Hi Sunshine News readers,
It’s been such an exciting week as our 20th anniversary Sunshine Run finally arrived, and we couldn’t have asked for a better evening of celebrations! True to its name, the sun was out in full force across the Quayside where over 250 runners supported us.
From club runners looking to smash their PBs, to corporate teams from businesses across the city who came straight, to fun runners there to help us celebrate in style.
After months of preparation and possibly the busiest couple of weeks leading up to the big day, the incredible atmosphere and support made it all worth it, and it truly was the most rewarding experience.
It was my first event since joining The Sunshine Fund in March, and it was everything I had thought it would be and more – and it’s all thanks to our wonderful supporters and businesses who contributed their services, our amazing team of volunteers throughout the day and night, and of course, the runners who well and truly painted the Toon yellow. They raised phenomenal funds that will make a serious improvement to the daily lives of children living with disabilities, additional needs and terminal illness in the North East.
I spoke to Kim Fellowes, a Partner at Silk Family Law, who were just one of many amazing corporate teams who joined us. She said: “What a fantastic event! Absolutely electric atmosphere with support from the Sunshine Team.
"A great warm up with all the other runners – really gets you started! We have runners of all levels so an event like this gives everyone the chance to take part and work together to raise all-important funds.
It was particularly wonderful to take part as the race celebrates its twentieth year and continued our tradition of supporting this charity once again smashing our £500 target. I could not think of a better cause to run for – here’s to another 20 years!”
We have a lot of people to thank for making the Sunshine Run’s 20th birthday one to remember. Firstly, we’d like to thank Tony Gardner and Gateshead Harriers who have been organising this event since it began in 2002, and play an integral part of putting the 5K together each year.
We’d also like to thank our friends at Stagecoach for sponsoring the 5K for a third time, and for their continued support throughout the event, and through so many other ways over the years. They provided a bus to be used as a bag drop facility and were all hands on deck helping us to set up. They also presented our winners with flowers and a podium finish.
We had a wonderful group of daytime volunteers from Accenture, who helped set up the route and decorated it in true Sunshine Fund style! After the morning passed in a blink of an eye, we welcomed our vendors in the afternoon who, with the help from many volunteers, got to work setting up and before we knew it, the Quayside had fully transformed.
We even had a visit from Darth Vader as 99th Garrison returned to take selfies with our runners and collect donations for us.
We’d like to thank Timing Up North for providing the chip timing, race numbers and the start/finish line, as well as Northstar AV for setting up our stage and speakers. The Sunshine Run was hosted by Asha from At One & Danceversity; The Sunshine Fund have funded equipment for Danceversity, so this was Asha’s way of thanking us, and she did a brilliant job at engaging our runners with her energy and enthusiasm!
After Asha opened the event, we were treated to a medley of sunshine-themed songs by the wonderful Sing United Choir, who also gave us a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to recognise the 20th anniversary. The music didn’t stop there as the North Tyneside Steel Band joined us again to accompany the race.
Our runners also had a warm up led by Simone at The Gym Group, who ensure everybody was in the mood and raring to go! The elite runners were then directed to the starting line first, before our 200 fun runners, where Paralympian, Stephen Miller MBE, set off the race.
Despite the heat, our runners smashed the race with the overall winner completing it in just 16 minutes, 10 seconds.
The event was captured by our wonderful friends at The Bigger Picture, who have supported The Sunshine Fund for many years and we can always rely on them to capture the best moments from our events. Without their content we couldn’t promote events like the Sunshine Run, so we’d like to say a huge thank you to Jeanette and Ange. We can’t wait to share their photos!
Finally, the event couldn’t have gone ahead without our incredible team of volunteers. We had a wonderful team from Accenture who helped set up during the day, followed by a whole host of evening volunteers; from long-term supporters of the charity, to our marshals from XL Medical, and a team of police cadets – thank you for donating your time and skills.
Thanks for reading – be sure to follow our socials where we’ll be sharing photos and videos from the event!