Event organisers DS Media & Events have announced a major shake-up to the programme for the 2014 Run Sunderland Festival on Sunday 4 May. The Marathon of the North will be suspended for a year due to extensive city centre development works while significant revisions to the half marathon route promise faster times for entrants.
Since the launch of the Sunderland City 10K in 2011, the annual festival of running has become an integral part of Sunderland's events programme, as well as a key event on the region's sporting calendar. Starting and finishing at the Stadium of Light, the 2014 Sunderland City Half Marathon will follow a new route that will be mainly in the city centre and along the coastal road. It will use much of the Sunderland City 10K route, which is very accessible for spectators, designed to encourage even more people to lend their support to the runners.
Following feedback after this year's events, there will also be fewer twists and turns in the half marathon course, providing a good opportunity for distance runners from the North East and further afield to chase quick times.
Event founder Steve Cram said: "We are really excited about the potential for the 2014 Sunderland City Half Marathon and Sunderland City 10K. Since launching the first of these events in 2011, they have grown year on year and it was great to see almost 5,000 people running through the city centre last May. Running participation at most levels in the UK is continuing to increase strongly and we aim to provide another great opportunity for people to test themselves against the classic 10k and half marathon distances, cheered on by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic North East public."
The standard entry cost for the 2014 Sunderland City Half Marathon is £32 and the cost to enter the Sunderland City 10K is £23. Club runners can enter at the reduced prices of £30 and £21 respectively. In addition to the individual races, the Sunderland City Club Challenge will offer an opportunity for running and athletics clubs to win big cash prizes. To qualify, a club must enter a minimum of three competitors in each event and at least one of those three must be female.
During the 2013 marathon and half marathon, the incorrect placement of marshals led to both events being short by 264 metres. Organisers took full responsibility for the error and all runners in both races will be offered a 25% discount from any of the 2014 events.
The event organisers are expecting around 5,000 people to take part in the events on 4 May 2014, with thousands more lining the streets of Sunderland to support the runners. For more information about the 2014 events and to book a place on one of them visit the event website.