Home | News | Dad conquers personal mountains to take on the hills and fells

Dad conquers personal mountains to take on the hills and fells

Dad conquers personal mountains to take on the hills and fells

Published: 8th June 2023

It certainly won’t be a walk in the park but considering the gruelling life challenges Stephen Kirk has overcome in recent years, he’ll definitely be putting everything into his Tour of Tameside performance.

As one of our Tour of Tameside competition winners 40-year-old dad-of-two Stephen will take part in all four races starting on 15th June.

But it’s been a long road to get to where he is today.

Stephen is a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict and running has been a huge part of his recovery journey.

He’s been clean and sober for almost three-and-a-half years but says at one point he couldn’t even run a bath let alone a 10k.

He’s certainly come on leaps and bounds in a very short space of time.

Now a member of Hyde Village Striders Stephen’s first venture into running came in April last year when he took part in a charity run for Charlesworth Cricket Club.

“At that point I realised I was severely unfit,” he said.

“I joined the striders that summer and joined the gym in January this year.

“The running helped to aid my mental health and recovery. I’ve found running and general exercise really helps clear my mind.

“I started by doing the park runs and gradually built up from there.

“We have a recovery running group where we meet up on Saturdays and do the park runs then go for breakfast afterwards. It’s a social thing as well as a fitness thing.

“It aids my recovery and keeps me to keep fit. I can now keep up with my four-year-old!”

Stephen has never taken part in the Tour of Tameside before but has done the Alderley Edge 10k and has signed up to the Warrington, Manchester and Heaton Park half marathon’s later this year.

In preparation for the Tour he’s being checking out three of the routes and upped his running to three to four times a week alongside yoga, circuit and spin classes as well as cycling to work.

“I wanted to challenge myself as it’s something I haven’t done before,” he said.

“There’s lots of noise and buzz around it through the club.

Stephen running in a long distance race

“I’m looking forward to doing it but my head and body both say different things!

“As this is my first Tour, it’s more about finish lines than finish times.”

Stephen, a team leader, says his participation in the Tour isn’t just a huge personal milestone, he also wants it to be an inspiration to others who are facing or have faced similar situations around addiction and depression.

“If I can help just one person overcome addiction by example that would be awesome,” said Stephen.

“In the last 15 months running has been a massive help and has taken my mental health to another level.”

He does admit to still having one weakness though.

“It’s not really relevant, more factual,” he added.

“I also run to eat more cake!”

Everyone at Active Tameside is rooting for you Stephen! All the best on your first Tour of Tameside!

Photo of Stephen with his children after a running event
book online
book online
view timetables
view timetables
become a member
become a member

Your card, your choice. Choice is a great thing in life, so you’ve come to the right place. With so many ways to spend your Active Choice Card you’ll never be stuck for fun family times, fitness and wellbeing times, Fuel cafes catch-up times and for those activity must-haves (forgotten the goggles, stylish swimwear) you can also spend it at our in-centre stores.

helping you to
live your best life.

My family experienced the Hyper Bowling last week. My children absolutely loved it and wouldn’t stop talking about it, it was such great fun & good how any age can win. I was impressed by the price and how clean everywhere was…

Lee Napier

The staff! I’d still use Active Hyde’s gym if the facilities were rubbish and the price was high. There is always a cheerful person on hand to provide help and advice, both on site and on the phone.


10/10 great facilities and location. Excellent instructors and friendly staff.


The gym and reception staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, always happy to assist… I would highly recommend the gym to anyone who is looking for a friendly, professionally run gym with a great atmosphere that caters to all ages and abilities.

Mary Heaney

I am grateful to the staff at Tameside Wellness Centre for understanding my difficulties, especially since they are invisible. But believing and supporting and being kind to me has made me more determined to continue with my passion for life and remaining active as best as I can…

Yasmin Shad
UK Active Awards 2018 Winner UK Active Awards 2018 Winner UK Active Awards 2018 Winner