juraj Gavura in a time of 36 minutes, 59 seconds. Second was Phillip Bennett of Rochdale Harriers in a time of 37 minutes, 21 seconds and third was Chris Smullen of Wigan Harriers in 39 minutes, 3 seconds.
First to cross the finish line in the women’s race was Sarah Mackness of Altrincham Athletics Club in a time of 44 minutes, 13 seconds. Second was Anna Smith in a time of 50 minutes, 25 seconds and third was Tracey Rogers in 52 minutes, 5 seconds.
For the first time, the Run the Flash event also included a Women’s Only 5k fun run, which helped raise money for charity, including the chosen charities Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Tommy’s which exists to save babies’ lives through funding research into the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth.
Graham added: “This year we wanted to include an extra race just for women to give them an opportunity to take part in a fun event for charity. The women that took part were fantastic and raised some much needed funds for charity.”
Fred puts his Yellow Jersey on Wiggo Treble
The owner of leading bookmakers BETFRED, Fred Done is well known for his love of football and horse racing but his love of cycling is little known. Fred is backing Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins for more success in 2013 and has him favourite for a unique treble. Betfred are leading the betting peloton by making the newly crowned time trial gold medallist favourite to become the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, to receive a knighthood and to retain the yellow jersey at the 2013 Tour de France.
They have released odds of 1/10 for 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 1/2 for a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours, 5/1 to retain yellow jersey at the Tour de France 2013 and 9/1 for the treble.
Commenting on Wiggo’s success Fred Done said: “I love my sport but I have a real passion for cycling. Not many people know I own the UK’s largest cycling tour operator Sports Tours International so it makes Bradley’s success even sweeter. It’s important that we recognise what our Olympians have done for the country so far and celebrate their success.”
Fred is now calling for Bradley and the other TeamGB winners to be celebrated nationally and has made a start by renaming his Sports Tours International HQ Wiggins House in honour of the cyclists’ success over the last few weeks.
Watch Fred talking about Wiggo and cycling on YouTube.
Club La Santa’s Hayley Blackburn does Run the Flash 5k to raise awareness for Alopecia
One of our own Club La Santa girls, Hayley Blackburn, will bravely bare her head for the first time to raise awareness and money for alopecia.
Hayley has worn a wig ever since the condition caused her hair to fall out almost six year ago and she has never been seen without her trademark auburn ensemble. On 11th August 2012 she will remove it for the women’s only 5k run: Run the Flash.
Hayley, who lives in Atherton, aims to raise awareness of the condition which affects TV presenter Gail Porter and Olympic Cyclist Joanna Rowsell.
Hayley said: “I had alopecia as a child, but it was not as bad as it is now. I did get bullied about it though, as I got stared at and even had name calling. I had really bad skin and the doctors thought I had eczema. Luckily my hair grew back after 18 months but it fell out again when I was 23.”
“When it first happened it was very hard, I was not confident and I didn’t like going out… I was paranoid about people noticing and what they may be thinking… But years have gone by now and it has made me stronger and I realise that it is not what is on the outside that counts, but the inside”
Hayley also said that she doesn’t think there is enough awareness about alopecia and she has helped run a support group in Salford. Most people she knows agree that there is not enough help for people with alopecia.
Hayley will be joined on the run with her workmates, family and friends to help meet her fund-raising target of £750.
She added: “I have never been outside without my wig and I will be nervous and will find it emotional, but I will have everyone behind me. It is important to show people that I may look a bit different but I am still myself.”
Entry fee for the 5k race is £6 and £18 for the 10k.
If you would like to support Hayley or would like more information on her support group, contact Hayley at email@example.com
Sports Tours International has got the Wiggins Factor!
We have got the Wiggins factor and will be cheering him on to victory this weekend!
The UK’s largest multi-sports tour operator is encouraging everyone to get behind Chorley’s future Champion by adopting the signature Wiggins Wave.
Sports Tours International Head of Commercial Brendan Fox said: “As the tour comes to an end this weekend we’re all getting behind Wiggins to keep his lead and claim his victory to become the first British Tour de France Champion.
“Wiggins has worked so hard over the last few weeks he deserves to win”
Sports Tours International, who has recently returned from the Pyrenees after a successful Etape du Tour will be taking hundreds of people over to Paris to watch the final stage of the Tour and hopefully see Wiggins crowned Champion. You can book yourself onto the Tour de France Hospitality trip here. (Very limited availability)
Brendan added: “Wiggins’s progress throughout the tour has been great for the UK cycling industry, we have been in undated with bookings for the final stage with people wanting to see Wiggins to victory.”
Ron Hill gets you race fit for the big apple!
At the grand age of 73 Dr Ron Hill MBE has taken part in more marathons than he can remember and for those preparing for this year’s ING New York City Marathon he has some invaluable tips for making it around the infamous 26 mile course.
“I have run the New York City Marathon four times” said Ron “the first being at the age of 38 when I came tenth in a time of 2:19:43. It is one of the best marathons in the world and I urge all runners to run it at least once in their life.”
Ron who has failed to miss a day’s running in 47 years is the second man ever to break the marathon record of 2:10 so knows exactly what needs to be done both in training before the race and during to achieve your personal best.
Ron added: “It sounds simple but what runners need to remember is that the longer you have to train and the more training you do beforehand the easier the race will be. If you’re serious about the race and want to get a good time you should be looking at starting to train with a minimum of 12 weeks to go.
“Make sure you experiment and keep a training log to see how you feel after each run, you’ll find that some days you feel great and can run for miles but on others you might have an off day. It’s advisable to keep the shorter runs to the week days and use the weekends for your long runs.”
After completing his first marathon in just under 2 hours 20 minutes Ron returned to the big apple at the age of 39 and ran 2:20:01 and again at the age of 40 and completed it in 2:20:43.
With still a few months to go until the start of this year’s ING New York City Marathon, runners have got plenty of time to work on their technique.
“New York is a race like no other” said Ron. “It is the biggest and busiest metropolis in the world, so as you can imagine the support you get as you run around is phenomenal and helps give you that much needed boost as you start to slow down.”
Having completed the New York City Marathon four times before Ron knows first-hand where runners will start to struggle and where they will be able to pick up their pace.
Ron added: “The biggest tip is to go off carefully and not start too fast. The first mile is uphill so be careful not to get carried away. Be aware of your capabilities and carry on within that pace. You should already have an idea of what pace you’re going to run at. You need patience. It’s better to set off slower than your target pace, rather than quicker, so you’ve still got something in the tank for the later stages.”
The ING New York Marathon takes place on Sunday 4th November and is the biggest of all the world major marathons. Book you place on the ING New York Marathon 2012 today.
Sports Tours International customers powered by PowerBar at L’Etape du Tour
Sports Tours International customers are to be powered by PowerBar at this year’s Etape du Tour.
The UK’s largest multi-sport tour operator has partnered up with the international sports and nutritional brand to keep cyclists on top form and full of energy while tackling the infamous climbs of L’Etape du Tour.
Sports Tours International Head of Commercial Brendan Fox said: “We are delighted to be working with PowerBar, the products they supply are vital for keeping your energy levels up, especially when embarking on something like the Etape du Tour and I’m sure our customers will appreciate the boost.”
The cyclosportive event which takes place on 8 to 14 July consists of two Acts which take place over consecutive weekends.
The first Act will take place in the Alps on Sunday 8 July and will replicate Stage 11 of the 2012 Tour de France.
Known as the classic Alpine stage, the first Act of L’Etape du Tour starts from the Winter Olympic City of Albertville and takes in the climbs of Col de la Madeleine, the Glandon, Criox de Fer and Mollard before the final climb up to the ski resort of La Toussuire Les Sybelles.
The second Act will take place in the Pyrenees on Saturday 14th July and follows the route of stage 16 of the 2012 Tour de France.
The second Act starts in Pau, the scene of many Tour de France starts and finishes in the past and takes in the legendary climbs of Aubisque, Soulor, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresourde before a fast descent into the finish at the spa town of Bagneres de Luchon.
As an official tour operator of L’Etape du Tour, Sports Tours International provide guaranteed entry to both Acts and still have entries available when purchased with one of the travel packages.
Haute Route Entries up for Grabs!
Sports Tours International offer limited number of entries to Haute Route 2012
Entries for this year’s Haute Route challenge may have sold out on the official website but cyclist can still enter with Sports Tours International.
The UK’S largest multi-sport tour operator is one of the official partners to the event and has a limited number of entry travel packages still available for those who have not managed to enter.
The Haute Route, the toughest and highest cyclosportive in the world takes place on 19 – 25 August and covers 780km and 21,000 metres of ascent along with seven of the world-famous cities and mountain resorts such as Geneva, Megève, Courchevel, Alpe d’Huez, Risoul, Auron and Nice.
Sports Tours International Head of Commercial Brendan Fox said: “We are delighted to be an official partner to the Haute Route and to give customers the opportunity to take part in an event which considering is only in its second year has become a huge cyclosportive success.”
“From next month the cycling season will be in full swing with the start of the Tour de France and the Haute Route has the opportunity to become one of the seasons BIG cycling events.”
The 2012 event will build on the huge success of the inaugural edition of the Haute Route, which was held in August last year and will introduce three new host venues and 11 new climbs.
Brendan added: “The design of the Haute Route course makes it the ideal ride for amateur cyclists and for those cyclists looking to take part in their first cycling event. Over half the participants in last year’s race were amateur’s either having never taken part in a cycling event before or have only been participating in cyclosportives for less than five years.”
Sports Tours International’s Haute Route race and travel package runs from 19 – 26 August and includes accommodation in various hotels on a bed and breakfast basis, transport of luggage between stages, dinner on four nights of the event, Sports Tours International rep support and guaranteed entry into the race.
Closing date for the Haute Route 2012 entry is 8th August so get your places booked now!
Record Numbers for the We Love Manchester 10k
24th June 2012
This year’s We Love Manchester 10k in association with K-Swiss got off to a flying start with a record number of runners taking part.
Over 2,500 runners took to the streets of Manchester to complete the 10k route and raise money for charity.
Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Naeem Ul Hasaan was joined by running legend Dr Ron Hill MBE to give runners their starting orders on what was a surprisingly dry day.
Ron completed the course in 53 minutes 32 seconds and before the race set runners a challenge…. “Beat me and beat a legend”.
Sports Tours International race director Graham Jackson said: “We are delighted with the numbers for this year’s race and hope that they will continue to increase year on year.
The rain managed to stay away for the majority of day and the people of Manchester came out in force to show their support and take part. We would like to thank everyone involved in making the day such a great event to remember and hope that next year will be just as successful.”
First to cross the finish line in the men’s race was Mohammad Abu-Rezeq from Altrincham in a time of 30 minutes 35 seconds. Second was Talus Elly of Salford Harriers and third was Tadele Mulugeta.
First to cross the finish line in the women’s race was Getenesh Tamarate from Belgrave Harriers in a time of 34 minutes 49 seconds. She was followed by local favourite Tessa Walker of Salford Harriers in second and Gemma Connelly of St Helens Sutton AC in third.
This year’s race was in association with K-Swiss and helped raise thousands of pounds for a number of good causes including this year’s nominated charity the We Love Manchester charity (formerly the Lord Mayor of Manchester’s charity).
Deputy Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Naeem Ul Hassan said: “It was a huge honour to start the race and I would like to thank everyone who took part and raised money for good causes, especially the We Love Manchester Charity. The We Love Manchester 10k goes from strength to strength and I’m sure the example set on Sunday will inspire even more people to take part next year.”
One of the other special events of the day was the Toddler Trot. Over 200 young runners under the age of 8 took to the track to run one lap each receiving a medal as they finished.
Sports Tours International saddle up for Bike Week
With the start of National Bike Week this week Sports Tours International is getting behind the nation’s celebration of cycling and backing the campaign’s message to get everyone cycling.
Sports Tours International is the UK’s leading multi-sport tour operator and takes thousands of people to the world’s biggest cycling events, including L’Etape du Tour and the fast approaching Tour de France.
Sports Tours International Head of Commercial Brendan Fox said: “With events like the Tour de France just round the corner and the start of our summer of sport, there’s never been a more perfect time to take up cycling.”
“The Olympics and Paralympic Games will certainly have a big effect on the cycling industry over the summer. We’ve already seen how what the British Olympic team has been doing on the track has transferred on the road making road races and events more popular both in the UK and abroad.”
“Over the last few years we have seen a significant increase in events such as L’Etape du Tour and a number of the cyclosportive events including La Marmotte. As a result these events have also grown with L’Etape du Tour having introduced two acts rather than one due to its popularity.”
With 40% of UK households now owning a bike and with the introduction of cycling schemes such as the Barclays Cycle Hire in London more and more people are taking to the roads on two wheels.
Brendan added: “Over the last couple of years the perception of cycling has changed. With pro-cyclists such as Mark Cavendish becoming more mainstream and winning sports personality of the year and the Tour de France, we’ve seen more people wanting to take part in their first cycling event as well as an increase in people wanting to take part to emulate and the rise of Mamils (middle-aged men in lycra).”
It’s not just the competitive cycling market which has seen an increase but the charity challenge market is currently a high growing area within the cycling industry, with more people now taking on a cycle challenge for charity.
Sports Tours International gets behind GB’s Paralympic hopeful
Sports Tours International is getting behind Paralympic sprinter and European 400m record holder Ian Jones, in a bid to send him to London’s Paralympic games.
The UK’s largest multi-sport tour operator is backing the sprinters campaign and has donated £750 to help fund the qualifying events needed to compete in the London games this summer.
Ian (22) suffers from muscular dystrophy and was involved in a car crash 18 months ago and missed out on funding from the British Olympic Committee as he was unable to train.
Since then Ian has been finding his own funding to get him through the qualifying events.
Ian said: “I was unfortunate to miss out on the funding I needed last year but with help from my family and friends I’ve been able to fund myself so far. A lot of people have helped me and I’m extremely grateful for their support as without it I wouldn’t have this chance to compete.”
Chris Bird, Chief Executive of Sports Tours International said: “Ian is a great inspiration for young people and is determined to do everything he can to make sure he reaches London in a few months’ time. He is a fantastic sportsman and will make a great GB representative at this year’s Paralympic games, which is why we’re supporting him all the way.”
Ian still has a number of races to compete in before he can qualify for the 2012 Paralympics including a race in Croatia. He finds out at the end of July is he has made the games.
If he qualifies for the Paralympics Ian is set to go head to head with South African sprinter Oscar Pistorious for the 400m gold medal.
ING New York City Marathon….much more than just a race!
Explore the sights of New York with Sports Tours International.
This November New York City will host one of the world’s greatest road races, but you don’t have to run to experience the racing pulse of the big apple.
Sports Tours International, the UK’s leading multi-sports tour operator is offering a number of travel packages to New York where you can experience the most spectacular city in the world at the same time as one the world’s greatest sporting events.
Not only can guests visit the iconic Empire State building, Central Park and the city’s infamous Macy’s for early Christmas shopping but Sports Tours International also offer a number of sightseeing excursions. These include, Tour Manhattan – a full day coach tour from Uptown to Downtown Manhattan and a one-hour ferry cruise with close up views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; The Circle line cruise – a 3 hour cruise around Manhattan island with views of the Statue of Liberty from all angles; a helicopter sightseeing tour – the most spectacular way to see Manhattan’s amazing skyline.
Sports Tours International Head of Commercial Brendan Fox said: “New York has so much to offer whether you’re taking part in the marathon, supporting a friend or family taking part or simply want to be part of the whole experience. Nothing stays the same in New York and even if you visited last year you’ll be surprised how much the city has changed, and what more there is to see and do.”
Sports Tours International travel packages include centrally located accommodation including; the Belvedere Hotel, Marriott Marquis Hotel and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, they also offer the chance to watch the marathon runners complete the 26 mile course and be part of the post race celebrations.
Brendan added: “November is the ideal time to visit the big apple, not only can you be part of the marathon but as it gets closer to Christmas, New York comes alive and offers a unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else in the world.”
Full Sports Tours International travel packages are available from three to fourteen nights and include flights, accommodation, airport transfers, rep services and the option to purchase marathon entry.
Sports Tours International also offer hotel and flight only packages including the option to purchase race entry.
Sports Tours International is the longest serving International Travel Partner of the New York Marathon and have taken thousands of runner to take part in the race for nearly 40 years.
This year’s ING New York City Marathon 2012 takes place on 4th November, book now to avoid disappointment!