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Double Olympic champion helps beginners prepare for new city run

The Start Me Up For Durham runners at Prince BishopsOne of the world’s greatest ever athletes has offered his advice and encouragement to novice runners at a free event in Durham. Two time Olympic decathlon champion Daley Thompson visited the city to meet 50 of the thousands of people who will take part in the inaugural Prince Bishops Durham City Run next month. Thompson was on hand for the first ‘Start Me Up For Durham’ training session, designed to help less experienced runners prepare for the 5K or 10K races, which will be held on the evening of Wednesday 20 July.
The Prince Bishops Durham City Run is a partnership between Durham County Council and Events of the North. Participants can choose to enter a one lap 5K or two lap 10K event and runners will follow an undulating route that takes them past many of the iconic landmarks in the ancient city. Both races will finish on Palace Green, with the backdrop of Durham Cathedral and Castle. The first Start Me Up For Durham (SMUFD) session was held at headline sponsor Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, which will also feature in the route on 20 July. Alongside Daley Thompson, fellow athletics legend Steve Cram also offered tips to the runners during the session. Thompson, who is in the region this week to support Cram’s children’s charity COCO (Comrades of Children Overseas), led the 50 SMUFD runners in a warm up ahead of their first group training run around the city centre.

Daley Thompson comments: “I really enjoyed meeting so many enthusiastic runners in Durham and I hope that I was able to help them in their preparations. Longer distances were never really my thing, but I know that 5K or 10K are definitely achievable aims for even the least experienced and they’ll have a beautiful city to run around in July. Good luck to everyone who’s signed up for the Prince Bishops Durham City Run.”

Richard Toynbee of Prince Bishops Shopping Centre adds: “Normally, visitors spend a bit more time strolling around Prince Bishops, but on this occasion they can be forgiven for focusing on something other than the shops! It was brilliant to welcome an Olympic legend and Daley was a very popular warm up act ahead of the main event on 20 July.”

Cllr Maria Plews, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for leisure, libraries and lifelong learning, adds: “Whether you’re an Olympic star or new to exercise the Durham City Run is a great opportunity to start or stay active. Jogging and running are two of the most effective exercises you can do, and through our Start Me Up sessions we’re providing an important stepping stone for beginners in particular to achieve their aim of a happier and healthier lifestyle.”

Daley Thompson and Steve Cram with Start Me Up For Durham runners

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