Shoppers meet Olympic athlete ahead of Sunderland City 10k and half marathon

Sunderland's 10k Bridges Cycle Challenge. From left Events of the North Andy Bridges, Sunderlands Olympian Alyson Dixon, Everyone Active Lee Elliott. Back from left Events of the North Anji Rippon and Rachel Davison
Sunderland's 10k Bridges Cycle Challenge. From left Events of the North Andy Bridges, Sunderlands Olympian Alyson Dixon, Everyone Active Lee Elliott. Back from left Events of the North Anji Rippon and Rachel Davison
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Shoppers were challenged by a Wearside Olympian to get more active as this year’s Sunderland City 10k and half marathon events near.

As part of the lead up to this year’s run, Run Sunderland Festival staff were at the Bridges alongside the Everyone Active team and three ‘spin’ bikes.

Sunderland's 10k Bridges Cycle Challenge. Sunderland's Olympian Alyson Dixon facebook live

Sunderland's 10k Bridges Cycle Challenge. Sunderland's Olympian Alyson Dixon facebook live

Shoppers were asked to pedal on a bike for exactly one minute, stopping when they think the time is up without using a watch or digital timer to guide them.

Every attempt was recorded with the winner receiving a 12-month free membership to Everyone Active along with a free entry to the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon or 10K and a Start Me Up For Sunderland technical T-shirt.

Team GB marathon star Aly Dixon was on hand for an ‘ask the expert’ Q&A session which was streamed live on Facebook, offering advice and encouragement to aspiring runners.

In addition, a life-size cardboard cut-out of marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, who will run this year’s half marathon, was on site all day, with shoppers able to get their photograph taken next to Paula and a ‘Paula Made Me Do It’ message.

Sunderland's 10k Bridges Cycle Challenge. From left Events of the North Andy Bridges, Sunderland's Olympian Alyson Dixon, Everyone Active Lee Elliott

Sunderland's 10k Bridges Cycle Challenge. From left Events of the North Andy Bridges, Sunderland's Olympian Alyson Dixon, Everyone Active Lee Elliott

Spot prizes were also awarded to some of those who have their photos taken.

The day concluded with the latest Start Me Up For Sunderland (SMUFS) session, when 50 runners set off on a training run from the Bridges, led by Aly and a team of qualified coaches.

Originally launched in 2015, the SMUFS initiative has become a key part of the build up to the Run Sunderland Festival, designed to help less experienced runners prepare for the challenge of the 10K or half marathon. Run Sunderland event founder Steve Cram said: “We brought the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K right into the city centre last year and the move worked really well.

“It has allowed event partners like the Bridges Shopping Centre to get more involved in promoting the races.”

Samantha Czwordon-Wright, marketing manager at the Bridges shopping centre, added: “As a sponsor of the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K, the Bridges is delighted to see this important event return to the city centre for the second time.

“It’s also great news to hear that we are attracting runners from further afield and that as well as taking part in the run, they can also hopefully take the time to enjoy everything Sunderland has to offer on race day.”

The Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K are being organised by Events of the North, in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland.

For more information about the 2017 half marathon and 10K and to book a place on one of them go to www.sunderlandcity10k.com.