With the city preparing to host the Tall Ships Races in July, Sunday’s (13 May) Run Sunderland Festival's adoption of the theme of #runwiththetide seemed to be an apt one with the event enjoying its biggest staging to date. Favourable weather conditions throughout the day ensured that the crowds swelled around the city centre to support the 4,000 plus runners who were competing across the half marathon, 10k and 3k races.
There was a record field of over 2,5000 for the Siglion Sunderland City 10K won by Andy Powell of Sunderland Harriers in 33:03, with Liam Taylor second (33:28) and John Clifford of Evenwood Road Runners third in 33:31. The ladies’ race was won by Alex Sneddon of Jarrow & Hebburn in 36:54, with Heaton Harriers’ Danielle Smythe in second (37:57) and Stephanie Maclean Dann third in 39:29.
The weather clearly played a part as those in the half were also able to post some seriously quick times. Saltwell Harriers’ Abraham Tewelde retained his title in the 13.1 mile race in 1:10:13, with Conrad Franks of Gateshead Harriers second in 1:11:34 and Darren Purvis of Birtley AC third in 1:13:42. Eleanor Hunt won the ladies’ race in 1:23:28, with Isabel Steele second (1:23:49) and Alice Smith of Sunderland Harriers third (1:25:52).
With the city building up to host the Tall Ships Races in July, the theme remained a strong current throughout the day. Among the runners was a group of sail trainees who are preparing to join a crew on a tall ship and tackled the 10K as part of their training.
Eskild Landgrebe was also on the 10K starting line. Landgrebe, from Esbjerg in Denmark, another Tall Ships Races 2018 destination, was offered a place by race organisers as part of ongoing exchange activities between Tall Ships Races ports. Landgrebe enjoyed a strong run, finishing ninth overall in an impressive time of 35:54.
Race director Steve Cram commented: “It’s been a fantastic day for Sunderland – we’ve had a record number of participants who joined us to run with the tide. There were some great performances at the front of the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K, and we also had loads of runners who pounded the streets to raise money for good causes.
“The weather behaved this year and brought out big crowds to cheer people on, creating a great atmosphere. Well done to everyone who took part and as ever, huge thanks to Siglion, Sunderland City Council and our other sponsors, and to all of the wonderful volunteers who help make events like this possible.”