Hundreds of runners line up for new 5k race on Sunderland's Northern Spire Bridge

Hundreds of runners were hot off the mark to take part in a new 5k run on Sunderland's Northern Spire Bridge.

By Mark Payne
Saturday, 11 May, 2019, 19:35

The event on Saturday evening was introduced for the first time as part of the Sunderland City Runs Weekend and saw around 600 runners sign up.

Many ran to raise money for the events' official charity partner St Benedict's Hospice.

Organisers hailed the race on the Northern Spire Bridge a great success.

Organisers hailed it a big success. Race director Steve Cram said: "The council and ourselves were very keen to do something on the bridge as part of the weekend.

"It is a great start and a lovely addition. We want to show Sunderland off in a good light and this is such a nice location."

Sunderland Mayor Councillor Lynda Scanlon started the race by sounding the horn. On the starting line was city professional athlete Aly Dixon who was the fastest female finisher.

It was the first ever race for Michael Junia, 48, a nurse at Sunderland Royal Hospital, who ran for the hospice.

Around 600 people signed up for the new 5k race.

He said: "I nurse a lot of patients that go to St Benedict's and I just feel for them."

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Sarah Carling-Still, 59, from Manfield, North Yorkshire, said it was a great event.

She said: "It seemed exciting and my first 10k was in Sunderland so it means a lot. I think it's fabulous and it was the perfect evening for running."

Brothers Brennan and James Yuill, aged 22 and 17 also competed. James said: "This is my first competitive race. I enjoy running and think this is a good event."

Thunderbirds are go for these runners

Catrina Flynn, head fundraiser at St Benedict's Hospice said the weekend, which also includes a 10k and half marathon on Sunday, are helping to raise the profile of the hospice and vital funds.

First over the line was Joshua Dack, 26, from Billingham who lives in Scotland. He said: "I'm pleased to have won as I wasn't really sure what to expect.

"It is a really good course and was a really impressive field."

The Northern Spire Bridge was a great setting for the run on Saturday evening.