Runners challenged to take on the Durham Coast Half Marathon
Conservation chiefs have thrown down the gauntlet to the region's runners.
Entries are now open to the Durham Coast Half Marathon, one of the North East's most beautiful - and most challenging - routes.
The annual 13.1-mile race along the Durham Heritage Coast from Seaham to Crimdon Dene takes in clifftop paths, steep climbs and descents, and a total of 320 steps
But while its a tough test even for seasoned runners, entries are open to all and anyone can have a go at their own pace. It's also a chance for anyone who missed out on a Great North Run place but still wants to take on a half marathon this year.
The event is organised by the National Trust, and helps raise funds to care for the area's coast and countryside as well as highlighting special places where people can visit.
Wayne Appleton, the National Trust ranger who organises the event, said: "‘This is the race’s sixth year. It’s been fantastic to see it growing into an event so many runners look forward to, wanting to beat their performance each year, especially on those killer steps.
"It’s become something the local community can really get behind. Any profit we make goes straight back into looking after the land, including wildlife conservation projects and keeping footpaths in good condition.
"Plus the race brings new visitors to the area, showcasing our amazing coastline to people who might not have got around to visiting otherwise."
The run, which is entirely off-road, takes place on Sunday June 10 this year.
The route will be clearly marked, with regular water stations to keep runners hydrated. Volunteer marshals are key to ensuring the event runs smoothly.
All runners will receive a t-shirt and medal as well as free refreshments at the finish line. Prizes will be awarded to the first three men and women, as well as winners in each age category.
Wayne said runners in 2017 had praised the event for its beautiful route, friendly volunteers, and post-run cake.
He added: "It takes a large team working together to make this event happen. Anyone who would like to get involved can sign up as a volunteer marshal.
"It’s fun, a good way to meet new people and you don’t need any experience."
Entry is Â£28 per person and includes minibus transfer from the finish back to Nose’s Point. For further details and to book a place, visit www.sientries.co.uk
To find out more about volunteering, email Wayne at [email protected]