SUNDERLAND will host the North East’s only road marathon next May, it was announced today.
The Marathon of the North will take place on Sunday, May 6, and is expected to see thousands of runners descend on Wearside.
The race will be part of a weekend of events, with the Sunderland City 10k, now in its second year, taking place on the same day. Routes for both runs are still being finalised.
Live music and entertainment have also be confirmed as organisers look to create a “festival of running” in the city.
Ex-Olympic athlete and former world record holder Steve Cram is organising the event.
He said: “When we launched the Sunderland City 10k run, we made it clear that our ambition was to introduce a marathon in year two.
“The success of the 10k has reinforced our belief that Sunderland is a great location for other major road runs and we think that the Marathon of the North has enormous potential to deliver another iconic sports event to the North East.
“I’m really excited about what we can achieve with this run.”
One of those excited by the announcement is Team GB marathon runner Alyson Dixon, from Sunderland.
Aly, who is also a member of Chester-le-Street Athletics Club, said: “I think it’s really great news that the Marathon of the North is going to be based in Sunderland.
“The city has a great heritage in marathon running and athletics in general, and has produced many international athletes over the years.
“This event is going to tap into the huge passion for the sport that exists in Sunderland and throughout the North East.”
Coun Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The Marathon of the North and the Sunderland City 10k run will form part of a whole running festival weekend in Sunderland, which promises to be a wonderful occasion for residents, competitors and visitors.”
Both the Sunderland City 10k and the Marathon of the North will take place on May 6.