Steve Cram praises Sunderland's new running groups
19 January 2012
Steve Cram has praised the creation of new running groups in Sunderland by local club Sunderland Harriers in order to use the popularity of the new Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10k to introduce more people to running.
The new events get underway in the city on Sunday 6 May and some top runners are looking to put their coaching credentials to the test and help first time runners to limber up for the big day with a series of new, free training sessions staged at locations around Sunderland.
Sunderland Harriers Athletics Club, which won last year’s Sunderland City 10k club challenge event, has got a rash of runners competing in the two main races, along with other junior competitions.
However the vast majority of those running in the 10k and new marathon are not likely to be experienced club runners, and many will be complete beginners, getting involved for the first time. The club is offering its current Run England group Happy Feet Striders and new group leaders have been trained so that the club can make the most of the opportunity.
Kevin Carr, chairman of Sunderland Harriers, said: “A number of Sunderland Harriers have gained their England Athletics Group Leadership in Running Fitness certificate and would like to put their experience in road running to good use in order to help other runners who have entered Sunderland’s Marathon of the North and 10k, in improving their fitness for these events.
“They are setting up a number of groups around Sunderland. These will be taking place at Seaburn, Silksworth Sports Complex and Castletown's Billy Hardy Sports Centre on Thursday evenings and the sessions will be free.”
The athletes running these groups have a wealth of experience in road running. Among the athletes that will be helping runners get in shape, Glenn Forster is a 2hr 15min marathon runner who represented Great Britain and finished 12th in the 1984 London Marathon and won the Glasgow, Utrecht and Nuremberg marathons among others. Also involved in the free sessions is Michael Hill, formerly a 2hr 36min marathon runner, Eddie Maddison, who has competed in every Great North Run to date and David Savage, a relative newcomer to the sport who has progressed rapidly to now be in a position to share his knowledge with other new runners.
Steve Cram, founder of the Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10k, said: “It’s brilliant that so many local athletes have been inspired to give something back and benefit new runners with their considerable experience.
“It is also a great opportunity for people in Sunderland to get out and running and get fit ahead of the Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10k in May. In addition to being free and offering runners the chance to gain some great advice and fitness, I’m sure the sessions will also be very social and great fun with beginners very much welcome.”