Information for Schools

Who the event is for

The event is for boys and girls in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Primary Schools within the Durham and Chester le Street School Sport Partnership service area are invited to take part as a school representative team(s). 

Family and friends are encouraged to come along and support the children and enjoy the atmosphere of this unique event.

The format of the event

Children will have the opportunity to participate in either an urban athletics road race OR field events.

The road race will start at the Market Place and finish on the Palace Green. The road race will consist of 6 heats of 8-10 young athletes running the 550m distance to the Palace Green. There will be 6 finalists in each age category for the road race.

The Field events is a combination of age related sporting disciplines – standing jump, chest push & speed bounce – in which all pupils participate in every discipline; an individual Field Event winner will be crowned as Dash Champion for the year.

Dash T-Shirts / Competitors

Children need to arrive at the event wearing their Dash T-shirt with their race number (self adhesive) attached. If possible please stick the race number below the Durham Dash Logo towards the bottom of the T-shirt. (We realise this might not be possible depending on the size of the child so please use common sense).

Each school year group has a different colour T-shirt, this is to help identify them for the race and field events.

Please do not switch T-shirts between year groups. 

All t-shirts of the same colour are the same size, we had to do this for cost purposes so it is a one size fits all policy!

The t-shirt colours are as follows: 

  • Year 3: Red 
  • Year 4: Green 
  • Year 5: Blue 
  • Year 6: Purple 

Please make sure that teams wear the correct numbers, as instructed on your team sheet. 

School Zone & Wristbands

All young athletes, along with nominated school helpers / volunteers will be located in the secure school zone which will be located on Palace Green and Market Place at the start. 

Access to the zone will be managed by School Sport Partnership staff with access given only to those that are wearing Dash competitor t-shirts and or Dash Wristbands. 

Once children have finished their Road Race or Field Event activity there will be fun activities and demonstrations in the School Zone for them to participate in, should they wish to do so. 

There will also be opportunity for young athletes to cheer on the road runners from the School Zone.

Car Parking

As part of being able to deliver a safe event within the city centre with vehicle routes it is necessary to secure road closures, in accordance with Durham County Council licence.  

The race route – between Market Place and the Cathedral – will have restricted access from 7:30am for set up whilst a full road closure will be introduced from 3:00pm onwards to allow for event delivery and de-rig. The road will re-open to vehicles at 11pm.

Parking is available at the Prince Bishop Shopping Centre, Walkergate Car Park (near The Gala) and the new Riverwalk Shopping & Leisure Complex at the usual parking charges. 

Accessible parking bays are available at each of the three city centre multi storey car parks, with usual charge fees applicable.  

Please Note: Durham Cathedral Bus service will be suspended from 3pm once the full road closures come in to force – Contact DCC Sustainable Transport / Tel: 03000 268 667

On arrival

All participants (athletes / school reps) and family spectators are required to walk to Palace Green on foot as road closures are in place from 3pm. 

All schools and athletes need to head to Palace Green (Durham Castle & Cathedral) to register. Please pay attention to the timings in the programme (link to be inserted), briefly: 

  • 3pm Road closure
  • 4pm Registration on Palace Green
  • 5pm Runners to Market Place 
  • We cannot wait if anybody is late! 

On arrival children should meet their nominated teacher/responsible adults. 

The nominated teacher/responsible adult needs to register at the School Zone (Palace Green) reception desk once all of your team(s) that you are responsible for have arrived. 

Included in your pre event day race pack (delivered to the school) will be a copy of the competitors form that schools have completed. When everyone is present from your school the form needs to be handed in at the School Zone (Palace Green) registration desk – only when this process is completed will your school be registered. 

Individual children do not register at reception. By handing in the completed form we’ll know everyone is present.

The Main Event

At 5:00pm teams who are competing in the Road Race will be escorted to the start line.

Running Races commence at 5:15pm prompt. There will be a short warm up for each year group near to the start of the race, within the athletes holding area.  Once children have competed in the road race they will then enter the School Zone / Holding area. They can then if they wish gain access to their free refreshment pack and also some fun based activities and demonstrations.

Children who win their heat will be given a White T-shirt to wear, this is so that they can be identified by staff to ensure they are collected for their Year Group final.

Road Race Route (550m)

Catering (for schools and spectators)

Refreshment will be offered to competitors in the School Zone. Those children finishing the road race will be given a bottle of water, sandwich, oat flapjack and a piece of fruit.

For children who are taking part in the field events, we will leave it up to the teacher/responsible adult in charge to decide when to collect refreshments.

Through our partners Ramside Hall Hotel, Hardwick Hall Hotel, Taylor Shaw and Greggs Foundation the Dash! is able to provide our young athletes and volunteers with healthy refreshment as they burn off the energy Jumping, Throwing and Dashing!

Refreshments, including Hot and Cold drinks for the public will be available around the course in the pop-up and mobiler catering units.

Smooth Radio Parent Race

It’s not just the kids who are there to have fun! Our event presenter Steve Coleman from Smooth Radio’s Breakfast show will be looking for all those keen Mum’s and Dad’s for our parent race.

  • Track Distance: 200m
  • Start: Ownegate
  • Finish: University Library
  • Medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the first three home!
  • Footwear: only person with appropriate footwear will be able to run.
  • Warning: Run at your own risk


Mascot Race

It is hoped that Durham Safer City Bear will be bringing along his spikes for a Dash! around the ‘Green’ with his Fire Fighting Friend and Mascot mates.

Please cheer on your favourite!

Presentation ceremony

Every child that participates will presented* with a certificate and those that come in the top 3 will be awarded with a medal by our VIP/Sponsors.

We would encourage all spectators and participants to stay until the end of the ceremony where there will be the opportunity to take photographs and enjoy the atmosphere.

We respectfully request that during the presentation ceremony parents & spectators remain behind the coned section to watch the ceremony. This is for health & safety reasons to prevent overcrowding and give the children plenty of space.

*Schools are able to make the Dash! certificate presentation to their school representatives at a school assembly in the days following the event.


The event will finish at 8:30pm at this point it is the teacher’s/teacher assistant responsibility to ensure the children get home or to their parent(s).

If any child is required to leave before the end of the event this must be done in cooperation and coordination with the school and their delegated event representative.

A collection point for children will be identified at the School Zone, which includes a holding area for any parents who are just coming to collect children.

Additional Information

Parents will NOT be allowed in the athlete participation areas (School Zone) at any time unless they are a designated helper displaying accreditation pass / wristband with the school (accreditation passes will be issued to schools prior to event); we apologise in advance in applying a strict control, we wish to keep the event safe and the numbers manageable in the School Zone.

Parents are welcome and encouraged to spectate and will be able to see all events clearly  from outside of the barriers both along the road race route and within the School Zone.

We would encourage all pupils and parents to stay until the presentation ceremony.

We do realise however that some parents/relatives may need to leave with their child prior to the end. If this is the case they may collect their child via the designated School Zone Collection point as long as this has been cleared with the teacher/responsible adult.

Children are NOT allowed outside of the School Zone at any point during the event. This is to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all involved.

Once children competing in the road race leave the Start Line they will not be returning unless they are in a final.

The event will not be cancelled unless we experience severe weather conditions so we would advise depending on how the weather is looking that children bring an anorak/waterproof with them.

If it is raining heavily children waiting for the road race can wait inside a Gazebo, this will be decided by the Market Place Start Coordinator.

There will be a lost children point located within the School Zone / Holding Area.

If any parents do wish to pick their children up prior to the end of the event they must do so via the parent Collection Point at the School Zone / Holding Area.

This point will be stewarded and children will be noted as a leaver by their school representative.