A record number of runners took to the streets for the sixth Run Sunderland Festival today. Despite chilly and damp conditions, thousands of club and fun runners tackled the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K, which for the first time started and finished in Keel Square, a symbol of the city’s regeneration. The Run Sunderland Festival was organised by Events of the North and made possible thanks to a partnership with Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Live.
The day started with the Sunderland City 10k. The race was won by Jonathan Taylor of Morpeth Harriers who crossed the line in 29 minutes and 56 seconds. He was followed by Wondiye Fikre (31:08) and another Morpeth runner Ross Floyd (32:29). First lady was Justina Heslop of Elswick Harriers in 35:48, with Sharon Barlow of Darlington Harriers (37:20) in second and Rhiannon Silson of Border Harriers (37:29) third.
The Sunderland City Half Marathon was won by Tadele Mulugeta of Elswick Harriers in 70:23, followed by Conrad Franks of Gateshead Harriers (72:33) and Luke Adams of South Shields Harriers (72:51). Gateshead Harrier Michelle Nolan won the women’s race in 82:22, with Rachel Barnes of Heaton Harriers (89:34) in second and Debra Crozier (90:53) third.
The Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K were both started by the Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Barry Curran, and local athletics star Aly Dixon, a week after she secured her place at the Rio Olympic Games with her performance in the London Marathon. Almost 4,000 people entered the two Sunderland events, a 15% increase on 2015. Participants included representatives from athletics clubs throughout the North East, along with hundreds of fun runners, many of whom were raising money for good causes, including the event’s official charity partner, Barnardo’s. The runners also included a group of 14 who travelled from China to take part in the event.
The Run Sunderland Festival was sponsored by Siglion, the regeneration company that is leading the transformation of sites around the city.
John Seager, chief executive of Siglion, led a team of runners from the firm in the 10K, and comments: “The Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K have been a fantastic success, attracting more entrants than ever before. As a sponsor and as a participant, they offer great opportunities to boost our health and quality of life, and to enjoy ourselves whatever the weather throws at us.
“They also bring together thousands of local people in our city centre, which is a fantastic sight. Siglion is pleased to have been the title sponsor for these events which bring so much vitality and excitement to the city centre.”
Event founder and race director Steve Cram comments: “It’s been an excellent day of running in Sunderland. Bringing the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K closer to the city centre has worked really well and Keel Square has proved itself to be an excellent base for big events like this.
“Once again, the weather added to the challenge for runners and spectators, but they all rose to it brilliantly. With a sub 30 minute winner in the 10K, we know that the new course is fast, and the half marathon also produced some great performances. We’re hugely grateful to our sponsors and all of our fantastic volunteers who helped make the Run Sunderland Festival possible – once again, they did a brilliant job. Both races grew in size significantly this year and are now firmly established as major events on the region’s sporting calendar.”