On your marks... Apprentice star Katie Bulmer-Cooke and Steve Cram launch programme for new runners

Steve Cram and Katie Bulmer-Cooke about to lead off the first group of the Start Me Up runners who have signed up for the Sunderland half marathon amnd 10K.

Steve Cram and Katie Bulmer-Cooke about to lead off the first group of the Start Me Up runners who have signed up for the Sunderland half marathon amnd 10K.

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RUNNING beginners got on their marks ahead of this spring’s festival of running in Sunderland.

Organisers of this year’s city 10k and half marathon events, which take place in May, held the first session of the new Start Me Up programme.

Steve Cram (4th from right)and Katie Bulmer-Cooke (7th from right) about to lead off the first group of the Start Me Up runners who have signed up for the Sunderland half marathon amnd 10K. at The Bridges, last night,

Steve Cram (4th from right)and Katie Bulmer-Cooke (7th from right) about to lead off the first group of the Start Me Up runners who have signed up for the Sunderland half marathon amnd 10K. at The Bridges, last night,

The training scheme is aimed at helping novice runners to improve their performance ahead of the runs later this year.

Despite having to brave drizzly and cold conditions, about 30 people turned out next to The Bridges to get tips from former Olympian and organiser Steve Cram as well as Apprentice star Katie Bulmer-Cooke.

The pair took the group for a jog around the city centre.

Fitness expert Katie, who was on last year’s Apprentice series, in which contestants try to win a six-figure investment from tycoon Sir Alan Sugar, said she was “impressed” with the turn out and said it showed good signs for the future.

“The whole thing has gone really well,” said Katie, of Ashbrooke.

“It was nice to see a real mixture of club runners and beginners all meeting in the city to run together.

“We had experienced runners through to people who haven’t even exercised for years and the atmosphere was great.”

Katie and Steve took the group on a 5k route around Sunderland, Katie on foot and Steve following on a bicycle.

Leaving the Bridges they went down Burdon Road, onto Ryhope Road before getting to Queen Alexandra road and going back to the shopping centre.

Steve Cram said: “Everyone who turned up was clearly determined to get themselves into running shape for the Sunderland City 10K. Katie did a fantastic job of motivating all of our runners and I am sure that they will all be ready for the race ahead by May 3.”

Further Start Me Up sessions are taking place in the next three months as the countdown to the festival of running nears.

The Sunderland City 10k and half marathon races take place on Sunday, May 3, with both starting and ending at the Stadium of Light.

To sign up or for more details about the Start Me Up programme, go to www.sunderlandcity10k.com.