The 2016 Run Sunderland Festival will take a wholly different look with both the half marathon and 10k moving its base from the Stadium of Light to Keel Square. Scheduled for 1 May, the news comes after confirmation of a partnership between organiser Events of the North, Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland.
Since the first festival in 2011, the Sunderland City 10K and, later, the half marathon have become firmly established on the north east calendar, with thousands of runners taking part each year. Both events will be sponsored by Siglion, which is carrying out major regeneration projects at five locations in the city.
After five years based at the Stadium of Light, the Siglion Sunderland City 10K and Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon will move closer to the city centre, but will retain most of the races’ popular routes, taking in many of Sunderland’s most iconic landmarks. The move to Keel Square is seen as representative of the city’s renewal and regeneration.
Sunderland Stroller Aly Dixon, who has won both the Sunderland City 10K (twice) and Sunderland City Half Marathon, comments: "It’s great that the Run Sunderland events have grown over the years and continue to improve and I'm very proud to have been involved in them.”
“We have a great history of running here in Sunderland and having races like these bang in the centre of the city is a fantastic way of showcasing not only the top guys at the front, but also the huge running community right throughout the field. Next year is an Olympic year and I’m sure that will inspire all to make these races to be the biggest and best yet."
Steve Cram, whose company Events of the North, is organising the half marathon and 10k, comments: “We’ve enjoyed five fantastic years based at the stadium, but have always been keen to bring the Run Sunderland Festival closer to the city centre. Keel Square symbolises that renewal in its own right, but it is also next to the former Vaux site, where very exciting plans are in the pipeline. “
Events of the North is offering early bird entry fees for both the half marathon and the 10k, until midnight on Monday 30 November. Runners affiliated to a club can enter the half marathon for £29, while the price for unaffiliated runners is £31. The early bird prices for the 10K are £20 and £22 respectively.