Durham City Run Festival goes virtual to support St. Cuthbert’s Hospice

The organisers of the Durham City Run Festival have announced details of a virtual event for the dates on which this year’s festival was originally scheduled to take place. The actual Durham City 10K, 5K and Run Like a Legend Mile have been postponed until October, but the virtual event will run from 16-19 July. Registration for the Virtual Durham City Run Festival opens today and the event will support St. Cuthbert’s Hospice in the city, with a proportion of each entry fee being donated to the charity.

Thousands of people were set to take part in this year’s Durham City Run Festival in July, but due to COVID-19, the event has been postponed until 8-11 October, subject to the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. The Virtual Durham City Run Festival will give everyone who was training for July, or has been getting fit during lockdown, the opportunity to compete in a ‘race’. Like the main festival, the virtual initiative is being organised by Events of the North and is supported by Durham County Council and Durham University.

Those who want to take part in the Virtual Durham City Run Festival can register online and, with the help of a special app, record and submit their best time for a solo run over the 10K, 5K or mile distance at any time from 9:00am on Thursday 16 July to midnight on Sunday 19 July. All times that are submitted will be validated and results will appear online. Runners can tackle one, two or all three distances – each entry costs £12.50 and the price includes a bespoke Virtual Durham City Run Festival medal and tote bag, with the option of adding a technical t-shirt or headband to the registration.

Event founder Steve Cram comments: “During this extended time without any running events taking place, it’s important to help motivate people and give them something to focus on. While we can’t all meet up in July, the Virtual Durham City Run Festival provides a great opportunity to ‘compete’ for anyone who was already preparing for a race, or has been getting more active during lockdown, or wants to aim for something.

“We still hope to meet up with everyone in October, but for now, the virtual festival will provide a few days of excitement for runners near and far. We’ve got some special medals and great prizes, but above all, we can raise some much-needed funds for the wonderful St. Cuthbert’s Hospice charity.”

Kay Carrick, senior donor development fundraiser at St Cuthbert’s Hospice, adds: “We’ve been amazed at how much the public have come together to support the hospice during these challenging times. We’re so pleased that this event is able to go ahead virtually and hope lots of people get involved. We have our own running club at the hospice and know the members will be pleased they can still participate in this brilliant Durham event and help to raise much needed funds.”

Jeremy Cook, pro-vice-chancellor (colleges and student experience) at Durham University, comments: “The Durham City Run Festival is a fantastic community event which we at Durham University are proud to support and it’s great to be able to keep it alive this summer in a virtual format.

“For those who’ve found a favourite running route as you’ve taken your daily exercise during lockdown, this is a great chance to test your speed. But the Durham City Run Festival is for all abilities, so if you’re not a runner why not set yourself a 5K challenge and give it a go – knowing you’ll be supporting the wonderful work of St Cuthbert’s Hospice as you go.”

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, comments: “We are delighted to have worked with Events of the North on the Virtual Durham City Run Festival. Preparing for and taking part in this event are great ways for people to enjoy themselves while coronavirus restrictions remain in place, and just as importantly to get or stay fit. We’re also really pleased that the virtual festival will be raising money for a truly worthwhile cause in St Cuthbert’s Hospice and can’t wait to hopefully welcome everyone to Durham in October for the real thing.”

Registering for each Virtual Durham City Run Festival distance (10K, 5K or mile) costs £12.50, with a proportion of every entry fee (after tax) being donated to St. Cuthbert’s Hospice. For more details and to sign up, visit https://durhamcityrunfestival.com/virtual. For the latest news from the Durham City Run Festival team, follow @durhamcityrun on Twitter and Instagram, or find the event on Facebook.