Sunderland 10K & Half-Marathon, 7th May 2023

Five Claremont Road Runners headed to Wearside for this year’s Sunderland City runs – 3 in the 10K and 2 taking on the half-marathon. All posted good times and seemed to have had an enjoyable day’s running judging from their feedback.

Lucy Keating sent this report:
“A handful of Claremonters headed south to Sunderland to run the 10K and half marathon today. The Sunderland City Runs weekend has become a well-established date in the NE running calendar since being set up by Steve Cram in 2011. I imagine there is some Steve Cram/Brendan Foster rivalry between this and Brendan’s Great North Run, and having run the Sunderland events many times (including the infamous “260 metres short” inaugural half marathon in 2013) I would definitely favour the lower key but enthusiastically supported Wearside events, if you haven’t yet tried them.

Like many runners, my preferred running conditions are cloudy, cool and calm with a hint of drizzle, which is very fortunate, as this has been the default North East climate for many weeks, and Sunday was no exception, though it did become warmer and clammier towards the end.

I’ve benefited hugely from the training and friendly support since joining Claremont at the start of this year, though due to a busy April, I knew I hadn’t put in enough miles outside of the Claremont sessions, so I felt rather undercooked going into the 10K race. I bumped into cheery fellow Claremonters Mungi Wairi and Lynne Cornell at the bag drop before the start, so there was time for a quick selfie, before the 10K got underway, 25 minutes before the half.

The first couple of kilometres are through rather tight and twisty city centre roads, so I started off slightly too fast to get away from the crowds, before settling into a steadier pace. Once over the Wearmouth Bridge, there’s a speedy downhill to the river (although all runners know that what goes down must come up….) and the route then goes past the St. Peter’s campus, where I used to work just after it first opened…gulp, some decades ago. I got through halfway in 24.35, but with some uphills coming, thought it unlikely I’d be able to keep below 50 minutes.

Along the scenic seafront and lots of welcome support into Roker Park (all the while trying to avoid inhaling any smells of fried food) and then the long drag back to Wearmouth Bridge. It was touch and go whether I could make it home under 50 minutes, but I tried to give it some welly (NB technical term learned from Claremont training) over the bridge, and was relieved to squeak home in 49.53 (chip time), though my gun time was 50.09. As I get older, my PBs are long distant memories, so I settle for more niche targets instead, such as keeping my 10K time below my age: mission accomplished!

Talking of long distant memories, this weekend is the 50th anniversary of Sunderland’s famous FA Cup victory, but as I crossed the line, I didn’t have the energy to emulate the leap of the joyful Sunderland manager, Bob Stokoe, immortalised in a lovely statue outside the Stadium of Light.

The Claremont results are below. Fresh from his fastest parkrun of the year yesterday, Mungai posted another very impressive time. Lynne was 7th in her age category, and a big well done also to Lena and Clare, whom I didn’t manage to bump into!”

Lynne said: “It was a lovely run. Goodie bag and t-shirt as nice as ever though not sure what I’m going to do with the flaxseed!!!”

While Clare, who was “over the moon” to get under 2 hours, also sent this report:
“Had a lovely run out in Sunderland today. Three Claremonters took on the 10k and myself and Mungai ran the half marathon. Was a bit dull and misty at the start but very warm, ended up finishing in blazing sunshine with burnt face and shoulders. A lovely route through the streets of Sunderland, taking in two parks which were both quite hilly. Lots of support along the way, thoroughly enjoyed it! Well done everyone.”

271Lynne Cornell47:53
351Lucy Keating49:53
1053Lena Lou65:23
Half Marathon
140Mungai Wairia1:37:44
426Clare McKitterick1:56:04
Tom Tinsley -