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New events and SPECIAL GUESTS confirmed!

  • Paula Radcliffe to run Durham City 5k with daughter Isla
  • Gala Theatre will host celebration of the life of Sir Roger Bannister
  • ‘Run Like a Legend Mile’ offers runners the chance to tackle classic distance
  • Horrible Histories author Terry Deary to lead free running events in the city centre
  • Paula Radcliffe and Ben Smith will present a marathon masterclass to close festival

Final details have been unveiled of the programme for next month’s Durham City Run Festival.  The three-day event will combine 10k and 5k races with films, talks, book signings, celebrity appearances, the global debut of Paula’s Families on Track, the Run Like a Legend Mile challenge and a schedule of free running events. Organised by Events of the North in partnership with Durham County Council, the Durham City Run Festival will take over the centre of Durham and the Gala Theatre from 25-27 July.

The full line-up for the first Durham City Run Festival promises something for everyone who has an interest in running.  The popular Prince Bishops Durham City 10k and 5k races on Thursday 25 July are filling up fast and it has now been confirmed that athletics legend Paula Radcliffe will take part in the 5k with her daughter Isla, offering an opportunity for local runners to race alongside a global superstar.

The following day will see the all new Run Like a Legend Mile challenge, from 10:40am-5:00pm.  Throughout the day, waves of runners will have the chance to test themselves over the iconic mile distance on a fast and flat route along the riverside.  Everyone will be electronically timed and the entry fee of only £5 includes a technical Nike t-shirt and a medal.  Runners can book a starting time in advance online, or turn up on the day and wait for an available slot (first come, first served).

The mile theme will continue on the evening of 26 July with a special celebration of Sir Roger Bannister in the Gala Theatre, supported by Durham University. Sir Roger, who passed away in 2018, was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes, 65 years ago, a feat that the British public voted as the greatest sporting achievement of the 20thCentury.  Members of Sir Roger’s family will participate in a unique event that will include a screening of the acclaimed documentary ‘Everest on the Track’.  The film will be followed by a discussion and audience Q&A that will also feature British (and former world) record holder for the mile Steve Cram, marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and Sir Roger’s daughter, Rev’d Charlotte Bannister-Parker.

Places are also filling up fast for the global debut of Paula’s Families on Track on Saturday 27 July, a new family athletics initiative that is the brainchild of marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.  Sponsored by Atom Bank, the event will be an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy a safe, fun and competitive event together as groups of three, four or five (minimum age of four) team up to cover a distance of 10K in a continuous relay over laps of 250m, 500m and 1k, all on a safe, enclosed course.  Thanks to Durham University, Paula’s Families on Track will be based at the university’s site on the old racecourse on the banks of the River Wear, a short walk from the city centre, and Paula Radcliffe will be on hand to make sure that everything runs smoothly, and to encourage everyone who takes part. The fee for a full team in Pala’s Families on Track is £40 and every participant will receive an exclusive Nike event t-shirt and medal, as well as a goody bag to take home.

Throughout Friday 26 and Saturday 27 July, the Durham City Run Festival will also host a series of free themed running events in the city centre. All starting and finishing at the Radisson Blu Hotel, the runs are designed to be sociable and accessible for as many people as possible.  ‘Horrible Histories’ author Terry Deary will lead a run on both days (4:00pm on 26 July and 12:30pm on 27 July), and, in his own inimitable style, will showcase some of Durham’s most famous historical landmarks to those who join him.  The Durham Mums on the Run are inviting runners with little ones to join them for a gentle run at 10:30am on 26 July.  Mums and dads will be welcome, whether pushing buggies or accompanying youngsters who have just discovered how to run.

At 1:00pm on the 26 July, 401 Marathon man Ben Smith will team up with the suicide support charity If U Care Share Foundation for a ‘healthy mind’ run, during which participants will share thoughts about how exercise can have a real positive impact on people’s lives, both physically and emotionally.  Later, the team from Durham Gin will also lead a free run (at 5:00pm), that takes in three of the city’s finest bars.  The final free run, at 2:00pm on 27 July, will bring the litter-picking-while-jogging phenomenon of ‘plogging’ to the festival, when Sedgefield Ploggers lead a gentle run and clean up around the city centre, helping to keep Durham beautiful.  Although all of these runs are free to attend, anyone who is interested is asked to send an email to info@eventsofthenorth.com, so that organisers know how many people to expect.

Fans of long-distance running are expected to pack the Gala Theatre on the afternoon of Saturday 27 July for the finale of the speaker programme, for a masterclass on how to run a marathon, delivered jointly by Paula Radcliffe and Ben Smith.  Paula is the world record holder at the distance and Ben Smith ran 401 marathons in 401 days to raise money for anti-bullying charities, so they both have a lot experience and insight to share with anyone who is interested in tackling 26 miles and 385 yards.

Places at all of the paid for events at the Durham City Run Festival can be booked at www.durhamcityrun.com.  The website includes a full programme of festival events that can be accessed here.

For the latest news on the festival, follow @durhamcityrun on Twitter and search for the event on Facebook.

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