THE streets of Durham City will turn orange this spring as it plays host to a brand new running event set to help thousands of families across the North East and beyond who live with devastating muscle-wasting conditions.

Hundreds of university students and local residents are expected to pull on their running shoes to take on the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Durham Town and Gown 10k.

Those taking part will be encouraged to wear something orange – to match the charity’s signature colour - as they wind their way along a picturesque route along the banks of the Wear, beginning and ending at Graham Sports Centre.

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It is hoped the event will raise £15,000 towards the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s work funding pioneering research into treatments for muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions and supporting the 70,000 families affected by them in the UK – 3,000 of them from the North East.

Muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular conditions cause muscles to weaken and waste over time, leading to increasing disability and in many cases, significantly affecting life-expectancy.

Alongside leading the search for treatments for the conditions, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign offers support, advice and information to those affected, campaigns for better specialist healthcare and helps families cover the cost of vital equipment .

The fledgling Durham race is the third edition to the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Town and Gown 10k series, joining the popular events in Oxford and Cambridge which together have generated over £1m for the charity.

Toya Champ, events manager at the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, said: “Whether you are an experienced runner or a complete beginner looking for a new challenge for 2014, we can promise you a fun, friendly, memorable day – and a stunning route along the Wear.

"Just by joining us on the day you will be helping to fund pioneering research and vital support, making sure this year is a better year for thousands of families.”

Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon and the chairman of the Parliamentary Muscular Dystrophy Group, who lost his sister and brother to a form of the disease called myotonic dystrophy, said: “It is fantastic that this event is coming to Durham. Everybody can get behind it.”

Quentin Sloper, head of sport at Durham University, said: “This is great news for Durham. University. Staff and students have always supported charities, organisations and events in the region, and we expect that many will be encouraged to take part in this exciting initiative to help raise money for a good cause.”

Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for City of Durham said: “The run is for a great cause and all those participating are doing so to help find a cure for this terrible illness.

The Durham City Town and Gown 10k will take place on the morning of Sunday March 9 , following a route along the banks of the Wear.

A chip-timed race, it begins at 10am. For more information visit Registration costs £16 and is open to over 16s.