Sunderland run showcases ‘amazing countryside’

Marathon runner Darren Barnes of Sunderland has set up an online cross-country run,  taking in all the interesting landmarks of the City and it's surrounding areas which he has mapped out, with photographs and information.

Marathon runner Darren Barnes of Sunderland has set up an online cross-country run, taking in all the interesting landmarks of the City and it's surrounding areas which he has mapped out, with photographs and information.

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AN ATHLETE has launched a new cross-country run to showcase Sunderland’s beauty spots.

Darren Barnes, from Tunstall, created the 20-mile route, which takes in Penshaw Monument, Tunstall Hills, Hastings Hill and Silksworth, in a bid to encourage more visitors to Wearside.

The Sunderland Four Peak Challenge, which is being promoted on his blog, took weeks to plan and draw up.

“It essentially takes in four points of interest and beauty around the city,” said the dad-of-one.

“It takes in Tunstall Hills, Hastings Hill and Penshaw Monument as well as Silksworth ski slope.

“It really shows off what the city has to offer, that there are some wonderful sights and attractions in the area.

“It’s a run anybody can do in their own time and at their own pace.

“They can do it on their own, with their family and friends or as part of a running club.”

The 44-year-old, who has lived on Wearside all his life, said he worked hard to plan a route which included as many sites of local interest as possible.

“The Sunderland run is something I’ve wanted to do for a while,” he said. “We have some amazing countryside here, which is often overlooked by people who are not from the city.

“Running is a great way to explore a place as well as keep fit. I’m hoping the blog will help attract visitors to the city.”

Darren, who works in sales, has been interested in running for the past two years and is regularly accompanied by wife Michelle, 45, and daughter Jessica, 16, on his treks.

In 1998, he also won a Sunderland Echo and Vaux Achievement Award for fund-raising in long-distance hiking.

“I also take part in running in mountain marathons and ultra marathons across North Yorkshire and Scotland,” he said. “It is my intention to promote good sport and activity in the city.

“I created the Endurance and Ultra Running Blog to show each run I have personally completed and added a good description, making it easy for fellow runners to follow.

“I’m also hoping to push the Sunderland run in the trail magazines to get the message across that the city is a great place to run.

“Eventually, I hope to complete a guide to routes across the North East and the North West.”

For more information about the Sunderland Four Peak Challenge, visit www.darren-barnes.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho