MACKEM TV star Katie Bulmer-Cooke is hoping to get Wearside’s couch potatoes off their sofas and get fit ahead of this year’s festival of running in Sunderland.
Ahead of this May’s 10k and half marathon runs in the city, Katie, who made it to week 10 of last year’s Apprentice programme, will be offering a free support programme for novice runners.
Start Me Up for Sunderland, which is set to begin next month, is aimed at anyone who wants to get more active but doesn’t know where to start.
Thousands are expected to line-up on the starting line, but organisers are encouraging more to get involved.
Katie, along with race organiser and former Olympian Steve Cram and qualified coaches will mentor groups of runners, handing on training tips to those looking to build confidence before taking on the run.
“This is a great opportunity for the people of the city to have a go at something different and get moving,” said Katie, who runs fitness classes for hundreds of people each week.
“In terms of health statistics, this area is at the wrong end of the league tables for obesity and inactivity so we’ve got to do something.
“I meet so many people who clearly want to improve their lifestyles, but need a nudge or two in the right direction and something to aim for.
“A 10k run is definitely achievable for loads of people, given the right kind of encouragement and preparation.”
Among those Katie is set to assist on their running journeys is Ruth Nicholson.
The 36-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer a decade ago, but after a lumpectomy, six courses of chemotherapy and 15 doses of radiotherapy, she went into remission and has now been free of the disease for several years.
“I’d have to described myself as “anti-running” in the past,” said Ruth, of Peterlee, who works as a coaching development manager for Tyne and Wear Sport. “But with the right support I think this distance is achievable.
“I’m going to be raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
“The nurses are like angels on earth to me but they need more money so that they can help other people.
“At the minute I’ll just be happy to finish the run, but hopefully I can raise £1,000 as well.”
The Sunderland City 10k and half marathon races take place on Sunday, May 3, starting and ending at the Stadium of Light.
To sign up or for more details about the Start Me Up programme, go to www.sunderlandcity10k.com.
To sponsor Ruth, go to www.justgiving.com/teamkatie1.