After being forced to switch to a virtual version in 2020 due to the pandemic, the popular Durham Run Festival will return this July, organised by Events of the North, the team behind the Sunderland 10k and half marathon.
The programme, run in partnership with Durham County Council and Durham University, includes the Prince Bishops Durham City 5K and 10K, Run Like a Legend Mile and Paula Radcliffe’s Families on Track, taking place from July 15 to 17.
Organisers say the 5K and 10K runs feature new, faster routes, and former marathon world record holder and Olympian Paula Radcliffe will be at the festival in person, supervising Families on Track, which is set to double in size, following its global debut in Durham in 2019.
Steve Cram, the pundit and Olympic medal winner from Jarrow, is the founder of the events.
He said: “We are so pleased to be returning to Durham this July. It’s been a hugely challenging time for all events organisers and also for cities like Durham, which have traditionally had such vibrant summer programmes.
"For everyone’s peace of mind, we have adapted this year’s Durham City Run Festival to clearly separate the key running events, and there are certain elements of our schedule that won’t be the same as usual.
"Despite that, and thanks to the support of Durham County Council and Durham University, we will be hosting three fantastic days of running events, with something for all ages and abilities.
"It’s going to be a brilliant way to welcome back big events to the city of Durham this summer.”
When will the 10k and 5k events be taking place?
The 2021 Prince Bishops Durham City 5K and 10K will take place on the evening of Thursday, July 15.
What are the new routes and times?
Due to the temporary closure of New Elvet Bridge, the races have new routes, starting and finishing in the market place.
The 5K will start at 7:10pm, with the 10K runners setting off at 7:30pm, and both races will take athletes down to the river.
The 5K route will stay close to the city centre, taking in iconic landmarks and crossing the river four times.
10K runners will head out to Durham University’s Graham Sports Centre, before heading back into the city, crossing the river a total of six times.
Both races are flatter and faster than in previous years, but organisers say they still present runners with a challenge, while taking in some of the historic city’s most famous sights.
How much are the races to enter?
Places on the Prince Bishops Durham City 5K cost £16 and the price for the 10K is £23 for England Athletics affiliated runners, and £25 for those who are unaffiliated.
What is included?
Every finisher will receive a medal, technical t-shirt and goody bag, and organisers have arranged free park and ride to the start for all runners (from Belmont Car Park).
What else is on?
Run Like A Legend also returns to the Durham City Run Festival in 2021, on Friday, July 16. From 10:40am to 4:40pm, runners will be able to test themselves against the mile distance, on a flat route that starts and finishes at the Boat Club, heading to the bandstand and back.
With electronic chip timing for everyone, entry costs £7 and includes a t-shirt and medal. Runners will be allocated start times in 20-minute slots and are encouraged to book in advance.
If there are any places still available on the day, they will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
The event will be particularly close to Steve Cram’s heart, the “Jarra Arra” having previously held the world record for the mile.
What about the family event?
Paula’s Families on Track, powered by Atom Bank and supported by Xplora Watches, will provide the finale for the 2021 Durham City Run Festival, on Saturday July, 17.
The brainchild of Paula Radcliffe, Families on Track gives family groups the opportunity to complete a 10K distance in a continuous relay, in a safe setting and format that allows everyone to contribute, no matter what age or ability.
The first event was a huge success and capacity has been doubled for 2021, but places are going fast.
Paula Radcliffe herself will be in Durham to supervise Families on Track and encourage groups as they tackle their 10K challenge together.
A team place for a family group of three, four or five costs £40, which includes a Nike Paula’s Families on Track t-shirt, medal and event goody bag for every team member.
Is there anything happening other than running?
The weekend will also host Durham County Council’s popular BRASS Festival which will run from July 14 to 18, with a vibrant and colourful celebration of brass music in all its forms.