Organisers of the Durham City Run Festival have confirmed the event’s official charity partner for 2023. The festival will work with Red Sky Foundation, which installs life-saving defibrillators in accessible locations around the North East. The news comes as the foundation has started a project with Durham Police to place devices in 16 stations around the county, and visit schools to help educate young people about heart health.

Organised by Events of the North, in partnership with Durham County Council and Durham University, the 2023 Durham City Run Festival will be held from 13-15 July, with the popular Durham City 5k and 10k races finishing at the World Heritage Site on Palace Green. The festival will help Red Sky to promote its key messages and the benefits of active lifestyles, and will also include a series of free events, designed to encourage more people to try out running. One of these will be a ‘buggy run’ hosted by Durham Mums on the Run, a local group that enables parents to start or return to running along with their young children.

Red Sky Foundation was started by Sergio and Emma Petrucci following the life-saving treatment that their daughter Luna received after she was born with a serious heart problem. The partnership between the festival and the foundation was launched on Palace Green by Sergio, along with event founder Steve Cram, Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economy and partnerships, Dave Coldwell, deputy head of sport and physical activity at Durham University, and members of Durham Mums on the Run.

Durham City Run Festival founder Steve Cram comments: “Red Sky Foundation is a brilliant organisation that’s doing some excellent work to make defibrillators easy to access in public places. Crucially, the foundation is also rolling out a great education programme about heart health. The Durham City Run Festival will contribute in different ways. Runners in our events will be encouraged to raise money for the charity, we can share important foundation messages, and by including some really accessible free running sessions in our programme, we’re helping people to lead active, healthier lives.”

Sergio Petrucci adds: “I’m really excited for Red Sky Foundation to play our part in the famous Durham City Run Festival and I can’t wait to see so many people getting involved. We have quite a large following across County Durham so we’ll be encouraging our supporters to pull on a Team Red Sky top and help fly our flag during the event. We’ve been working hard to make the region much safer by installing our defibrillators all over and our latest partnership with Durham Police is going to see more communities become safer places, as we’ll be working with the force to install devices at 16 different stations in the county.”

Luna Petrucci comments: “I think it’s really cool to have so many people running for Red Sky and keeping fit to help other boys and girls whose hearts need fixing.”

Quentin Sloper, director of student enrichment at Durham University, comments: “We are delighted to support the Durham City Run Festival and Red Sky Foundation to make a life-changing difference to thousands of local children and families. We know that the charity’s work across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham matters so much to so many.”