STUNNING SETTING: Raby Castle forms the backdrop to the Raby Races
STUNNING SETTING: Raby Castle forms the backdrop to the Raby Races

ORGANISERS of the Raby Runs are hoping for a last minute surge in entries for this year’s races, which take place on Sunday, May 12.

Set in the grounds of Raby Castle, the event is organised by Teesdale Athletics Club.

Three years ago, the 10k event sold out, convincing the club to up the limit of runners to 600.

However, last year, just 215 athletes took part in the main event as the result of a clash with other high profile runs and late confirmation of the race date.

So far this year – which will be the 17th running of the Raby event, 168 runners have signed up for the 10k, while the 5k race has attracted a field of 55.

The 3k run, suitable for those aged up to 11 has 33 entries and 25 have so far committed to the 1.2k event for U8s.

In an effort to boost numbers, the 5k and 10k races will be officially timed, post race massages will be on offer and attractions and refreshments will be available in the finish area.

Teesdale AC secretary Skye Archer said: “We are hoping for a lot more and that people come out at the last minute.

“Last year, we clashed with the Liverpool Rock and Roll marathon and the Pier to Pier run – a lot went to those events.”

However, she said the club was struggling to put its finger on low numbers again this year.

“I was starting to think the popularity of the Park Runs might be a possibility.

“They are free – are people prepared to pay for doing a challenging run?”

She said the location was the biggest draw.

“How many events can brag about it being run in such a gorgeous location, with the views across Teesdale? Nothing can beat it.

“But it is a challenging and undulating course. It is not one you can do for a PB, like Darlington.”

She added: “But the atmosphere is great because we put on a race for each member of the family and they can bring their picnics out afterwards.”

Everyone who completes the course receives a Raby Run medal and there is a prizegiving ceremony for those who make the podium positions, along with cakes courtesy of club volunteers.

Ms Archer said the club was increasing its efforts to encourage more people to stay for a while after the races had been run.

This year's runs begin with the 1.2k event at 10am, followed by the 3k at 10.15am.

The 5k runners come under starter's orders at 10.35am with the 10k due off at 11.15am.

Online registration is available until 6pm on Friday, May 10. It costs £4 for the 1.2k run; £5 for the 3k and £10 for the 5k.

Online entry for the 10k is £16 for affiliated athletes and £18 for unattached runners. Entries of the day will cost £18 and £20.