Almost 1,200 schoolchildren are preparing for the finals of an initiative designed to encourage young people in County Durham to participate in sport.  Launched in 2012 and inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Dash! series of events have attracted record numbers of schools and children this year.  After heats throughout the county, the finals will be held next week, with Sedgefield Dash! concluding on Tuesday 13 June, hosted by Hardwick Hall Hotel and Hardwick Park, and the Durham Dash! finals on the following day on Palace Green in Durham.

Around 400 children took part in the first Durham Dash! in 2012 and the initiative has grown each subsequent year.  The Sedgefield Dash! was added last year, when 3,750 children from 43 schools ran, jumped and threw in 48 heats and eight finals in Durham and Sedgefield.  In 2017, almost 4,400 young people have participated in the Dash! events, with a record number of 1,194 qualifying for the finals next week, from 48 schools (also a record).  The Sedgefield Dash! finals will be held in Hardwick Park on Tuesday 13 June, starting at 4:30pm, and the Durham Dash! finals will take place on Palace Green in Durham city centre on Wednesday 14 June, starting at 5:30pm.

Mark Blackbourne, Dash! event director, comments:

“We’re delighted with how many young people have participated in the Dash! events this year.  It’s been great to see the schools and pupils get so engaged in sport through the initiative.  We are very grateful to all of the sponsors and supporters who have made Dash! happen and everything is set up nicely for our biggest finals events ever in Sedgefield and Durham.”

The Dash! events are delivered by Durham & Chester-le-Street School Sport Partnership (DCSSP) and Sedgefield School Sports Partnership (SSSP), with a range of key supporters, including Ramside Estates, Taylor Shaw, Durham Area Action Partnership, Chester-le-Street Area Action Partnership, Smooth Radio, the County Durham Community Foundation Eon and Tonks Family Funds, Durham County Council Culture, Sport & Leisure, and Curious 12.  Other supporters of the Dash! series include Swinburne Maddison, Bradley Hall, Durham Sixth Form Centre, MGM Group, MKM Building Supplies, Steven Scarr Hairdressing, Livin, County Durham Housing Group.

For more information about the Dash! initiative or to sign up, visit http://dothedash.co.uk, or find dashseries on Facebook and Instagram.