SUNDERLAND’S 2014 festival of running cost almost half the amount of last year’s event.
This year, the city council paid organisers DS Media and Events £40,000 to put on the Sunderland City 10k and half marathon events, which took place in May.
In 2013, the authority gave £76,000 to the company, although the Marathon of the North, which was not put on this year, was held too.
The figures were uncovered in a Freedom of Information request by the Echo.
Organisers say the economic benefit to the city by hosting the event was more than five times what was paid to put it on.
Last year’s event saw a huge blunder after race markings were incorrectly placed.
Race bosses admitted thousands of runners fell short of completing the correct Marathon and Half Marathon routes after an error meant 264metres – 0.16miles – was missed out.
The only person to run the correct route was half-marathon winner Mark Hood.
There were no such errors this year and the marathon event was not held because of work currently being carried out in Sunderland city centre.
David Roberts, of DS Media and Events, said “Many towns, cities and regions use events for the benefit of their own residents and to help promote themselves to potential visitors.
“Great examples include Glasgow and Manchester successfully staging the Commonwealth Games, and Celtic Manor in Wales and Gleneagles in Scotland hosting the Ryder Cup.
“Sunderland City Council’s contribution to the half marathon and 10k was a small percentage of the overall staging costs – in contrast, the positive economic impact of the events to the city was more than five times that investment.
“Of course, the benefits of hosting large scale running events are more than economic – they also make significant contributions to the health and wellbeing of those people from Sunderland who participate, and hopefully inspire even more to get active.”
Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said: “The leadership team at Sunderland City Council is committed to continuing to provide a wide range of value for money events and activities for not only residents but visitors who bring spending into the city.
“One of these events is the Festival of Running which was a great success with 3,500 people taking part.
“This year, the amount paid for the festival was part of the contractual relationship between the city council, Sunderland Live and DS Media and Events.
“This three-year agreement was reached with a view to reducing the city council’s financial contribution as the event becomes more sustainable.
“In this time of central government imposed budget cutbacks requiring the council to find yet another £100m in savings, this is a good example of how we continue to work with our delivery partners Sunderland Live.’’