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‘It all starts here’ – a new era beckons for the Run Sunderland Festival

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  • Siglion to sponsor Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K
  • New start and finish area in Keel Square as former Vaux site prepares for first phase of long term sustainable regeneration

The first details of the 2016 Run Sunderland Festival have been revealed, including a new base for the two races.  A partnership between organiser Events of the North, Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland, the Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K will be held on Sunday 1 May.  The start and finish of the half marathon and 10K will move to Keel Square, a symbol of the city’s renewal and regeneration.

Both events are being sponsored by Siglion, a partnership between Carillion and Sunderland City Council, managed by igloo Regeneration, which is carrying out major regeneration projects at five locations in the city, including a phased redevelopment of the nearby former Vaux Brewery site.

Since the first Run Sunderland Festival in 2011, the Sunderland City 10K and, later, the half marathon have become firmly established on the North East sporting events calendar, with thousands of runners taking part each year.  After five years based at the Stadium of Light, the Siglion Sunderland City 10K and Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon will move closer to the city centre, but will retain most of the races’ popular routes, taking in many of Sunderland’s most iconic landmarks.

Steve Cram, whose company Events of the North, is organising the half marathon and 10K, comments:  “We’ve enjoyed five fantastic years based at the stadium, but have always been keen to bring the Run Sunderland Festival closer to the city centre.  When Siglion stepped forward to get behind the event, we felt that this presented the ideal opportunity to do that and also use the races to showcase some of the exciting regeneration that is underway in Sunderland.  Keel Square symbolises that renewal in its own right, but it is also next to the former Vaux site, where very exciting plans are in the pipeline.

“In an Olympic year, we’re looking forward to working closely with Siglion, Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland to deliver the biggest and best Run Sunderland Festival to date and that process all starts here.”

John Seager, Siglion’s chief executive, adds:  “Siglion is delighted to be sponsoring the Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K.  Our vision is to design and deliver a truly sustainable 21st century community in Sunderland – socially, economically and environmentally – for all generations to enjoy.

“Events such as the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and Siglion Sunderland City 10K, alongside initiatives like the City of Culture bid, contribute to the vibrancy of the city.  Bringing the events to Keel Square helps us to demonstrate to runners and spectators alike that this is the start of what Sunderland will look like in the future.”

Aly Dixon, a Sunderland Stroller and one of the UK’s leading long distance runners, who has won both the Sunderland City 10K (twice) and Sunderland City Half Marathon, comments:

“It’s great that the Run Sunderland events have grown over the years and continue to improve and I’m very proud to have been involved in them.  We have a great history of running here in Sunderland and having races like these bang in the centre of the city is a fantastic way of showcasing not only the top guys at the front, but also the huge running community right throughout the field.  Next year is an Olympic year and I’m sure that will inspire all to make these races to be the biggest and best yet.”

Cllr John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, comments:

“As the city council has always said, with its commitment to bring investment and more big events across the whole city, creating Keel Square was about a new landmark to welcome people into the heart of Sunderland.

“This news about the square being the start and finish of the half marathon is exactly what we set out to do with Keel Square – it’s a place to meet, greet, a great location for events, and a landmark we can all be proud of.  I’m sure there’ll be a great turn-out of both participants and spectators.

“The award winning Keel Square is a wonderful and fitting venue to continue offering opportunities for people to be involved with events organised between the city council and its partners as part of the city’s approach to an increasingly active Sunderland.”

Events of the North is offering ‘early bird’ entry fees for both the half marathon and the 10K, until midnight on Monday 30 November.  Runners affiliated to a club can enter the half marathon for £29, while the price for unaffiliated runners is £31.  The early bird prices for the 10K are £20 and £22 respectively.  From Tuesday 1 December, the entry prices for the half marathon will be £32/£34 and for the 10K they will be £23/£25.  There will be prizes for leading runners in several categories and all finishers of each race will receive a medal, technical t-shirt and goody bag.

Early in 2016, organisers will announce details of the popular Start Me Up for Sunderland sessions and other activities designed to get runners you to the start line, fit and ready to go.  The event organisers are expecting around 4,000 people to take part in the events on Sunday 1 May 2016.

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DS Media + Events is the brainchild of Steve Cram, who heads a team who have extensive experience in event organisation, delivery and marketing of major sporting events, as well as broadcasting and the media. Steve, former international athlete, World Record holder and Olympic medallist is also director of Extra Mile, which has acted as consultant to numerous major running events such as the Bristol Half Marathon, Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All and has organised the elite road races at the Middlesbrough 10K.