Middleton Harriers Case Study
Middleton Harriers is a popular running club which provides its 120 members with opportunities to compete in road, cross country and fell races across the North West of England.
Affiliated to England Athletics and the Association of Running Clubs, the club runs structured training sessions from its base at Middleton’s Arena Sports Centre.
Fuelled by a passion for running and promoting a sense of community among its members, Middleton Harriers is a determinedly inclusive club, serving both competitive runners and beginners.
As well as enabling its members to compete in regional competitions, Middleton Harriers also hosts its own club championship road race.
The Hopwood Trot sees both serious and recreational runners tackling a 5.5 mile multiterrain course that takes in paths, tracks and country lanes surrounding the historic Hopwood Hall.
The race is a highlight of the local racing calendar, in 2023 attracting well over 150 runners. It’s also a logistical challenge, with key tasks undertaken by the volunteers and members of the local community upon which the club relies.
Critical to the safety and success of the event, those tasks include setting up, marshalling and dismantling the course – some of which lies on open roads – manning car parks and providing a leading bike and tail runner.
“The Hopwood Trot presents many unique challenges,” explains race organiser Craig Sunderland. “There are some isolated points on the route and the terrain is mixed and the one thing you can guarantee with the weather conditions in North Manchester it that you can’t predict them!
“Bearing these things in mind, it’s vital that the course has well positioned well-informed marshals who can quickly respond to any changes in circumstances.” He adds that the varied experience and capabilities of the competitors, adds a further challenge to the organisers and volunteers.
“We have over 150 runners, some of whom might complete the course in 30 or so minutes, some 70. That inevitably means that our volunteers need monitor their progress and safety whilst they inevitably spread out over some distance.”
The safety of the participants is top priority, meaning a quick response is essential to eliminate the risk presented by any potential hazards on the course and inform first aiders in the event of an accident or injury is essential.
In order to best manage the event, the club recognised it needed an effective communications system which could overcome the route’s topographical challenges.
“We required a two-way radio solution that would provide full coverage and clear communications across the whole route, without any dead spots,” says Craig. “That was vital for the smooth and safe running of the race – and what we got from Avoira.”
Having assessed Middleton Harriers requirements, including the club’s need for a short-term solution specifically to cover the Hopwood Trot, we recommended Motorola DP 4400e digital two-way radio hire.
These feature-rich handheld models sit within the manufacturer’s range of professional Mototrbo portable digital radios.
Providing both greater range and battery life – up to 19 hours – than its predecessor, the DP 4400e is a rugged piece of kit offering IP68 water and dust protection.
Featuring Intelligent Audio with noise cancelling, the DP 4400e delivers crystal-clear communication, whilst push-to-talk keeps things both simple and safe. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity are also incorporated as standard.
A Transmit Interrupt function enables the clearing of any one of the unit’s 32 channels for delivery of critical communications, with a dedicated emergency button a further safety feature.
As well as meeting the Middleton Harriers wider communication needs, the DP 4400es enabled the club to meet time-critical objectives, such as ensuring all competitors and relevant officials are present and ready to start the race.
“With the starting gun firing at 7pm the participants needed to be at the start line on time to ensure the best chance of a personal best. Time management and the rapid communication which Avoira’s solution enabled were crucial to ensuring everyone was where they need to be when the gun fired.”