THOUSANDS of runners are tying up their trainers, securing their sweatbands and limbering up with lunges for the annual return of the Darlington 10k this weekend.

The popular energetic event on Sunday will mark the 30th year of the run that attracts athletes from across the region preparing to pound the streets around the town centre.

The Northern Echo:

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Race organisers are hoping to welcome a record number of runners to Darlington for this year’s 10k.

Phil Haymer, Darlington 10k race director, said: “This year's run is extra special as we'll be celebrating our 30th anniversary and I'm hoping we will beat our record attendance of 2,500 entries.

“The 10k has proved to be a hugely popular event."

And don't miss The Northern Echo on Tuesday, August 15, when we'll be publishing a souvenir supplement full of photos and results from the day.

We'll also be running updates on thenorthernecho.co.uk for race-day updates and a gallery of pictures.

ROUTES

The route that the thousands of competitors will be following will take them from the starting line in Houndgate to Stanhope Road, along Woodlands Road, heading south on Carmel Road North, before coming back to Coniscliffe Road for a second lap.

The final kilometre of the run will see the participants cheered on by family and friends as they arrive back into the town centre via Skinnergate and through to Bondgate, before crossing the finish line on High Row.

The Darlington 3k for junior runners will also use the same start and finish line for competitors aged between eight and 14-years-old, who will run up and down Coniscliffe Road.

Here are some handy route maps of the full 10k and the junior 3k.

The Northern Echo:

ROUTE: A map of this year's Darlington 10k. Picture: DBC

The Northern Echo:

ROUTE: A map of this year's Darlington 10k. Picture: DBC

A family fun run will also be hosted ahead of the 3k and 10k, with runners of all ages and abilities leaving from High Row at Binns for two laps of the circuit.

They will move along Bondgate, through Skinnergate, turn left on to Blackwellgate, left on to High Row, and back to Binns for the finish.

STARTING TIMES

  • Family fun run – 9am
  • Junior 3k – 9.45am
  • Darlington 10k – 10:30am

Entrants are being advised to arrive no later than 30 minutes before the start of their race to warm up and get ready to run.

The Northern Echo:

GETTING READY: Runners waiting to get started at the 2016 Darlington 10k. Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

Fun runners inspired to take part on the day will be able to enter the race from 8am by speaking to race organisers in the Dolphin Centre's squash courts on the ground floor.

But remember that no new entrants will be accepted for the 3k or 10k on the day.

ROAD CLOSURES

For runners using cars, bikes or public transport to get to the Darlington 10k events, there are a few road closures to plan around on Sunday.

The Northern Echo:

ON THE RUN: Competitors on Darlington's streets in 2016. Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

The majority of streets involved will be shut entirely from 6am until 2pm, but here's a full round-up of the roads affected and the times they will be closed for.

The areas closed from 6am until 2pm are:

  • Horsemarket
  • Bull Wynd
  • Blackwellgate
  • High Row
  • Post House Wynd
  • East Row
  • Northgate
  • Prospect Place
  • Tubwell Road, westbound carriageway from Church Row to East Row

More roads closed from 6am until 1pm are:

  • Skinnergate
  • Bondgate
  • Houndgate
  • Commercial Street, from Regent House to Bondgate
  • Duke Street, from the rising bollard to Skinnergate
  • Grange Road, from Northumberland Street to Coniscliffe Road
  • Beaumont Street, from Houndgate to Beaumont Street West

Coniscliffe Road will be closed from Blackwellgate to West Street from 6am to 12.30pm.

Streets closed from 9am until 1pm are:

  • West Street
  • Stanhope Road
  • Woodland Road, outbound from Stanhope Road North to Staindrop Road
  • Carmel Road North, southbound from Staindrop Road to Coniscliffe Road

AT THE START/ON THE ROUTE

Race officials are going to be on hand during the day and will instruct runners on where to line up for their respective runs, with the quickest anticipated finishing times starting at the front.

Competitors are also being reminded to be aware of traffic islands on Coniscliffe Road. The whole of the race route is closed to traffic, but traffic is flowing on the far side of the carriageway on Woodland Road and Carmel Road North.

But don't worry, Darlington Police officers and race marshals will be on hand to help with directions on the day. It's also worth mentioning that the route of emergency vehicles take precedence over runners.