Wednesday (20 July) heralded the welcome addition of a new race to the north east with the first staging of the Prince Bishops Durham City Run. Over 2,000 people entered either the 5k or 10k race, which, with its 7pm start time, offered competitors the opportunity to see the city in its evening summertime splendour.
Both races started simultaneously in the ancient Market Square and moved through the narrow cobbled streets, along the beautiful River Wear with the imposing 900-year old cathedral always beckoning. After following an undulating course that took in many of Durham’s iconic landmarks on a warm and humid evening, runners crossed the finishing line on Palace Green in front of Durham Cathedral and on a World Heritage Site.
The 10k saw some of the top runners in the region battle it out in a tight contest: Morpeth Harriers’ Nick Swinburn secured top billing in 32:56, with Tadele Geremew Mulugeta second (32:59) and Daniel Jenkin third (33:38). Rosie Smith of Durham City Harriers & AC won the ladies’ race in 37:08, with Tracy Millmore of Birtley AC in second (38:11) and Alice Smith of Sunderland Harriers third (40:56).
Gateshead Harriers’ Chris Parr finished first in the 5k in 15:37, with Robert Eaton (16:43) and Mark Hood (17:14) following. In a remarkable showing in the women’s competition, 12-year-old Emily Chong of Chester le Street and District took first in 20:15, with Michelle Thompson of North Shields Poly in second (21:03) and Shona Haston of Teesdale AC third (21:18).
Race director Steve Cram was thrilled with the response: “We were absolutely delighted with the level of interest in the inaugural Prince Bishops Durham City Run. A field of 2,000 runners exceeded our expectations for the first year and it was brilliant to see so many people lined up around the course cheering them on.
“The finish on Palace Green was really special and I have every confidence that this event can quickly become a firm and popular fixture on the North East running calendar. Thanks to Durham County Council for having the vision to host the races, to everyone who has sponsored, supported or run in the first event, and to the many volunteers who have made all of this possible.”