Council chiefs are expecting a record number of entries for a historic road race that celebrates a Northumberland town’s rich mining heritage.
The Essity Prudhoe Miners 10k was resurrected in 2012 by the town council to mark the London Olympics and has grown in popularity to become a key event in the region’s athletics calendar.
Organised by Prudhoe Town Council with support from Essity – the town’s largest employer – last year’s event attracted more than 400 runners, and race co-ordinators Run Nation Events have had to alter the course slightly to cope with the increasing number of runners.
Prudhoe’s mayor, councillor Tracy Gilmore, said the revised route would take runners away from busy roads and make for a safer and more enjoyable event.
“Everyone in the town is astounded at how popular this race has become, both with families and fun-runners as well as elite athletes,” she said.
“The original miners race was a traditional sporting event dating back to the early 20th century. It came to an end in the wake of the Second World War, and was resurrected to mark the London 2012 Olympics.
“But, although there are no longer any working pits in the area, the event has gone from strength to strength and has helped to encourage hundreds of townsfolk to put on their running shoes.
“We have Prudhoe Riverside parkrun every Saturday morning, which attracts an average of 150 runners every week, and the junior parkrun on Sunday morning for children aged four-14.
“Our own England Athletics running club, the volunteer-led Prudhoe Plodders, now has over a hundred members but remains a friendly inclusive group where all abilities are welcomed – and their free couch to 5k initiative has seen over 100 local people start running.
“Local businesses are also getting involved, with optician Elizabeth Evans encouraging her staff and customers to sign up to celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s get-fit initiative with a Prudhoe Can Run group.”
Tissue manufacturer Essity, maker of leading brands Velvet and Cushelle, is sponsoring the race for the 7thyear and Prudhoe mill manager George Placogiannakis said the company was delighted at the event’s success.
“When we first agreed to support it back in 2012, I don’t think any of us had any idea that it would be a catalyst for the entire town getting behind the concept of getting fit through running.
“We have continued to support grass-roots sport, with a donation to the setting up of the parkrun, but are particularly pleased at the family event the miners race has become – with youngsters able to take part in the Junior 3k Run for 11 to 16 year-olds and a 1.5k Mini Run for five to ten year-olds on a flat, traffic-free course at Tyne Riverside Country Park just behind our site.”
The Essity Prudhoe Miners Race takes place on Sunday September 30. For entry details and information about the two junior runs go to www.runnation.co.uk/races
Pictured getting a bird’s eye view of the new race route from the top of Prudhoe Mill are town mayor Tracy Gilmore and Essity’s Simon Edge who handed out medals to last year’s runners