Retro Mile

Running Retro will be returning to Salford this weekend, as they make their way to Cadishead Rhinos ARLFC this Saturday to run another of their one mile events.

Retro Mile is a fun run where the competitors have to run backwards. It’s held on the first Saturday of every month at 10am.

Shantelle Gaston-Hird, the organizer of the event, has some experience in retro running, so much so she even holds a Guinness World record for the fastest female to run a half marathon backwards (since March 2017 – 2 hours 27min and 9 sec). She achieved this accomplishment at the Wilmslow half marathon and she supported a bullying charity on this race with the idea of “not being afraid to stand out from the crowd – and if you do, embrace it.”

With retro running being a very different sport to get into Shantelle spoke about her introduction to the activity, “I am one of nine and have been brought up to be active. We didn’t have money but we had sports and the outdoors, so I am always looking for new outdoor activities to do.”

She said: “I first got into retro running as part of a team bonding event at Heaton Park (organised by Wakey Nation) with my roller derby team. This run was incredibly fun and every single person laughed throughout.”

The first event Shantelle ran at Cadishead was a succesful one, they had 27 people at their first event on Sunday, December 30. The feedback was extremely positive, giving Shantelle the confidence to plan more events.

Gaining the attention of a younger audience to a new sport is always a hard mission, but Shantelle has seemed to be able to accomplish this. The age bracket of her last event ranged from six to 65.

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Shantelle said that Retro Mile’s mission is to get people active in the community, “I have created this event to get families using local green spaces in new ways. Most activities for families have the parents stood on the sideline of the parents in fitness classes and the children sat in the corner. These events allow them to do it together.”

She also outlined why she feels she should try and stand out as Sports England in 2014 stated that one of the biggest barriers to fitness in women is the fear of judgement. She even spoke about an event she took part in, where she noticed the difference in the amount of women who took part compared to men; “I competed in a half Ironman triathlon event in France and there were 1401 men and 366 women.”

She added; “the Retro Mile breaks down these barriers as everyone looks a bit different and if someone is faster it doesn’t matter as you can’t see them as they are behind you!”

This really backs up the mission statement of Retro Mile, which is made up of six steps:

1. To encourage people to maximise the use of local green space,
2. To break down barriers in sports by showing individuals they can do
more than they think they can
3. To encourage families to be active together
4. To increase the number of women in sport
5. To educate people on the importance of cross training to prevent
injury
6. To help show that exercise and sports can be fun!
Running Retro have 11 events scheduled for this year and they hope to continue having monthly events in Irlam and Cadishead to create a consistent local event in the community.
On top of this, Shantelle is creating 4 special events which will be 2 miles running backwards called the Retro Double. These will be challenge events that will work in line with different charities. She has also planned a Ladies/Mothers’ Day Race on Saturday, March 30 at 10am.
She is in the early stages of working with a body positive charity and targeting the community events to getting women into sports and activities and thus making the whole community more active.

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