Roadworks to blame for cancelled Sunderland marathon

Marathon and half marathon runners on their way.'Marathon of the North 2013 event

Marathon and half marathon runners on their way.'Marathon of the North 2013 event

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ROADWORKS will stop Sunderland from hosting the Marathon of the North next year.

But organisers of the city’s Running Festival have announced the Sunderland 10k and half marathon events will take place on May 4.

The festival was dogged by controversy following this year’s marathon after it was revealed that incorrect placement of race marshals had reduced the race by 264 metres.

The blunder saw 5,000 runners fail to complete the full distance.

The running festival team say next year, major city centre development work means the marathon cannot return in 2014, but hope the Sunderland 10k and half marathon will be enough to retain the event’s reputation.

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “The half marathon and Sunderland City 10k have become firmly established in the city’s calendar, alongside major events like the Stadium of Light concerts and Sunderland International Airshow. It’s fantastic to have an event that appeals to runners of all levels, from elite and club runners to those taking part in their first organised run.

“We hope the new half marathon route will make the event even more popular and look forward to welcoming back a bigger and better Marathon of the North in 2015.”

The 2014 Sunderland 10k and half marathon events will start and finish at the Stadium of Light.

Organisers say they have listened to feedback from this year’s events and cut back on the number of twists and turns in the half marathon course to allow runners to achieve better times.

Event founder Steve Cram said: “We are really excited about the potential for the 2014 Sunderland City Half Marathon and Sunderland City 10k.

“Since launching the first of these events in 2011, they have grown year on year and it was great to see almost 5,000 people running through the city centre in May.

“Running participation at most levels in the UK is continuing to increase strongly and we aim to provide another great opportunity for people to test themselves against the classic 10k and half marathon distances, cheered on by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic North-East public.”