Sunderland 5k, 3k, 10k, and half marathon events see runners raise thousands of pounds for charities - some in memory of lost loved ones

Thousands of pounds have been raised for local and national charities as the first restriction free Sunderland City Runs event returned since the onset of the Covid pandemic.

By Neil Fatkin
Sunday, 8th May 2022, 5:44 pm

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Over three thousand people took part in four running events. Today (Sunday May 8) saw races kick-off with the 3km Active Sunderland Run – aimed at children and families - which was followed by the 10km race and finally the half-marathon.

Saturday (May 7) saw athletes and fun-runners take part in the Sunderland City 5Km run.

‘It makes you realise how important it is’

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More than 50 runners taking part were raising money for the event’s official charity, the Red Sky Foundation, which provides defibrillators across Sunderland and the North East as well as providing CPR training.

The cause was a real personal affair for Nadine Hudspeth, Sally Hall, and Emma Dippper, runners from the Tempest Fit Team from Seaham.

Nadine, 49, said: “We were running in memory of Beverley Lawton, one of our running team who sadly died last year of a heart attack when we were out running together. It makes you realise how important it is to have access to defibrillators in public areas.”

Emma, 36, added: “It’s a really emotional occasion and we will all be thinking of Beverley.”

Emma Dipper, Sally Hall and Nadine Hudspeth were running in memory of friend and fellow runner Beverley Lawton who sadly died last year after a heart attack.

As well as running in Beverley’s memory, the team also hope to raise “thousands of pounds for the charity”.

Sally, 39, said: “Some people were running the 10k and some the half-marathon. This is one of a number of events we’ve taken part in and since last year we’ve raised around £23,000 in total. After what happened to Beverley, as well as fundraising, the running club has been taking part in first-aid training to know what to do in an emergency situation.

"It makes you realise how easily something like this can happen.”

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Videos show runners surging over the start line in the Sunderland 10k and half m...
Leona Ashcroft was running for Diabetes UK after being diagnosed with the condition in 2018.

The Red Sky Foundation was one of tens of charities being represented by runners, many of whom had their own personal story.

Carl Lynn, 39, who was running the half-marathon for Breast Cancer Now and Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “I was running for my sister who passed away three years ago. She had breast cancer and was cared for by the Macmillan nurses during the last six months of her life, although it was damage to her liver from the chemotherapy which killed her in the end.

"I run this and other races in her memory every year and I always think of her when I set off. I’m hoping to raise around £400.”

Peter Moralee, 45, had travelled from Eaglescliffe on Teesside to run the 10km race to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Carl Lynn, 39, was running in memory of his sister who passed away three years ago.

Dressed in a bright orange inflatable morph suit, he said: “I’m running as my mother-in-law was diagnosed with the condition two years ago. Orange is the colour of the charity.

"This is part of a number of events I’m doing before I take part in the London Marathon. I enjoyed it, and so far I’ve raised around £12,000.”

Leona Ashcroft, 30, from Chester-le-Street, was running the 10Km race for Diabetes UK after being diagnosed with the condition.

She said: “I was told in 2018 that I had type 2 diabetes and so this is a very personal cause for me. A lot of people think it manly affects older people but I was only 27 when I was diagnosed. So far, I have raised around £800.”

‘Every time I run I think of her’

All three Sunday races saw an extravagant display of costumes, but perhaps the most eye-catching of all was worn by Coiln Burgin-Plews who was running as a giant sunflower.

Refuse collector Deano Franciosy ran the 5km and 10km races with a bin strapped to his back.

Colin, 53, said: “I was running for St Benedict’s Hospice and the sunflower is their symbol. I lost my mam last year and they provided fantastic care.”

Also catching the eye was refuse collector Deano Franciosy, who was ran both the 5km and 10km races with a full size wheelie bin attached to his back.

Deano, 53, said: “Every year I run for the critical care unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital which is where my mother, Edna Garner, passed away. I always run with a bin on my back and I’ve raised thousands of pounds since she passed away.

"Every time I run I always think of her.”

Armed Forces charities were also well represented by runners, including the mental health support charity East Durham Veterans, which was founded by former Royal Signals soldier, Andrew Cammis.

James Green, 45, ran the half-marathon to raise £150 for the cause.

He said: “It’s such an important cause and it’s only after speaking with Andrew that I realised how many former service personnel have been effected.”

Olympians thrilled to see events return

The race event was organised by former 1,500 metre world record holder, Steve Cram.

Steve said: “We’ve had a really great weekend of races in Sunderland. The weather behaved on both days and running conditions were very good, leading to some excellent times at the front of each field.

"It was fantastic to see so many smiling faces among our runners and some really enthusiastic support out around the course from the people of Sunderland. Working closely with the team at Sunderland City Council, I certainly believe that we’ve delivered a great start to a summer of sports events here in the city.”

Winning the 10km female race was Olympian Ali Dixon, who hails from Sunderland and ran the marathon in the 2016 Olympics.

Ali was delighted to see the event return restriction free after the impact of the pandemic.

She said: “The crowd support out on the course was great and it’s just fantastic to have a buzz around the city again. There was a gap due to Covid and last year was socially distanced, so not quite the same.

"Just to be back to some kind of normality, seeing everybody smiling and having fun is great.

"It’s also fantastic for the local economy.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the mayor, Harry Truman who said: “It was great to start the race and see people out in such numbers again.”

Peter Moralee, 45, was running for Alzheimer Research UK.