For grassroots sports clubs, keeping players active and engaged during lockdown has proved very challenging.

Set up in 2015, Sunderland City Juniors FC is based in central Sunderland and has nine teams with players aged from under eight to 14. Lockdown was especially hard for the young players, who were missing both their team mates and the physical activity provided by football.

Taking positive action, the club decided to get involved with Sir Bobby’s Football Run and set themselves an ambitious fundraising target of £1,000 for our Foundation.

To complete Sir Bobby’s Football Run, participants are sponsored to run 10km, the same distance as a top-flight footballer does during a match, while wearing their favourite football shirt.

Sunderland City Juniors FC Coach, Philip McGuire, says: “Just giving the players the excuse to pull on their Sunderland City tops has been a good thing and getting them out and about running with a team mate or a parent, doubly so.

“We wanted to do something positive as a club, even though we couldn’t be together playing football.

“The younger players have done the 10km in sections and the older players all in one go. And now, thankfully, we’re back to group training and some of the teams will be able to run it together.

“We’ve already well-beaten our fundraising target and raised over £1,300, which is really something during these difficult times.

“Lots of people are affected by cancer and it’s a heart-breaking disease. We’re all so proud to be doing something to help with research through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

Sir Bobby’s son, Mark Robson, says: “We’re extremely thankful to Sunderland City Juniors FC for taking such an enthusiastic approach to Sir Bobby’s Football Run.

“The run’s been a great success in these difficult times and hopefully everyone who’s taken part has enjoyed themselves, as well as benefiting physically and mentally from the activity.

“I’d especially like to thank Philip McGuire for organising the girls and boys at Sunderland City Juniors to complete their various runs. The young runners should all be proud of themselves. In topping up their own fitness levels, they’ve also helped continue the great work of Dad’s cancer Foundation.”

The first Sir Bobby’s Football Run is attracting support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation from across the country.

In fact, there has been so much interest that the Football Run, originally intended to end in March, has gone into ‘extra time,’ with the charity extending the deadline to complete the run until the end of April.

Sir Bobby’s Football Run is free to enter and participants are asked to try and raise £50 in sponsorship. After completing the run, they will receive a certificate and Bobby Robson Foundation pin badge.

For more information and to sign up for Sir Bobby’s Football Run, please contact the Charity Office by calling 0191 213 7235 or emailing

To sponsor Sunderland City Juniors for doing Sir Bobby’s Football Run, please visit: