HUNDREDS of athletes gave a Forces charity a huge boost as they hit the pavement for a new fun run.
The inaugural 5k Sunderland Poppy Run was held at Silksworth Sports Complex, with almost 300 taking part in the event in aid of the Royal British Legion.
Runners set off from next to the ski lodge in the area before twice lapping Silksworth Lake and returning to finish.
The idea of Silksworth woman Claire Douglas, 40, whose niece Jade Outhwaite is serving in the Army, it’s hoped that the run will now become an annual event in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday commemorations.
Speaking to the Echo, Claire, who set up her own running club, Silky Sole Sisters, a couple of years ago, said: “It’s absolutely unbelievable how many people we’ve got here.
“We had to stop at 300 entrants because of health and safety rules, but I’m buzzing with how things have turned out.
“My niece Jade was the inspiration for everything and now we just hope we can grow it for next year.”
Silksworth ward councillor Phil Tye said: “Today is absolutely amazing and it’s great to see so many people out taking part and watching.
“We managed to get funding from Community First from the Youth Almighty Group and thanks to Claire’s determination it’s come off.
“It’s not been an easy thing to organise and she’s done brilliantly.
“I’m sure the Royal British Legion will be getting plenty of money in sponsorship.”
As well as the run, raffles and a bouncy castle were available to children while Disney character Mickey Mouse also made an appearance.
Runners and walkers were given a medal and T-shirt for their efforts.
Among those taking part was Sunderland-born Horrible Histories writer Terry Deary.
“When I saw this race was on this weekend I decided I had to come down,” said Terry. “I’ve run around the route before, so I’m used to it, and it’s for a great cause too.”
Best pals Ross Elliott and Stuart Ferguson, both 27, managed to cross the line within the top 10 finishers.
“I’ve ran here before but it was tougher towards the end when I got to the bottom of the bank,” said Ross, of Hall Farm, who finished in under 22 minutes.
Stuart, of Nookside, said: “I enjoyed it and I’ll try to do it again if it’s on next year. “It’s for a great charity too.”