A message from Team SPARK

We absolutely loved being involved with Sunderland City Runs, both in a running and broadcast capacity. Here’s what our members of ‘Team Spark’ made of the experience:

Cameron Conner (Broadcast Lead)
Sunderland City Runs was a great event for Spark to be involved in. It was a great opportunity for us to be back doing outside broadcasts and being out in the community of Sunderland giving updates of what is happening. It was a brilliant atmosphere and the day had a great buzz to it. Being there and speaking to those involved was fantastic. It was a real pleasure to chat to the runners and find out about their different reasons for taking part in the event

Lottie Steele (10k)

I have just about recovered from the run on Sunday, and what an event it was! I thoroughly enjoyed the day (and even enjoyed the run a lot more than I thought!). The course was lovely and scenic and the people on the side-lines cheering you on was really motivating. The energy from the crowd was fantastic and it was so amazing to see so many people turn out and run for different reasons.

I thought it was going to be more of a struggle as it was the longest distance I’d ran in a while, but the crowds kept me pushing on and I was really pleased with how it went. I finished in 55:__ in the end. From the Rock Choir performance at the start, to the young volunteers handing you a medal at the finish line, it really was a lovely day out to be enjoyed by everyone. It was great to see people of all different levels giving it a go and smashing it. Here’s to more training for the half-marathon next year?!

Tom Mortlock (10k)

I’m so pleased we were involved with Sunderland City Runs this year. I used to run semi-regularly a few years ago, but I really needed an event like this to work towards to reignite my motivation for running and get some much-needed fitness back. There were definitely times when I thought the 10k would be beyond me (even at times during Sunday’s run!) but as others have already mentioned, the atmosphere and encouragement from the crowd was great and really helped push you to the end.

I really enjoyed everything about the day, perhaps the last 3 or 4k of the actual run aside! One small aspect of my run that I particularly enjoyed was the realisation that my chip time was 1:07 (Spark’s FM frequency!). As well as running, having Spark in the runners village throughout was great fun and we were delighted to be able to soak up the atmosphere and form just a small part of the event.

Grace Daily (5k)

I’m really happy I ended up participating, in retrospect I have enjoyed myself so much more than I thought I did in the moment. I do think that this has proved to me that I am much more of a runner than I thought I was and I will definitely do anything for a bit of competition! I’m super proud of myself and everyone else that managed to do any of the runs because it’s absolutely insane!

Grace McDonough (5k)

Being involved in Sunderland City Runs has been just the boost I needed to get back into running! I took part in the 5k and it was harder than I thought it would be but I was pleased to be able to complete it in under 40 minutes.

I’m pleased with the progress I made in a short space of time because when I began training at the end of March, I struggled to run for 3 minutes before I had to walk home!  I then tried to go back to Couch to 5k but jumped to week 4 but then I actually found having to stop and walk made it more difficult so I then changed my approach slightly and instead of measuring my progress by how many minutes I could run continuously; I decided to gradually try and build up the distance so run for fewer minutes but not walk at all.  I began by running for 1k without stopping and then 1.5 and then 2 etc.  I had intended on trying to get to 4k before the big day but I only ended up managing 2.5k without stopping before the day. 

The day of the run arrived and I was feeling pretty apprehensive because I hadn’t managed to get as far as I had wanted to during training but I was looking forward to it.  My only goals were to be able to complete it in under 40 minutes and to be able to run the whole 5k without having to walk if possible but I didn’t think that was likely with what I had managed in training.  I began the run feeling quite confident but I think I started too fast because I couldn’t maintain the pace and had to slow down.  I was managing to keep jogging until about the 2.5k mark because the incline at 2k took me by surprise and I had to walk a bit to catch my breath for a couple of minutes.  I felt able to jog again at around 3K and the support from the crowd was really helpful and spurred me on to the 4k mark. At this point I was running over the Spire Bridge on the way to the finish line. The Spire Bridge was amazing to run over but at this point, although the finish line was only 1k away it felt so far away! But knowing that it was going to be over soon spurred me on to jog to the finish line! As I got closer to the finish line, I could see the clock ticking closer to 40 minutes so I was determined to keep going to try and finish in under 40 minutes which I managed to so I was really pleased!

I’m so glad I took part in Sunderland City runs because I’m running the Great North Run in September so I’m now more confident than I was a couple of months ago and think with more consistent training I’ll be able to complete that in 4 months’ time!

Martin Blair (5k)

At the beginning of training, on my first proper run in a few years and 6 weeks before the big day, I really struggled to run 2k and I genuinely thought I would not manage to complete the 5k on the day. I decided I would do a daily routine of Joe Wicks’ body coach YouTube videos. I honestly found these workouts helped a lot, as although there were lots of aches and pains with my rusty muscles, particularly in my legs, each time I went for a run I was managing to get further and further without having to stop for a breath. Until, on the Wednesday before the big run, I managed to run 4.5K in 30 minutes. I was confident and ready for the big one. I also decided that using the Sunderland marina, Roker Park and Roker beach was best for practicing long runs as it was flat.

On the day of the event, I was nervous. I was worried that I would come last or worse, not finish at all. I started at the back of the crowd, thinking I would be finishing in over 30 minutes, and I went at a slow steady pace, to keep my energy stored for what was to come. I do not know if it was the other runners, especially the ones in fancy dress, or the support of the people of Sunderland who were cheering me on, or a mixture of both, but something happened to me, and I just kept on going and going. It was not long before I noticed that I was overtaking a lot of people near the end of the run, which also helped encourage me to soldier on even more, until I got to the finish line.

I somehow managed to finish the 5k with a time of 28:22”, which I was really impressed about, let alone just finishing.  I have never done anything like this before and I really enjoyed myself, especially the feeling of success after the race. In fact, I think I have found a new hobby, I enjoyed it that much, and I am getting excited about training myself up in preparation for tackling the 10k run next year.

I would like to personally thank all the people of Sunderland who came down to give their support as well as the other runners – they really helped make it a memorable day.