ORGANISERS of the Worcester City Run took to the River Severn yesterday to launch the build-up to this year's event.

The city run has been held since 2013, and guests met by Worcestershire Cricket Club to officially launch the event, which saw sponsors and delegates including athletics legend Steve Cram climb aboard a dragon boat.

Members of Worcester Dragon Boat Racing Club joined event organisers and sponsors to celebrate ‘7 on the Severn’ as the event prepares to grow for its seventh year.

The popular Worcester City Half Marathon, 10K and Young Athletes Run will be joined on the weekend of 5-6 September by a family athletics initiative that has been devised by Paula Radcliffe.

Now well-established on the region’s sporting calendar, the Air Products Worcester City Runs are delivered through a partnership between Worcester City Council and Events of the North.

Several representatives of Worcester Dragon Boat Racing Club will also be taking part this year. Dragon boats can often be seen on the Severn, but running is an important part of training for the growing sport and club members plan to run in one of the Air Products Worcester City Runs as part of their fitness programme this year.

Founded in 2014, the Air Products Worcester City Runs attract thousands of runners and spectators to the city every September. The half marathon, 10K and Young Athletes Run have grown in size year on year, attracting both leading club athletes and large numbers of fun runners, many of whom raise money for good causes.

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The Worcester City Run is organised by Events of the North in partnership with Worcester City Council, with charity partners the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust and lead sponsors Air Products all lending their support.

Athletics legend Steve Cram, founder and event director of the Air Products Worcester City Runs, comments: “I find it hard to believe that we’ve already reached ‘7 on the Severn’! It’s always a huge pleasure to put on the Air Products Worcester City Runs. Worcester City Council and the people of Worcester have been massively supportive since day one and have helped us to make the event bigger and better each year.

“One of the great features of the Air Products Worcester City Runs is how the event has successfully engaged with so many different parts of the local community. That’s epitomised by our partnership with the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust, and the fact that Worcester Dragon Boat Racing Club has decided to get involved this year. We’re really excited about bringing Paula Radcliffe’s brilliant Families on Track initiative to the city.

"We will be sharing more details about that in the near future and I’m sure that its addition to the programme will encourage even more people in the city to participate in this great festival of running.”

Mayor of Worcester Allah Ditta said: “It is great for the whole city as it brings in people from across the county and elsewhere. It is appropriate that, for the seventh year, we have come to the Severn to launch the run.”

Also at the event was Chris Britt-Compton from the Grace Kelly Trust, who said it was “wonderful” to be chosen as charity partner for the run for the second year.

Mr Britt-Compton took part in the run last ear for the charity alongside Colin Burgin-Plews, a Pride of Britain nominee who wore a huge ladybird themed dress that he made himself.

Former mayor Jabba Riaz, of Air Products, said: “We are sponsors for the third year and it is fantastic to be able to support this event again. Part of our corporate responsibility is to put back into the community and it is great to bring so many people into the city.”