We may be called Team New Balance Manchester, but in reality, it’s probably a tiny bit misleading as the team is based primary in Stockport, a city on the South East of Manchester. Team New Balance Stockport doesn’t quite have the same ring though (and I don’t think quite as many people know where Stockport is in the country!) so we stuck with Manchester.
Nestled between Manchester on one side and the stunning Peak District National Park on the other, Stockport probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think of a runners paradise, but we really are spoilt for choice in terms of running. For the mountain goats on the team, there is a plentiful supply of hills to run up (Steve doesn’t let us go more than a few days without getting a few hills in!) and just a stones throw away from the house, if we are in need of a flatter route there is a huge network of canals and the Middlewood way, a 10 mile long disused railway line that runs between Marple and Macclesfield which has been converted to a multi-purpose trail for walkers, runners, cyclists and horses.
For the majority of our easy runs, we meet at the NB athlete house in Marple, which sits on the edge of Stockport, and from there we head off down the street in bright New Balance gear, attracting looks from bemused neighbours! There are countless off road routes from the house, but we are creatures of habit, so usually we stick to the canal and a path along the River Goyt, or we head to Lyme Park if we feel like a slightly hillier run and a potential sighting of a stag or deer! Lyme Park lies on the edge of the Peak District and is a National Trust owned Estate, and is home to the largest house in Cheshire – Lyme Hall. The house is surrounded by 16 Acres of moorland and a deer park making it ideal for off-road running and deer sighting! Hills are in abundance in the park, so as well as being the location of our runs runs, we can often be found doing hill reps there too.
Along with ample running routes for our easy runs, we also have great training venues for sessions. The track, based in Woodbank Park, Stockport, is a great facility. Not only is there a track, but also a flat and fully measured kilometer and mile road loop that we use for tempo runs or as a change from running reps on the track. You don’t have to go far in Stockport to find a hill, and Woodbank Park is no different. Steve often likes to add a few hills into our sessions, which makes Woodbank the ideal location for training- a track, grass, traffic free roads, and hills, what more could we ask for!
For our longer sessions such as progression runs, we use the Middlewood way. Other than the odd horse getting in the way, the Middlewood way is perfect for these long sessions, as it is flat, soft underfoot, sheltered and traffic free. Between us all on team NBMCR we have logged countless miles on it!
On Sundays we combine almost all of these locations for what you could call a “Full Monty” run! We usually start off on the Middlewood way before hitting Lyme Park for our daily dose of hills, and then we finish off on the canal and Middlewood way again. Whatever the weather, Lyme Park never fails to be spectacular. It is always a pleasure to run there, even hills can be enjoyable in Lyme Park! Whilst the running ends when we get back to our cars, the socialising continues at the post long run breakfast club. Fortunately we don’t have to go far to find food at the end of the long run, there is a small cafe called Blueberries just up the road from where we run, so if you are ever looking for us on a Sunday morning, we can usually be found there from about 11am devouring various forms of bread and eggs!
The last of our training venues, but by no means least, is the gym. We are in the gym for strength and conditioning twice a week, and are fortunate to have support of Life Leisure UK; a network of gyms/leisure facilities in the Stockport area. Within a 3-4 mile radius from the house there are around three Life Leisure gyms that we can use. More often than not ,we use the one in Romiley or Hazel Grove, but we occasionally mix it up and go to other ones if we are feeling adventurous! They are great gyms, and we are also lucky to have access to their Alter-G (Anti-Gravity) treadmill which is ideal for returning to running post injury.
So there you have it- the Team NBMCR stomping grounds in a nutshell!
This weekend Ross will be representing GB at his third consecutive European Cross County Championships in Sardinia, Italy. Tune into BBC 2 at 15.50 on Sunday to see highlights from the races.
Meanwhile, Andy, Charlie, Jamie and Eli will be swapping cross country spikes for road racing shoes at the Telford 10km on Sunday.
Good luck to all!
“Be confident in the work you did to prepare for the race. Take a look back at your training logs to remind yourself that you’ve done everything possible to prepare. The race is the fun part where you get to see the hard work pay off. Enjoy it.” -Desiree Linden