Sunderland 10k and half marathon: Runners and organisers celebrate as Sunderland City Runs events return, with hundreds taking part

A festival of running has been celebrated on Wearside as events begin to make a return while the UK continues to fight off the pandemic.

Sunday, 20th June 2021, 4:42 pm

Runners and organisers praised each other for helping this weekend’s races be a success in light of ongoing Covid restrictions.

The Sunderland 5k was joined by Sunderland City Council’s BIG 3k Run they were staged around the Northern Spire Bridge on Saturday night, followed by the Sunderland 10k and Half Marathon on Sunday.

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Runners set off from St Mary's Way at the start of the Sunderland City Runs half marathon.
Runners set off from St Mary's Way at the start of the Sunderland City Runs half marathon.

The starting and finishing lines of the second day of races were set up on St Mary’s Way, chosen to help showcase the city’s developments on the former Vaux site, with microchip starts helping the Events of the North Team and partners space out the runners to keep to social distancing rules.

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32 pictures of the Sunderland 5k and 3k runs on Saturday - spot anyone you know?

Around 3,250 people took part in total, with plans already underway for the return of the runs next year and the new transport corridor to link the Northern Spire Bridge and the city centre to help set up a new route.

Runners head over the Wearmouth Bridge as part of the Sunderland City Runs 10k.

Former Olympic athlete Alison Curbishley is among its organisers and said they were “over the moon” with how well the days had gone, with the weekend a tester for the Durham City Run Festival next month.

She sent her thanks to all those who had made the runs possible and said: “It’s great to be back.

"Obviously we’ve got the new road which is going to make such a difference and we’re thinking about how the event can grow.

Around 3,500 people took part in the running events throughout the weekend.

"We’re focused on just getting athletics events back and in 2022, we’ll be back bigger and better.

"I think next year we’re looking forward to being back to full power and we’ll have a new hotel here and to have the Vaux site coming along and it was always going to be a showcase for what’s going on in this area.”#

Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson was among those to take part in the Sunderland City Runs 10k.

He said: “We started running during lockdown to get fit and out of the house.

"It’s good to challenge yourself and we’re raising money.”

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Carl Donkin, Lawson Rutherford, Bradley Mitchell and Steven Baker took part in the half marathon to raise funds for Wearside charity 4Louis.
Runners enjoyed the carnival atmosphere as the event made a return following the cancellation of last year's festival due to the pandemic.
Runners cross the Northern Spire Bridge as they take part in Sunderland City Runs 5k event.