SUNDERLAND’S Marathon of the North will showcase some of the city’s finest sights, the Echo can reveal.
Charlie Spedding, Britain’s last Olympic marathon medallist, will today unveil the 26.2-mile route that takes in the stunning coastline, sprawling parks and iconic landmarks.
He said: “I am delighted that Steve Cram has made Sunderland the home of the North East’s only road marathon and the route looks absolutely fantastic.
“There’s plenty of variety with sections of seafront, parks and many of Sunderland’s most important landmarks included along the way, like the Stadium of Light, Marina and National Glass Centre.
“Most importantly for athletes wanting to clock a fast time, or perhaps for runners that are new to the marathon distance, the course has the advantage of being encouragingly flat.
“Whether aiming for a good time or simply wanting to tackle a marathon for the first time, the Marathon of the North looks like an outstanding option for runners near and far.”
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE MARATHON ROUTE
Hopes are high that the run will put the spotlight on the city’s sporting achievements as well as attract up-and-coming elite athletes into the race.
Former Sunderland Harrier Aly Dixon, 33, this week jetted off to Kenya to train alongside Mo Farah and Paula Radcliffe in her quest for a place on Great Britain’s London 2012 Olympic Games team.
Steve Cram, founder of the redspottedhanky.com Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10k which will be held on the same day, said: “The Marathon of the North is a really exciting event that I hope will encourage people of all ages to take up running.
“We’ve ensured that athletics clubs will be well catered for, with their own dedicated facilities on the day and a club challenge competition which will enable them to compete for funds to go towards their training costs.
“The route takes in some wonderful landmarks and very scenic locations, which I believe will make this a very memorable and enjoyable run for all those who take part, whatever their level of ability.
“The support that we have received from our partners and sponsors, principally redspottedhanky.com and Sunderland City Council, has been superb.”
The Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10k will be held on Sunday, May 6, as part of a weekend festival.
Over the weekend, the city will be brought to life with a range of activities, including live Saturday night music and pasta parties for runners, to elite and junior runs in addition to the main races.
MARATHON THE THE NORTH KEY MARKERS:
Start – Stadium of Light; 5km – Tatham Street; 10km – Hendon Beach; 15km – Prospect Row; 20km – Ryhope Road; 25km – Barnes Park; 30km – Dame Dorothy Street; 35km – Whitburn Road; 40km – Harbour View; Finish – Stadium of Light.