ONE of the region’s leading road races is officially relaunched this week in honour of a true Boro legend.
The Ali Brownlee Cleveland Centre 5k Riverside Run has been renamed in tribute to BBC Tees’ Voice of the Boro who died in February after a short battle with cancer.
The 5k and CCG 2k Fun Run take place on Sunday, June 5 – and organisers are hoping for a record turn-out as the events continue to grow in popularity.
The decision to rename the Riverside 5k was taken in consultation with Ali’s family, and it’s hoped runners, walkers and charity fund-raisers will snap up all 2,000 places in this year’s event.
The popular route takes entrants from the Riverside Stadium past some of the town’s most striking landmarks including Temenos and the Transporter Bridge, before a memorable finish beside the hallowed turf inside the stadium.
Ali’s daughter Alison, who attended Thursday’s launch event, said: “Firstly, on behalf of myself and my family let me thank you all for the honour of renaming the 5k after my late father.
“My dad was a kind, considerate man who would do anything for anyone without a thought of anything in return.
“He was never short of a word or two to say but I think that even he would be lost to express his gratitude at the kindness shown towards him.
“He loved this town and would be humbled by your wonderful gesture. We will all keep our fingers crossed for a bit of sunshine on the day.”
Councillor Lewis Young, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “Ali was a great supporter of our Runmiddlesbrough events, and was on board with the Tees Pride 10k when it was launched in 2005.
“He did a huge amount to promote the events, taking part himself, compering and encouraging countless others to make the effort with his trademark boundless enthusiasm and good humour.
“His sudden and untimely death came as a huge shock, not just to football fans but to so many people across the town who considered him to be a friend and a tireless champion of everything Middlesbrough.
“It seems more than fitting that the 5k Riverside Run should be renamed in his honour, and as a lasting tribute to the huge impression he made on the town and its people.”
Martin Miles, area manager for Middlesbrough Council’s leisure services partner Everyone Active, said: “We’re very proud to be supporting this event, especially given the added importance that this year’s run has for the people of Middlesbrough, who have lost a local hero.
“Ali was an incredibly popular and influential member of the community, who did a lot to support events like these in the town. We’re looking forward to making this a fantastic and fun-filled Riverside Run in his honour.”
For full details and entry information on the Ali Brownlee Cleveland Centre 5k Riverside Run on Sunday, June 5, visit www.runmiddlesbrough.com
Entries are also being accepted for the Taylor Wimpey Tees Pride 10k and SABIC Fun Run on Sunday, September 4.