Cup hero Gaizka Mendieta is all set for a Riverside return, but this time he’ll be wearing running shoes instead of football boots!
As Boro prepare to mark the anniversary of the club’s 2004 Carling Cup victory by hosting the England Under-21 team, the Spanish superstar has announced that he will take part in May’s SABIC 5k Riverside Run.
Mendieta, who played a key role in the cup victory over Bolton eight years ago, is calling on Boro fans of all fitness levels to join him for a run that will feature an Olympic marathon-style finish in the Riverside Stadium.
Runners will line up for the 5k and the Asda 2k Fun Run on the morning of Sunday, May 13, just a few weeks before the start of the London Olympics.
Mendieta, who is the only member of Boro’s Carling Cup-winning side who still lives on Teesside, runs regularly to keep himself fit and active – but he is encouraging his fellow runners to start getting into shape now to ensure they are in tip-top condition by the day of the race.
“I try to run when I can and keep myself quite fit,” said Mendieta, who made a £28.9m switch from Valencia to Lazio in 2001.
“I have taken part in the Tees Pride 10k run in the past, but I’m looking forward to the 5k and I have friends who will take part in the Asda Fun Run.
“It will be strange to return to the Riverside as a runner rather than a footballer but I will do plenty of training in advance. Whether they are doing the 5k or the 2k, it’s important people get out and practise whenever they can.”
There’s no time to delay for those wanting to take part – because entry numbers for the SABIC 5k Riverside Run will be strictly limited to an Olympics-themed 2,012.
Entrants to the 5k must be aged over 13, while there is no minimum age for the Asda 2k Fun Run, which is ideal for families.
Warm-up for both runs will take place on the Riverside’s hallowed turf.
The event is being organised and supported by Middlesbrough Council with the backing of Middlesbrough Football Club.
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.