OLYMPIC champ Sally Gunnell will start the firing pistol on this weekend’s Sunderland running extravaganza, it has been announced.
The former 400m hurdler is coming to the city as the first ever Marathon of the North takes place on Wearside.
Sally, who won the Gold medal in the Barcelona games on 1992, will be offering hints and tips to young runners who are taking their first steps in athletics.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to the Run Sunderland Festival.
“With so much going on it promises to be a great weekend out for all the family.”
Sally is an ambassador for McCain Foods, partner of UK Athletics and a major partner of the Run Sunderland Festival.
The McCain Home Grown Talent scheme will be on show, where one of the young stars of the Mini Fun Run race will win membership to their local athletics club for a year and tickets to a Grand Prix athletics event.
Children will also be able try out high jump, sprinting as well as strength and reaction tests inside a giant inflatable pod as part of the McCain Track and Field experience.
It starts at noon on Saturday at the Stadium of Light and is open for all competitors and families.
Sally, 45, added: “I believe it is good to try out a lot of events at a young age so you can find out what you are best at and what you enjoy the most.”
Steve Cram, founder of the Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10k, added: “I’m delighted that Sally is joining us – she’s one of Britain’s all-time great athletes and her enthusiasm for the sport is bound to have a positive effect on people she meets up here in the North East.”
The McCain Track and Field experience will be open from noon to 5.30pm on Saturday and from 10am to 3pm on Sunday.