Runners from across the North East are warming up for two of the region’s most picturesque races.

The Auckland Castle Trail Race and Fun Run, in partnership with Shildon Running and Athletic Club and Auckland Castle Trust, return to Bishop Auckland for their third successive year on Bank Holiday Weekend, Sunday August 28.

The two-mile fun run (3.21km) is designed specifically for young runners and follows a gentle path through Auckland Castle’s historic Deer Park.  It is open to under 16s of all abilities, with under eights accompanied by an adult.

The five mile Trial Race welcomes runners looking for a little more of a challenge, following a unique multi terrain course that takes in the sights of Auckland Castle and the surrounding parkland.

Participants line up at the Robinson Arch, overlooking Bishop Auckland Market Place, running past the historic Walled Garden and 900 year-old Auckland Castle, before entering the scenic Deer Park, packed with ponds and woodland paths.

Auckland Castle Trust and Shildon Running and Athletic Club are also appealing for volunteers to help on the day, with a minimum of 15 marshals required, ideally with first aid training.

Ed Murphy from Shildon Running and Athletic Club, said: “Since we started the event in 2015, The Auckland Castle Trial Race and Fun Run has been extremely popular amongst serious runners and novices alike.

“Shildon Running and Athletic club is delighted to continue its partnership with Auckland Castle Trust and we are really excited for this year’s event.”

The Auckland Castle Trail Race and Fun Run is part of a programme of events continuing while Auckland Castle Trust is closed for restoration.

The Grade 1 listed Castle, once home to the Prince Bishops of Durham, is being restored to its original Georgian Gothic opulence as part of a £70m project by Auckland Castle Trust to create a major arts, faith and culture destination.

With support from the Heritage Lottery Fun (HLF) and other key partners it will reopen to the public in Spring 2018.  In the meantime, events like the Trail Race and Fun Run continue to be held in its grounds and the Deer Park remains open free to daily visitors.

Liz Fisher, Engagement Director from Auckland Castle Trust, said: “The Auckland Castle Trial Race and Fun Run are highlights not only of the Auckland Castle Trust calendar but of the region’s sporting calendar too and we hope that runners of all ages will enjoy this unique and beautiful course.”

Entry for both races closes on August 21, with places available to book online at www.aucklandcastle.org or via email trial@aucklandcastle.org priced at£9 per person for the five mile Trial Race and £4 for the two mile Fun Run. .

Anyone wanting to volunteer as a marshal can call Ed Murphy of Shildon Running and Athletic Club on 07473 803000.

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