Almost 4,000 competitors made their way to Keel Square on Sunday (7 May) for what was the highest ever turnout at the Run Sunderland Festival. The seventh staging of the event unfolded in fine spring (albeit windy) weather, with marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and local Team GB marathon star Alyson Dixon providing a thrilling finale to the half marathon.
Organised by Events of the North in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland, the event has become firmly established in the North East calendar since its first staging in 2011. Both races started and finished in Keel Square, a symbol of the city’s regeneration, where a large crowd of spectators were entertained by live music.
The day’s festivities kicked off with a strong performance by Morpeth Harrier Jonny Taylor in the 10k. Taylor managed to successfully defend his title with a winning time of 31:02, Shettleston Harrier Wayney Ghebresilasie took second (31:26) and Wondiye Indelbu third (31:28). Tyne Bridge Harrier Alison Dargie claimed first in the women’s field in 38:25, far ahead of her closest competitors Jacqueline Etherington (40:37) and Wendy Chapman (40:46).
In the half, Saltwell Harrier Abraham Tewelde followed up his victory at last month’s Keswick Half Marathon with another impressive performance. Tewelde took first in 1:10:07, with Tristan Learoyd of New Marske Harriers (1:13:03) in second and Stephen Jackson (1:15:03) third. In a batting (yet friendly) showdown, Aly Dixon (1:23:01) just edged out Paula Radcliffe (1:23:02) to claim top spot in the women’s competition, with Jenny Watt third (1:25:27).
With the number of entries received across the two events, the festival attracted its biggest turnout to date, with participants from athletics clubs throughout the North East, along hundreds of fun runners, many of whom were raising money for official charity partner St. Benedict’s Hospice and other good causes.
Event founder and race director Steve Cram commented: “The Run Sunderland Festival goes from strength to strength. Once again, both the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K events attracted record fields of runners, and it was great to see so many people from the city come out onto the streets to cheer them on.”
“The windy conditions provided a good test for participants, but there were still some excellent performances and it was brilliant to watch Paula Radcliffe and local star Aly Dixon running together around the streets of Sunderland.”
Full results are available on our race listings page.