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On starter’s orders

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ALMOST 4,000 runners pulled on their trainers to take part in the Sunderland City 10k and Half Marathon races.

Overcast skies made almost perfect running weather for the contestants, many who were racing to raise funds for charity.

Among those taking part in the race, which started and finished at the Stadium of Light, was Sunderland Stroller, Alyson Dixon.

The 35-year-old from Silksworth, who is hoping to be selected for England ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, proved to be on form when she became the first woman to cross the finish line in the half marathon.

This year Coco, the organisation set up by former world champion athlete, Steve Cram, to help communities in the developing world, was the official charity of the Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Live-organised event.

But, many of the runners were raising money for a range of other good causes.

Among them was Ben Horn, 24, from Roker who was hoping to raise £400 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Ben, who is assistant manager at The New Derby pub in Roker, part of the Greene King group, said over the last few years they have raised more than £5,000 for the chosen charity.

He said: “I thought doing the 10k would help get me ready for the Great North Run in September.”

A group of nine people, who all work in the property sector, got together to do the 10k for Teenage Cancer Trust and raised £4,000 between them.

Chris Pearson, of surveyors, Gavin Black & Partners, said: “I have done fund-raising for the charity for many years. I usually do the Great North Run and decided this race was worth doing as well.”

There were lots of teams running together including a group of five from Virgin Active Wearside.

Brendan McCabe, 25, a member of the team, said: “We are just running for fun and to raise awareness of the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle.”

Also running for fun was Sarah Hartford, 22, from West Rainton.

She said: “I am doing the Great North Run in September, so thought this would be an ideal way to prepare for that. I have done some running on grass, but this is the first time I’ve ran on a hard surface.”

Chris Lines, one of the event organisers, said they were delighted with the way the day went.

He said: “We got everyone away safely and the weather behaved itself, it was great for running, not too warm and not too cold, and there was a great crowd.”

 

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