Katie Bulmer-Cooke: On my ‘City is mint’ soapbox

Paula Radcliffe at Sunderland 10K/Half Marathon press conference, Hilton Garden Hotel, Sunderland
Paula Radcliffe at Sunderland 10K/Half Marathon press conference, Hilton Garden Hotel, Sunderland
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If you don’t want to read about how vibrant our wonderful city is this week, then look away now, as I’m on my ‘Sunderland is mint’ soapbox.

The sun is finally shining, and has brought with it some fantastic events over the last week.

First up was the Entrepreneur’s Forum event held at the beautiful new Hope Street Xchange building in the city centre on Wednesday.

Now this wasn’t just any old business breakfast with some casual networking, this was major! It was major because my childhood role model (and adulthood role model) was the guest speaker. Paula Radcliffe graced the stage to share, with the lucky invitees, her glorious career in distance running.

She talked about her high and low points and cleverly tied them all into a business and real life context. She spoke of how she juggled her hectic schedule of training and competing with being a mam and gave some brilliant insights in to what it’s like to have things not go your way and how you come back from that.

Ultimately whether you’re an athlete, a business person, a parent or take any other role in life, there was a lot to be gleaned from Paula’s talk.

She is a true inspiration and was super lovely and down to earth, and it was ace to have her in Sunderland.

Then on Thursday I was invited to the launch of The Bridges Fashion Week. Now anyone who knows me will know that when it comes to fitness fashion I’m top of the game. My trainer collection is unrivalled and boy do I know how to choose a gym legging. However, when it comes to ‘normal’ clothes, I need all the help I can get.

Prior to the event I had assumed that everything on the cat walk would be super high fashion, like the stuff you see on telly at London Fashion Week, that you couldn’t ever wear out and about because it’s simply too wacky.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The show featured brands such as Topshop, Warehouse and Primark and you could literally go and buy all of the items you saw on stage right there and then in The Bridges.

Everything was very wearable and packed with great ideas for how to put items together. It really highlighted that we have awesome shops in The Bridges and that there are fab fashion choices right on our doorstep at realistic prices.

Fast forward to Sunday aka run day and the buzz in the city centre was immense. To see so many people from our city and region getting active is just the best. This is the second year the 10k and half marathon races have started and finished in Keel Square and that section of the city just continues to look better and feel more vibrant.

There are big plans for the old Vaux site and the area between Keel Square and The Dun Cow… and beyond, as revealed at the Entrepreneur’s Forum on Wednesday by John Seager from Siglion. This coupled with the awesome events that have been going on lately and the submission of Sunderland’s bid to be City of Culture 2021, really demonstrates that Sunderland is on the up (if only we could say the same about the football team), and we should all be very proud of where we live!