CHANGES to the route of this year’s Sunderland City 10k and Half Marathon will provide a better race for all.
That is the verdict of organiser Steve Cram, who spoke ahead of Sunday’s events, which starts and finishes at the Stadium of Light.
Just under 4,000 runners are set to hit the streets of Wearside across the two races.
“We’ve tried to make it a bit easier for runners who are trying to achieve fast times,” said Steve, a former World Champion athlete, now a commentator for the BBC.
“The 10k route is 98 per cent the same and there isn’t too much change to the half marathon either.”
A marathon race has not been put on this year as major redevelopment work of Sunderland city centre is carried out, but should be back in 2015.
“We are well on with work to realign St Mary’s Way and hopefully the public square will be completed by the end of this year,” said Councillor Harry Trueman, of Sunderland City Council. “That work has to be done, but by this time next year, we will hopefully be back to full strength in terms of hosting a marathon.”
Sunderland runner Alyson Dixon is favourite to win the half marathon, which she is competing in as part of her training programme.
The 35-year-old Sunderland Strollers member, of Silksworth, is hoping to be selected for England ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“I’ve done a few training runs around the route and it’s not as hilly as it has been in previous years,” she said.
“I can’t see that I’ll manage a personal best, but to finish around the 74-minute mark would be good.
“I was hoping to go to Kenya earlier this year, but I couldn’t get the funding, so my altitude training ahead of the summer will have to be done on Tunstall Hill!”
The 10k begins at 10am on Sunday, with the half marathon getting under way at 10.25am.