Over 800 people broke the world record in the first ever 24-hour Touchathon event at Eccles Sixth Form College.
The event was organised in aid of the Christie Charitable Trust, and was supported by the Steve Prescott Foundation to raise money and spread the appeal of touch rugby league in the North West.
Dan Parkinson, the RFL’s Regional Development Officer, was responsible for setting up a memorable event. He and several other volunteers participated throughout the entire 24 hours, breaking the world record for the most participants in a 24 hour touch rugby event.
Speaking exclusively to Love Rugby League, Dan said: “We started to do some work with the Christie Charitable Trust last September and we were looking into doing something like a world record attempt.
“Touchathon is a 24-hour touch rugby league world record attempt. The previous record set was 50 people taking part over 24 hours, that was the most amount of people taking part over that period for touch rugby. We’re doing it for touch rugby league which is a new world record.”
Touch rugby league has become a massive opportunity for the RFL in order to keep player participation within the sport. This version of the sport is played in a more relaxed atmosphere, which attracts player from all ages and gender.
Dan said: “One of the biggest drives with the RFL for the North West region is touch rugby league participation. We need to get 8,000 people active across this year and we want more people playing rugby league more frequently.
“As part of the sport England bid we have to get those 8,000 people active but the new thing we’re looking at now is that need to get them to come and play regularly. That’s what we are looking at doing now and we’re looking to get people playing for the 40 weeks a year.”
Dan also explains that the rules are very easy to understand. Despite being based upon a very physical contact sport, touch rugby league has very minimal contact which attracts all manner of people.
He said: “The difference is touch rugby league is six a side. Rugby League is predominantly 13-a-side, its got contact, its physical, its on grass whereas touch rugby league this is on astro turf. Its still six tackles but its just a touch to make the tackle then you play the ball and go. It’s got similar rules to rugby but there is no kicking. Apart from that it’s shorter, sharper and quicker and hopefully gets you a bit fitter. Anyone can play. It’s suitable for any age group and any ability.”