There’ll be a new twist to one of Teesside’s biggest sporting events in 2012 - with both the Middlesbrough 5k Road Race and 2k Fun Run set to start and finish pitchside at the Riverside Stadium.
And as the main event’s new sponsor, Teesside-based SABIC UK Petrochemicals has lent its name to the popular 5k, while supermarket Asda is sponsoring the successful Fun Run.
Runners will line up for the 2012 SABIC 5k Riverside Run on Sunday, May 13, just a few weeks before the start of the London Olympics.
Middlesbrough’s very own Olympic hopeful and British long jump record holder Chris Tomlinson has kicked off publicity for the popular event.
Along with ‘Voice of the Boro’ Alastair Brownlee of BBC Tees, the lifelong Boro fan is encouraging Teessiders of all shapes, sizes, ages and fitness levels to take part in either run as the country prepares to go Olympics crazy.
But there’s no time to delay for those wanting to take part – because this year entry numbers for the 5k event will be strictly limited to an Olympics-themed 2,012.
Chris said: “This event is already a special one in Teesside’s sporting calendar and both the SABIC 5k Riverside Run and the Asda 2k Fun Run promise to be the best, with runners being cheered home by their family and friends in the Riverside stands.
“Five kilometres is a good distance to get people involved as it’s not overly challenging, while 2k is great fun no matter what your age, so it’s the perfect opportunity for people of all abilities and fitness levels to get the sports bug ahead of the Olympics.”
Although the 2011 5k followed a route through the Riverside, this year will be the first time the event has both started and finished at Boro’s stadium.
Runners will even be able to ensure a pitch perfect preparation, as the event’s warm-up will take place on the Riverside’s hallowed turf.
With the entire run taking place north of the railway line, the 5k passes historic landmarks including the 100-year-old Transporter Bridge, the old Town Hall and the former homes of Middlesbrough’s founding fathers, Henry Bolckow and John Vaughan.
The event is being organised and supported by Middlesbrough Council with the backing of Middlesbrough Football Club.
Race director Jimmy Wattis said: “This event has grown quickly in popularity over its first three years but we expect 2012 to be the most successful yet.
“Middlesbrough Council is delighted to have the support of the football club and we are confident a record number of runners will help to raise more funds than ever before for some great charitable causes.”
Councillor Brenda Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Sport, said: “Middlesbrough has developed a real reputation for staging quality running events which attract participants from far and wide.
“This is a great new route that celebrates both the football club and the town’s rich industrial heritage – I’m looking forward to seeing the town’s streets flooded with runners, walkers and charity fund-raisers.”
The Sunday morning 5k is being kindly sponsored by SABIC UK Petrochemicals, a global leader in the petrochemicals industry employing more than 700 Teesside staff at its Wilton and North Tees facilities.
HR Director Claire Watson said: “Despite its worldwide outlook, the heart of SABIC UK Petrochemicals is here on Teesside.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be backing the local community, encouraging healthy lifestyles and taking part in a key sporting event in the year of the London Olympics.”
The Asda 2k Fun Run will take place shortly after the 5k, giving those who want to take part in both full opportunity to do so.
Although Chris Tomlinson will be unable to take part due to his Olympic preparations, other well-known faces will include former Boro star Colin Cooper and his wife Julie who will be leading a team of runners raising funds for the Finlay Cooper Fund in aid of local children’s causes.
With the involvement of Cooper and Middlesbrough FC, it is hoped that Boro fans will turn out in force to help further raise the profile of one of Teesside’s biggest annual running events.
To sign up for the 2012 SABIC 5k Riverside Run or Asda 2k Fun Run, visit www.runmiddlesbrough.com
Entry for the 5k is £10 or £8 for affiliated runners.
Entry for the 2k fun run costs £5.