Despite challenging weather conditions, thousands of runners took to the streets of Sunderland today to take part in the Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K. Starting and finishing at the Stadium of Light, both races followed routes around the city centre. 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.
Heavy rain and strong wind provided a sharp contrast to last year’s dry weather, but didn’t dampen the runners’ enthusiasm on the fifth birthday of the Run Sunderland Festival. As usual, plenty of spectators from Sunderland lined the route to encourage the participants. There were also several ‘cheer stations’, staffed by groups such as the event’s official charity partner COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas), the Teenage Cancer Trust and friends and family of Nicola Norton, a member of local club Sunderland Strollers, who recently lost her battle with cancer.
The day started with the Sunderland City 10k. The race was won by Wondiye Indelbu who crossed the line in 32 minutes and 50 seconds. He was followed by Ian Hudspith of Morpeth Harriers (33:07) and fellow Morpeth runner Michael Morris (34:09). First lady was Aly Dixon of Sunderland Strollers in 34:50, with Justina Heslop of Elswck Harriers (36:18) in second and Sophie Marr (42:11) third.
The Sunderland City Half Marathon was won by Tadele Mulugeta of Elswick Harriers in 71:24, followed by Weynay Ghebresilasie of Birchfield Harriers (71:36) and Kev Jeffress of Sunderland Harriers (72:01). Tyne Bridge Harrier Louise Rodgers won the women’s race in 88:42, with Ashleigh Ewen of Sunderland Strollers (89:30) in second and Catriona MacDonald of Morpeth Harriers (91:26) in third.
Alongside the many club athletes, were hundreds more runners who were raising money for good causes and others who were simply challenging themselves to tackle the 10K or half marathon distance for the first time. Among the runners were BBC journalist Katie Gornall, Sun FM Danielle Moore and Apprentice star Katie Bulmer-Cooke, who also led a warm up for participants ahead of the races. Others wore fancy dress, including a trio of Roman centurions. Both events were started by players from Sunderland Ladies FC.
Event director Steve Cram comments:
“Huge congratulations to everyone who took part today. The weather conditions were extremely challenging for all involved, but that didn’t stop our runners and there were still loads of smiles around the course. Massive thanks are due to all of our fantastic volunteers who helped make the Run Sunderland Festival possible – they were brilliant in really tough circumstances.
“Our fifth birthday has certainly been memorable and we’re grateful to all of our sponsors and to Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Live for their support. The Run Sunderland Festival has grown into a really significant event on the North East sports calendar and we’re already looking forward to holding the races again on the same weekend next year.”