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Team Durham Cathedral to take on city run to support future of heritage site

Durham Cathedral Running Club members (l to r) Clarissa Cahill, Rebecca Dodd, Vanessa Ward & Natasha MacMahon

A group of 12 runners is set to take part in this year’s Prince Bishops Durham City Run races to raise funds for one of the North East’s most famous heritage sites.  Team Durham Cathedral is taking part in the event’s 5k and 10k races on Wednesday 18 July in support of Foundation 2020, which aims to create a £10million endowment fund to support day-to-day maintenance and conservation costs at the historic landmark.

Team Durham Cathedral comprises of runners of varying abilities, aged between 23 and 58, seven of whom will compete in the 5k race, with the other five taking on the 10k course through the city centre’s cobbled streets and undulating roads.  Three cathedral staff, all members of the Cathedral Running Club, plus nine supporters will take part in the races including seven staff from Durham’s Barclays branch who have allocated their Barclays pound for pound match funding towards Team Durham Cathedral’s fundraising efforts.  This means that any funds raised up to £2,000 will be first matched by Barclays and then subsequently matched again by the Heritage Lottery Fund, effectively quadrupling the funds raised by Team Durham Cathedral.

Rebecca Dodd, an administrator in Durham Cathedral’s music and worship office launched the Cathedral Running Club in 2016, after funding was secured through the Better Health at Work Award for a member of cathedral staff to complete a Leadership in Running fitness course.  Rebecca is set to take part in the Durham City Run 10k race.  She comments:

“Team Durham Cathedral has a great mix of ages and abilities, but we all share the aim of competing in the two races while raising valuable funds towards Foundation 2020 which will help maintain the heritage site for future generations.  The involvement of local Barclays staff is a great opportunity to make people’s sponsorship money go that bit further.  In the Cathedral Running Club we have members from different parts of the organisation, which is great because none of us would usually work together on a normal day so we can enjoy getting to know each other as we run.  We also have people running who just want to challenge themselves while raising money for the cathedral which is lovely.”

One of the runners competing as part of Team Durham Cathedral is Andrew Laurence, Head of SME at Barclays Bank who may be hoping to break a surprise second record on the day.  Andrew currently holds the record for the fastestmarathon dressed as a fruit, when he completed the London Marathon in 2016 in just over 2 hours and 47 minutes while dressed as a banana.

Competitors and spectators should keep an eye out for an eye-catching Durham-centric outfit which he’ll be wearing as he completes the 5k race.

This is the third year running that Durham Cathedral has enrolled a team into the Prince Bishops Durham City Run, having first got involved with the inaugural event in 2016 following the launch of the running club.

Rebecca adds: “Quite a few of the running club’s first Couch to 5k graduates did the inaugural Durham City Run that year and then went onto the 10k the following year.  Two of our running club members went even further and ran the Great North Run last year too.  I’m so proud of seeing how far they have all come in such a short amount of time.

“I think it’s fantastic to have a race like this on our doorstep and have the opportunity to promote awareness about the cathedral and the Foundation 2020 campaign.  It’s so lovely to finish a race right outside the cathedral and the support is second to none.  What’s more, it’s really helpful to be able to train on the actual course week after week so you can feel totally confident on race day about what is coming next.  We finish most of our runs by going up Owengate so it doesn’t feel so daunting on the day.”

The 2018 Durham City Runis being organised by Events of the North, supported by Durham County Council, and with Prince Bishops Shopping Centre as headline sponsor.  This year, the event will have different start locations for the 10k and 5k races, adjacent to Millennium Square and in the market place respectively.  As in previous years, both runs will finish on Palace Green at the Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site.

To support the Durham Cathedral runners in their fundraising bid visit www.justgiving.com/durhamcathedral  For more information about Durham Cathedral’s Foundation 2020 campaign, visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/foundation2020  Anyone interested in running on behalf of the Durham Cathedral at the 2019 Prince Bishops Durham City Run should contact Rebecca Dodd at Rebecca.Dodd@durhamcathedral.co.uk.

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