THE Run Northumberland series is returning for a second outing next year and competitors have been issued an Olympic-sized challenge.
The races, which are held against the backdrop of some of the county’s most iconic landmarks, attracted more than 1,000 club and recreational participants in 2011.
But with the London Olympics just over seven months away, the race is on to double the number of runners with organisers Team Decathlon hoping to strike gold with a target of 2012 for 2012.
With an extra fixture added to the half-marathon and 10k programme, series director Richard Hunter, a former England and GB athlete, hopes runners of all ages and abilities can be encouraged to pull on their training shoes and step-out in support of one of the North East’s newest sporting contests.
“This year we had just over 1,000 entrants over four races, which was fantastic for an inaugural event like this,” he said. “We are now hoping as ‘games fever’ begins to build that even more people will be inspired to take part in what must be one of the country’s most scenic series of runs.
“We are committed to making Run Northumberland an event we can all be proud of. This year’s four races attracted club and recreational runners from across the North East and with the extra date added we are confident we can achieve our goal of attracting 2012 runners for 2012.”
Next year’s itinerary will get off to a racing start on March 25 with the Wallington half-marathon – which will take competitors along the banks of the River Wansbeck and on the roads around Scots Gap and Cambo before finishing under the property’s iconic Clock Tower.
This will be followed by four 10k races at the following venues: Cragside on April 14, Bamburgh on June 17, a return to Wallington on September 9 and newcomer Matfen on October 14.
Organisers hope that those who thought their running days were behind them can be encouraged to lace up their trainers again and put their best foot forward not just for the joy of getting fit but also in aid of the North East Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), Run Northumberland’s adopted charity for 2012.
A number of new activities have been added to the itinerary at each venue, including children’s and family races.
Richard said: “Runners, joggers and walkers of all abilities are all welcome to join in and enjoy the courses, races and atmosphere all the events are sure to serve up.
“Our events are fun, friendly and all-inclusive. We cater for everyone and the 10k races especially are ideal for club runners as well as novices and younger runners.”
For more information about the Run Northumberland series and the North East CHUF, visit www.runnorthumberland.org
The half-marathon costs £25 to enter for non-club runners and £23 for UKA club members. The 10k races cost £13 and £11 respectively.