Thousands of runners take on city's 10K and half marathon as part of Run Sunderland Festival

Crowds turned out in force to support a record breaking number of runners at this year's Run Sunderland Festival.

Sunday, 12th May 2019, 12:14 pm
Runners at the start of the 10K

The sun shone down on the thousands of runners taking part in the Siglion Sunderland City 10K and half marathon this morning.

Spectators, joined by Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Lynda Scanlan, lined the streets at Keel Square to cheer them on.

Taking a selfie ahead of the race

This year's 10K winner was Oliver James with an impressive time of 31 minutes and 32 seconds.

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The first woman to cross the finish line was Wendy Chapman with a time of 39 minutes and 24 seconds.

Organiser Chris Lines said: "We've had a record number of around 4,500 people enter across all three events which is fantastic.

"Keel Square is brilliant, it's a great place to build a crowd and cheer on all the runners.

Sunderland AFC's Charlie Methven.

"This is our ninth year and it just keeps growing bigger and better. Over the years we've had fantastic support from Sunderland City Council and our sponsor Siglion.

"We can showcase Sunderland's landmarks and really promote the city and show that Sunderland is a great place for businesses and visitors.

"This event is the biggest yet and with the new 5K event too there really is something for everyone."

Official charity partner St. Benedict’s Hospice had more than 100 fundraising runners taking part, including Big Pink Dress Colin Burgin-Plews.

Olympian Aly Dixon finishes second in the Sunderland City Runs half marathon.

Sunderland AFC's executive director Charlie Methven joined runners in the 10K to raise funds for the Foundation of Light.

Chris Sleeman, 30, took on the 10K this morning with wife Joanne. He said: "I'm born and bred in Sunderland so it feels good to run in my home town in such a big event.

"I'm in a running group, the Silky Striders, and I have been for about two years so I've put the work in leading up to today.

"We're hoping to finish in around one hour and 14 minutes."

Big smiles as the runners start the race

While Bill Wright, 71, also of Sunderland said: "It's a really good day. I did the 5K yesterday so I'm looking forward to doing the 10K this morning.

"I do a lot of running and it's a really enjoyable event."

The half marathon, which set off 25 minutes after the 10K, saw Stephen Jackson take first place with a time of one hour, 10 minutes and 31 seconds.

The first woman to cross the finish line was Phillipa Williams with a time of one hour, 16 minutes and 41 seconds.

Olympian Aly Dixon finished second in the half marathon with a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 32 seconds.

Also taking on the challenge was Louise Chisholm, 33, who took part in her first half marathon at the Sunderland event.

Runners of the Sunderland 10K set off. Picture by John Alderson

Supported by her husband Dave and daughter seven-year-old Katie, Louise said: "I'm hoping to do it in under three hours. I did the 10K last year and the people of Sunderland really get behind you and cheer you on.

"There's such a great atmosphere in the air. We've got some great weather for it too."

Children and families also took part in the Active Sunderland Big 3K event which set off earlier in the morning.

We'd love to see your pictures from the event. Send them to echo.news@northeast-press.co.uk or message us on Facebook and Twitter.

Runners at the starting line. Picture by John Alderson
Sunderland half marathon runners. Picture by John Alderson
Crossing the Wearmouth Bridge