The Backwards Running Championships took place in Heaton Park on Sunday, raising much needed cash for Forever Manchester. Daniel Alston reports back on the day…

Imagine the scene: You’re walking your dog in the local park on a typically casual Sunday morning, surveying the lake and enjoying the peacefulness. Your dog’s ears prick up and from around the corner emerge a small herd of runners. Backwards, coming towards you in reverse. A truly surreal sight.

The UK Backwards Running Championships arrived at Heaton Park on Sunday 14th August, sponsored by Forever Manchester. As well as the national race, there was also the opportunity for anyone and everyone willing to take part in the Fun Run, all in the name of raising funds for the charity.

A well-marshaled 1km circuit was laid out and the assembled crowd set off at their respective paces after a coached warm-up. An incline and a low dip had to be navigated amidst the meandering park path – not exactly easy when running normally. All runners completed the route, with some setting personal best times and others achieving great first attempt times. The event raised a load of cash for Forever Manchester – we’re still adding up the exact amount so we’ll be announcing that soon. In addition, no injuries were reported, which is always a bonus.

Backwards running is no gimmick or joke. It is a sport that is slowly beginning to gain wider recognition, with those involved calling for it to grow and be a featured event at the 2020 Olympics. UK and World Champion, Garrett Doherty spoke of many of the advantages of the sport.

“People really loved it and they’re keen to try it again. It’s just the stigma of going outside and giving it a go on your own. It’s great for your confidence, your co-ordination and your balance.”

“Five minutes backwards is the same as twenty forwards; it’s ideal for busy people. It can cure obesity, it can cure addictions like smoking because it gets you out of your routine. Everything has an opposite. Which is more stupid; to go forwards all of the time, or to go backwards some of the time?”

A good question indeed. For more information on backwards running, visit www.reverserunning.com

Words: Daniel Alston

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