Sunderland runner in line for national athletics prize

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THE race is on for former Sunderland Harrier David Savage to scoop a top athletics prize.

The 43-year-old has been shortlisted for a national sports award after clinching the regional Leader of the Year title.

The Roker runner beat a host of rivals to win at the England Athletics Regional Awards, held at the Gateshead International Stadium.

He could now claim the prize at the 2012 Run England National Awards to be held in Birmingham on October 27.

Savage is a volunteer on the national Run England programme, which organises free running sessions across the country.

The coach also came second in the Group of the Year category with the SeafRUNt Smilers, despite leading it for only one year.

He said: “When I started, there was about one or two people in the group. Now we have around 25 runners coming along and I’ve had to add another meeting in the week.”

Savage leads the group every Monday and Thursday at the Seaburn Centre from 6.15pm until 7pm.

North area coordinator for Run England Crag Blain presented the Leader of the Year award.

He said: “Run England is an excellent network of running groups and we pride ourselves on being beginner-friendly. All our groups are led by qualified and insured people.”

Run England aims to encourage people to take up the sport and is England Athletics’ official recreational running programme.

It has about 30,000 registered members nationwide with each class lasting about an hour. Anyone interested in becoming a member can visit www.runengland.org to find the nearest session and membership offers.

Other winners on the night included Sarah Watson, Teesdale Pink Ladies, for Group of the Year and Diane Williams, Run North Tyneside, in the Project of the Year category.

They will also be considered for national awards.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho