Seeing people challenge themselves is inspiring – Katie Bulmer-Cooke

Runners taking part in last year's event. Picture by Frank Reid
Runners taking part in last year's event. Picture by Frank Reid
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The city was buzzing at the weekend, as thousands of runners descended on Sunderland to take part in the Sunderland 10k and Half Marathon.

Always a popular day with both participants and supporters alike, it’s great to have this event taking place in the city again, and to see it’s popularity and prominence grow year after year.

The event draws in elite runners from across the country and even over seas, which certainly puts Sunderland on the map and gives those who’ve never had the pleasure of visiting our wonderful city a glimpse of what we have to offer.

I didn’t take part this year as I’m still building up my fitness level (and my pelvic floor!) after having my little boy four months ago, but I did spectate and cheer on as many runners as I could.

Completing the course is a big achievement, whether you take part in the 10k or the half marathon option, and whether you cross the line first or last.

Seeing people challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zone is always something I find very inspiring, and I’m sure that many people who turned out to support the runners will have been inspired to register to take part next year... I know I will be!

While I’m always so impressed at the speed the elite and club runners can run at, those that I admire most are the people who’ve never done anything like this before and throw themselves into the challenge with everything they have, especially in a bid to raise money for charity.

While taking up running is very accessible (it’s free and you just need a decent pair of trainers) it is physically demanding, especially if you’re going from living a sedentary lifestyle to pounding the pavement.

It can take time to feel like you’re getting any better at it in the early days, as you challenge both your cardiovascular system and your legs in a big way.

So with that in mind I give an extra high five to those people who made the big decision to sign up to something they’ve never done before, start training, stay committed and complete the course.

Also an extra shout out to those people who took the time to ask friends, family, colleagues and no doubt Facebook acquaintances to sponsor them and help out local and national charities alike.

If you’re feeling inspired by the event, then don’t let that enthusiasm go to waste. Sign up for next year, start training, help out a local charity and improve your health and fitness stats in the process ... you’ll be so pleased you did.

Look forward to seeing you on the start line next year!