Paralympics hero Richard Whitehead launch Half Marathon of the North

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World Champion athlete and former world record holder Steve Cram has teamed up with London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallist Richard Whitehead (the ‘British Blade Runner’) to launch the Half Marathon of the North. The North East’s newest road half marathon is backed by Sunderland City Council and will follow a route in the city on Sunday 28 April 2013. The event will form part of a full programme of mass participation runs on the same day, including the Marathon of the North and the Sunderland City 10K. Around 6,000 people are expected to run through the streets of Sunderland on the day.

The Half Marathon of the North will start and finish outside Sunderland AFC’s Stadium of Light and will take runners to other iconic locations in the city. The race will start at the same time as the full marathon and competitors will head over the Wearmouth Bridge run a course south of the River Wear, before heading back to the stadium.

Steve Cram comments:
“Over the last two years, we have successfully established both the Sunderland City 10k and the Marathon of the North. After London 2012, the popularity of running has never been greater, with people up and down the country being inspired to take up the sport by the amazing achievements of Richard Whitehead and other athletes. So I think this is the perfect time to introduce another high quality event to the North East.

“The Half Marathon of the North will be the ideal event for any club runner in the north of England or southern Scotland who is looking for a spring road race to tackle. I am sure that it will also appeal to fun runners who want to set themselves an achievable challenge for the first half of next year.

“I am really pleased that Sunderland City Council shares my team’s ambition to create a major running festival in the city that we intend to become one of the main events on the region’s sporting calendar. Experienced and novice runners alike should mark 28 April 2013 in their diaries now – it’s going to be another great occasion.”

Richard Whitehead was one of the stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He stormed to victory in the T42 200m final, with an astonishing home straight burst that saw him set a new world record. Before the Paralympics, some of Whitehead’s most notable achievements were in long distance runs and he holds the world record in his class for both the half marathon (1:14:14) and the marathon (2:42:54).

Richard Whitehead comments:
“I’ve always been passionate about road running, as I like the inclusive nature of the sport – where anyone who wants to can get involved. Whether you want to take part, be a helper on the day or simply come down to support the runners, this event is something that anyone can play a role in. That’s why I’m very happy to support the new Half Marathon of the North, alongside the Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10K, as I hope they will all increase the exposure of running, as well as participation.”

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly adds:
“We are delighted to be staging this fantastic new athletics event, which will complement our existing programme and provide people with even more opportunity to get involved with sport. We hope to attract runners from local, regional and national clubs to take part alongside individual competitors.

“Sunday 28 April promises to be a great day for sport , a great chance to showcase our city and a great chance for everyone to participate in one of the largest running festivals to be held anywhere in the country next year.”

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