A Durham man who started running to help maintain a healthy mind and body during lockdown is getting set to compete in his first competitive run next month with the Prince Bishops Durham City 10K.

Forty-four-year-old Kevin Lewis-Brannigan from Pelton Fell is gearing up for the 10K race, which is set to take place at the Durham City Run Festival on the evening of Thursday 15 July. Kevin will tackle the run after completing the couch to 5K challenge alongside his wife Mary at the start of lockdown and developing a love of running.

Having struggled with drugs and alcohol abuse in the past, Kevin took up running as a way to stay healthy and maintain his sobriety during the challenges of the pandemic. A taxi driver by trade, in his spare time Kevin offers supports to addicts through the 12-Step Addiction Programme, helping others though his own experiences of addiction and recovery.

Kevin says: “I’m in recovery after 17 years of drug and alcohol abuse and I’m now eight years clean and sober. A big part of my life now is to help other addicts to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body, so I also need to keep fit both mentally and physically to maintain my sobriety and to continue to help fellow suffering alcoholics and addicts. Taking up running during lockdown really helped with this and to adjust from working long hours to isolation.

“My wife Mary and I were struggling to do the 60 second jog at first, but we kept at it every other day as the weather was nice and we felt the instant benefit of fresh air. Much to our amazement, we soon reached the 5K milestone and have kept going to the point we now complete a half-marathon together once a month.”

After a year of running within the household bubble, Kevin decided he wanted to take on the challenge of competing in an organised race alongside other participants, so he signed up to the Prince Bishops Durham City 10K after a friend recommended it.

Kevin says: “I love a challenge and I get good energy from others that are doing something they love, so I’m really looking forward to taking part in my first organised race with the Durham City 10K. I have a couple of friends participating as well, so we will be able to keep pushing and supporting each other all the way to the finish.”

Organised by Events of the North, in partnership with Durham County Council and Durham University, the Durham City Run Festival will be held from 15-17 July. Over three days, the festival will bring running events to the heart of the city, including the Prince Bishops Durham City 5K and 10K, Run Like a Legend Mile, and Paula Radcliffe’s Families on Track.

Events of the North has worked closely with Durham County Council’s Safety Advisory Group in recent months to ensure that an event-specific safety plan is fully in place to allow the festival to go ahead. To secure an entry at the Durham City Run Festival, visit www.durhamcityrunfestival.com, and for the latest festival news, follow @durhamcityrun on Twitter and Instagram, and find the event on Facebook.