Everything you need to know about this year's Durham City Run Festival

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Steve Cram launched Durham City Run Festival today (January 26) at Graham Sports Centre, Durham. Pictures: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.
Steve Cram launched Durham City Run Festival today (January 26) at Graham Sports Centre, Durham. Pictures: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.

PLANS for the 2022 Durham City Run Festival have been unveiled by organisers after Olympian Steve Cram paid a visit to the historic city to talk about the event and how it can benefit Durham’s City of Culture 2025 bid.

This year, the festival will kick off the weekend and run from Friday 15 – Saturday, July 16, with events throughout the city and at The Graham Sports Centre.

Returning in 2022 will be the Durham City Run 10K and 5K races, along with the Run Like a Legend Mile, Paula Radcliffe’s Families on Track, and a schedule of other themed runs, workshops, and talks.

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Now in its seventh year, and organised by Events of the North, in partnership with Durham County Council and Durham University, the Durham City Run Festival will coincide with Durham Brass Festival.

Both events are set to feature in the county’s bid for Durham to be named UK City of Culture 2025, recognising how sport is a core element of culture in the city and around the county.

During the launch event at The Graham Sports Centre, The Northern Echo caught up with Steve Cram, who believes that the importance of physical activity and mental wellbeing during the pandemic will lead to a bumper crowd for July’s event.

The Northern Echo: Steve Cram with Emma Lumley and her son George (7) at the launch of the Durham City run festival. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.
The Northern Echo: Steve Cram with Emma Lumley and her son George (7) at the launch of the Durham City run festival. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.

Steve Cram with Emma Lumley and her son George (7) at the launch of the Durham City run festival. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.

In what is a busy schedule for the Olynpian, Mr Cram will be heading out to the Winter Olympic games in Beijing in a few days’ time, where he will be on commentator duties for the Curling event.

He said: “During the pandemic, there was always the belief that we have to look after our bodies and minds – and that rings true with preparing for the Run Festival – hopefully people will have got back into a routine and the routine of keeping active and will join us.

“The idea to have the event linked with the Brass Festival is because we want people to spend lots of time in Durham and this can strengthen the bid for the City of Culture in 2025.

The Northern Echo: Steve Cram offers to race seven-year-old George Lumley during the launch event. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.
The Northern Echo: Steve Cram offers to race seven-year-old George Lumley during the launch event. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.

Steve Cram offers to race seven-year-old George Lumley during the launch event. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.

“We want to ensure that we appeal to everyone and from the fun runs, 5k’s and 10k’s, everyone in the family can enjoy the Festival.”

The former sportsman and now commentator, Mr Cram is a Durham 2025 Ambassador and was joined at the launch event by Cllr Elizabeth Scott to launch the Durham City Run Festival, just over a week before the county will formally submit its City of Culture bid.

Speaking about the prospect of landing the City of Culture status, Cllr Scott said: “It’s of huge importance to get people in Durham and ensure that our bid is as strong as possible. I strongly feel we have an incredible chance of getting the City of Culture status and we need as many people as possible to support it.

The Northern Echo: Quentin Sloper, Imogen Eddison and Mark Brian from Durham University with Steve Cram. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.
The Northern Echo: Quentin Sloper, Imogen Eddison and Mark Brian from Durham University with Steve Cram. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.

Quentin Sloper, Imogen Eddison and Mark Brian from Durham University with Steve Cram. Picture: PATRICK GOULDSBROUGH.

“The City of Culture won’t just be good for Durham but it will also strengthen the whole of County Durham and put it on the map for tourism and culture.”

Also at the launch was a family who plan to tackle ‘Families on Track’ to support St. Cuthbert’s Hospice in July, along with representatives from event partner Durham University.

Watch the sweet moment Steve Cram challenges a young runner to a race in Durham:

Quentin Sloper, director of experience Durham, added: “It’s huge to be part of the festival and have these facilities at Durham University used. Even though they opened just before the pandemic, I don’t feel they’ve got a full purpose yet. At the Festival, this will change.”

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