SUNDERLAND is set to get its own boat race.
Plans are roaring ahead for a battalion of dragon boats to take to the Wear next summer.
The race is the brainchild of Sunderland University student Lauren Daglish-Smith.
Lauren is planning to turn the inaugural event into an annual race which will also see shore-based activities taking place simultaneously.
Now Lauren, who is project co-ordinator for Sunderland Heritage Quarter, a regeneration initiative surrounding the city’s old port, is on the lookout for teams to join the race, planned for Saturday, July 14.
The student, who is studying part-time for a masters degree in tourism and events, said: “With the London Olympics and the Year of the Dragon next year, we thought the time was right for Sunderland to host its first dragon boat race.
“We aim for it to be a community-led event, encouraging as many people as possible to be involved while celebrating the heritage of the river.”
The race will be made up of at least 12 teams, racing three times over the course of the day and those with the best times will compete in a final. Each team has 12 to 16 rowers and a drummer keeping the “heartbeat” rhythm which the rowers follow.
Participants must be over 12 years of age and competent enough to swim 50m supported by a buoyancy aid. It is a novice event and no previous rowing experience is necessary.
Professional events team Race the Dragon will provide the boats, safety boat, insurance and event management on the day. To cover these organisational costs, there is an entry fee of £350 per team.
Lauren said that as well as the boat race she is hoping to make it a fun day for everyone, with shore-based events and activities during the day.
The event already has the backing of the Sunderland Heritage Forum, Living History North East, Sunderland City Council and the Hendon ward councillors along with the Mayor, Councillor Norma Wright.
For more information about the race and signing up a team contact Lauren on 07784 446787 or email email@example.com.