WORLD champion athlete Steve Cram has called on aspiring runners throughout the North-East to get fit for a festival of running.

He issued the appeal, with 100 days to go until the Marathon of the North, Half Marathon of the North, Sunderland City 10k and the new BQ Team Relay at Marathon of the North.

Starting and finishing at the Stadium of Light, the marathon, half marathon and 10k will all follow courses through the streets of Sunderland on April 28.

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About 6,000 people are expected to participate on the day, including strong contingents of charity fundraisers and club runners.

Entries have now opened for a fourth event, the BQ Team Relay at Marathon of the North.

Designed for those who want to be part of the marathon but who don’t want to run the whole 26 miles themselves, the relay will follow the same course and will be run in six legs of distances ranging from 3k to 10k.

The former world record holder and his team have worked hard to develop runs that are as accessible as possible for runners of all abilities.

Mr Cram said: “We fixed on a date in late spring because we knew that it would be something really achievable to aim for at the start of the year.

“We’re really keen to encourage both club and fun runners to the events, and we’re doing all that we can to make them appealing to a wide audience.”

Entries for the Marathon of the North, the Half Marathon of the North and BQ Team Relay at Marathon of the North are now being accepted at, and you can enter the 10k at