Duncan Watmore helps aspiring runners get fit for Sunderland at first SMUFS session

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40 aspiring runners from Sunderland have taken the first steps towards getting fit and ready for the 2016 Siglion Sunderland City 10K, with help from some of the region’s leading sports stars and fitness coaches.  The organisers of next year’s Run Sunderland Festival held the first of a series of Start Me Up For Sunderland (SMUFS) sessions at the Stadium of Light.  Event founder Steve Cram was on hand, along with Apprentice star and personal trainer Katie Bulmer-Cooke, current international runner (and Sunderland Stroller) Alyson Dixon, and local qualified running coaches.  One of Sunderland AFC’s brightest stars, Duncan Watmore, also made an appearance and even picked up a few tips that might help him on the football field.

Start Me Up For Sunderland was introduced at the start of this year and is designed for anyone who wants to lead a more active lifestyle, but doesn’t know where to start.  It was a big success ahead of the 2015 Run Sunderland Festival and is being repeated ahead of next year’s events, with support from The Bridges shopping centre and the festival’s main sponsor, Siglion.  Through a combination of mentoring, easy group runs with qualified coaches and training tips, the programme helps people to build confidence and fitness in order to be able to tackle events such as the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K on Sunday 1 May 2016.

Steve Cram comments:

“For non-runners, a distance of 10K can seem very daunting, but with the right preparation and support, it is definitely achievable for the vast majority of people who take up the sport.  If you are determined to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle, aiming for an event like the Siglion Sunderland City 10K is a great target.  The biggest challenge can often be taking those first few steps and that’s why we came up with Start Me Up For Sunderland.

“SMUFS offers a really accessible entry point to running.  It’s welcoming and is all about making participation easy and appealing.  There’s also the reassurance that is provided by having fully qualified running coaches on hand who can adapt the training to suit an individual’s experience and level of fitness.”

There will be a series of SMUFS sessions between now and the Run Sunderland Festival.  They will be ‘first come first served’ on a session by session basis.  Details will appear on the event website, Facebook and Twitter (@Sunderland10K).  For more information about the 2016 Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K and to book a place on one of the events visit


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