Many people have participated in 10k races or Race for Life and are looking for a new fitness challenge. The UK Backward Run offers a fun new race to try out with backward running experiences suitable for absolutely everyone. For those who just want to experience the backward running concept without the pressures of competing there is a '1 mile charity backward fun run and walk' in aid of local community charity Forever Manchester, or for the fitness enthusiast looking for their next challenge there are 1 mile races for men, women and seniors.
The present World, UK & London Backward Running Champion, Garret Doherty will be taking part. He completed the 1 mile course in a blistering 7 minutes 06 seconds last year, which is faster than most people can run the same distance forwards.
Sally Raynes, Wacky Nation’s Event Director says: “With charities receiving much less funding, we wanted to create a fun running event for people to get fit and support local charities too. We hope lots of people are just up for trying out this new challenge and simply giving it a go.”
“We are excited for our charity to be getting involved and showcasing to the world Manchester’s positive community spirit. In our opinion, we are looking forwards by going backwards,” added Forever Manchester spokesman Terry Snowden.
Backward running, also known as reverse running and retro running also has amazing health benefits and is considered a super-exercise. Research has shown that backward running has massive potential in areas of fitness, well-being and rehabilitation. If you’re looking to reduce the risk of knee injury, seeking to lose weight or reduce back problems, backward running could be for you. In fact there are 100 reasons to try backward running with benefits to the body and mind (see below for twenty five of these). Just once a week, the long-term benefits could be amazing. What do you have to lose?
Good luck and once you start, you may never look back again - or should that be forward?
For more information on this event visit the race website at www.reverserunning.com
To arrange an interview please ring Sally on 01884 255896 or email
How do you run backwards?
Choose a flat, wide running surface free of potholes. Identify a distance of 50m to 100m in a straight line and walk it first to check for dips or rocks. From the starting point, the basic technique is to keep your shoulders over your feet, hold your arms close and low to the body, push off from the balls of your feet and avoid lifting your feet too far off the ground. Your heels should very slightly skim the surface before you push off again with the forefoot. Try it! The first thing you will notice is that you’re hitting the ground with a toe to heel foot strike, with an increased stride rate and decreased stride length. The motion will feel smoother and less jarring and you will be running taller with a healthier posture.
What’s more, the bulk of the propulsion now comes from the quadriceps. As you grow more confident, widen your stride and add some speed and extend your distance.
Beginners often find it helpful to run with a partner. As one runs backwards over a short distance, the other runs forwards.
Here are 15 reasons to take up backward running (We have collated 100 reasons in total!). It’s your choice whether to try running backwards.
1. Running backwards works the muscles that forward running (unless you do hill work) doesn’t touch i.e. calves, shins and muscles of the front thigh
2. Gentler running style (forefoot hits ground first) with elimination of ‘heel to toe’ foot striking which means less pounding
3. Backward running burns up to a third more calories than forward running
4. Backward running gives your abs a workout. When you run forward, your lower back takes most of the load, but turning around creates a nice reaction for your abdominal muscles whilst the lower back gets some respite.
5. Studies have also shown that over time backward running can lead to realigned vertebrae and relieve pressure on the nerves. This is because the back is in partial extension when we run backwards. Whatever we do in our lives we are usually hunched forward. May not be an issue now, but it will be as you get older so start undoing all those years of back abuse now.
6. It’s a great knee rehabilitative exercise because it can maintain an athlete’s fitness whilst minimising the impact at the knee joint – because there's no eccentric loading of the knee joint, so prevalent in forward locomotion.
7. Backward running is perfect for runners with bad biomechanics. Remember there’s no heel striking negating the effects of over-pronation or over-supination which therefore significantly reduces the force related trauma.
8. Backward running will benefit your performance in other sports where backtracking/
9. Higher heart rate because more muscle groups are used, especially the quadriceps and your feet hit the ground more quickly and more often (but with less force related trauma) than in forward running. Flynn et al (1994) showed that for a given pace, heart rate increased by 15% when running backward compared with forward.
10. Great way to cool down at the end of a session – backward running reduces heart rate and stretches leg muscles.
11. Backward running will improve your balance and co-ordination. Is backward running the ultimate wobble board?
12. Improves your peripheral vision
13. Improves your proprioception – which is the body’s ability to sense movement within joints and joint position
14. Backward running strengthens the glute muscles (buttocks). You will feel a squeeze in the buttocks as you run
15. Could save your life when faced with an angry a bull in a field and you need to quickly back-pedal tout de suite. Not as silly as it sounds.
For a balanced article there are a few drawbacks to backward running, but you will be hard pressed to find any other exercise that claims such a favourable benefits to risk ratio. Yes, you may get laughed at and you may fall over a few times (these can actually become benefits too). You may also run out of excuses for posting bad times since backward running sorts out all those niggles. On a serious note, runners with serious Achilles tendon problems should avoid backward running which may increase the stress on the tendon. Also, anyone suffering with wrist injuries or stiff necks should also lay off trying the sport until they have recovered.