OLYMPIAN Steve Cram fired the starting pistol for the new Sunderland 10K – and called on as many Wearsiders as possible to get involved.
The race will take place on Sunday, June 26 and is expected to see thousands of elite and fun runners pound the pavements of the city.
Steve, who officially launched the race alongside Sunderland Council leader Paul Watson and Andrea Morgan of race sponsor Red Spotted Hanky, also said that a marathon is set to be included at next year’s event.
There were fears the city would go without a race after the Great North 10K, which has taken place for the last couple of years in Sunderland, was moved to Gateshead.
“It’s a great opportunity for the city,” said the former world champion middle-distance runner.
“We all know one of the strong points is its community spirit and I think that has always been evident.
“We are going to add a marathon in next year too, really to try to make it a real festival weekend.
“Hopefully we will see the start of something very exciting.”
It is hoped that thousands of pounds will be raised for charities in the area through participation.
The route starts at the Stadium of Light and goes south over the Wearmouth Bridge, before taking in Sunniside and Fawcett Street.
Having looped the city centre it re-crosses the River Wear before passing the National Glass Centre and Sunderland Marina.
The final stage is St Peter’s Church, before returning to the home of the Black Cats.
Steve encouraged people of all ages and abilities to sign up.
“10K is a lovely challenge in my opinion,” he said.
“If you start doing a couple of hours training a week you can progress enough in time.
“Even if people want to walk the route we are happy for them to come and do that.”
Youngsters can also take part, as a number of one kilometre events will also be happening on the day.
SAFC Foundation and gentoo are also supporting the event, with applications to run in the race being taken through the housing provider’s contact centre.
For more information and to register for the race, or get involved as a volunteer, call 525 5747 or visit www.sunderlandcity10k.com