A record field of close to 2700 competitors took part in what is fast becoming one of the north of England's most popular evening events, the Prince Bishops Durham City Run. Wednesday’s (18 July) event comprised 5k and 10k races, both of which had different start locations and times, with runners in the longer run setting off from Millennium Square.
After last year’s 10K and 5K races both sold out, organisers Events of the North, supported by Durham County Council, made the decision to explore ways in which the run could be expanded. The new arrangements reduced congestion for runners and limited road closures in the city, and allowed organisers to increase the size of the fields in both races.
The Prince Bishops Durham City 5K and 10K races were started by 11-year-old Lewis Littlewood, who won a competition organised by Prince Bishops Shopping Centre. Lewis, from a family of very keen runners, is too young to enter either of the races, however mum Wendy and dad Michael both ran the 10K.
Some of the country’s top performers with out in force across both races, with Cheltenham and County Harriers’ Graham Rush claiming the 5k title in 15:27. Tyne Bridge Harriers’ Carl Smith took second in 15:59 and Liam Taylor third (16:19). Chester-Le-Street & District AC’s Emily Chong secured what was her second victory in three years, crossing the line in 19:45, with Katie Francis second in 20:06.
Elvet Striders’ Stephen Jackson retained his 201710K title with a convincing victory in 33:36, Joe Johnston of Rossendale Harriers was second (34:42) and Will Hogg was third (35:52). Also retaining her title was Tracy Millmore of Birtley AC who won the ladies’ race in 38:33, with Lyndsey Fraser of Edinburgh AC in second (41:20) and Alice Smith of Sunderland Harriers third (41:30).
North East athletics legend and race director Steve Cram said: “The weather was great, the atmosphere fantastic, and there were some excellent performances on a challenging course. All in all, it was a brilliant evening in a stunning location. We’re grateful to all of our sponsors and volunteers who have offered such strong support.
“This year’s event was the best yet and the vision and commitment of Durham County Council helped us to make the changes that allowed both races to grow. That has worked really well and I think that the Prince Bishops Durham City Run has an exciting future.”