How to enjoy a free tour of Manchester AND burn calories

Keen runner Brian Devlin has taken part in races and parkrun events across the world from the French Alps to the hills and trails of South Australia. He has even completed a marathon on the Great Wall of China.

The day before he ran the Amsterdam marathon a few years ago, the event’s organisers offered a running tour of the city.

He thought it was a great way to see sights which might otherwise have passed him by and thought someone should do something similar in Manchester. He waited a few years and no one did, so he decided to give it a go and ran a few tours last year as part of the Manchester Histories Festival.

“Feedback was really good so I ran a few more after that,” says Brian.

Now Brian, who has a qualification in run leading from UK Athletics and has regularly led running groups for his local club Chorlton Runners, is putting on four tours as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival which starts on 1st July.

Pic Rachel Devlin

“Running is a great way to get out and see things, but sometimes we take the place where we spend the most time for granted. I’d like to give people the opportunity to learn something new about the city they live and work in and to do so in a way that is healthy and active.”

The run is between three and four miles long and lasts around 90 minutes. It’s probably best suited to anyone who can run 5k in less than 30 minutes.

The itinerary is secret at the moment but he’s promising it will be a different route from previous tours.

“Since it’s part of the Fringe there will bit of a focus on books, art, culture, entertainment and that kind of thing. There’ll also just be some bits that will look good on instagram.  Hopefully there’ll be enough to keep everyone interested.”

Brian (left) and friend

Brian won’t be giving a running commentary though. The tour is split between running and stopping to find out a bit more about why a particular place might be of interest.

It’s free for people to take part in, but Brian is asking people to make a donation to the Mayor’s fund for the homeless if they enjoy the run.

“I’ve gotten a lot out of running and I think Manchestour is an opportunity for me to give something back,” says Brian.

“Like Ferris Bueller said – ‘life moves pretty fast’. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it.”

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