Dated: 14/11/2016  
One of the all-time greats of distance running was running on the streets of Sunderland today (MON). 
Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe - pictured here with local Olympic athlete Aly Dixon - both led a group of 50 people in a  run around Sunderland city centre after signing up to take part in the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon on Sunday 7 May next year, and has teamed up with the event organisers and Sunderland City Council to challenge and inspire more local people to take up running.  
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Shoppers to take on the spin cycle challenge and meet ‘Paula’ at the Bridges

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Shoppers in Sunderland will be challenged to get more active in the Bridges shopping centre on Thursday 16 March.  As part of the lead up to this year’s Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K, event partners the Bridges, Everyone Active and Sun FM have teamed up for a special event designed to encourage more city residents to sign up for the two runs, which will take place on Sunday 7 May.

Run Sunderland Festival staff will be in the Bridges from 10:00am until 4:00pm on Thursday 16 March, alongside the Everyone Active team and three ‘spin’ bikes.  Shoppers will be challenged to pedal on a bike for exactly one minute, stopping when they think the time is up without using a watch or digital timer to guide them.  Every attempt will be recorded and the winner will be the closest to an exact minute.  They will receive a 12-month free membership to Everyone Active (if they’re already a member they’ll be given free swimming lessons for a child for a year), along with a free entry to the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon or 10K and a Start Me Up For Sunderland technical t-shirt.

In addition, a life-size cardboard cut-out of Paula Radcliffe will be on site all day and shoppers will be able to get their photograph taken next to Paula and a ‘Paula Made Me Do It’ message.  Spot prizes will be awarded to some of those who have their photos taken.At 2:00pm, Team GB marathon star Aly Dixon will also be on hand for an ‘ask the expert’ Q&A session that will also be streamed live on Facebook, offering advice and encouragement to aspiring runners.

The day will conclude with the latest Start Me Up For Sunderland (SMUFS) session, when 50 runners will set off on a training run from the Bridges, led by Aly Dixon and a team of qualified coaches. Originally launched in 2015, the SMUFS initiative has become a key part of the build up to the Run Sunderland Festival and is designed to help less experienced runners prepare for the challenge of the 10K or half marathon.

Run Sunderland event founder Steve Cram comments: “We brought the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K right into the city centre last year and the move worked really well.  It has allowed event partners like the Bridges Shopping Centre to get more involved in promoting the races.  It’s really great to work with the Bridges, Everyone Active and Sun FM to encourage even more Sunderland residents to take up the challenge of the half marathon or 10K, and I am sure that these fun initiatives will do just that.”

Samantha Czwordon-Wright, marketing manager at the Bridges shopping centre, adds:“As a sponsor of the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K, the Bridges is delighted to see this important event return to the city centre for the second time.

“It’s also great news to hear that we are attracting runners from further afield and that as well as taking part in the run, they can also hopefully take the time to enjoy everything Sunderland has to offer on race day.

“The pre-event programme of activity will give lots of people the opportunity to see what fun running can be and we hope that in turn will encourage more local people to sign up and take part in the main event.”

The Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K are being organised by Events of the North, in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland.  For a second year, both races are being sponsored by Siglion, the development partnership which is carrying out major regeneration projects on the Vaux site and at other locations in the city.  The events are also supported by sports nutrition company Totum Sport as performance partner.

 

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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.