Crunch time coming for Sunderland athletes

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WITH only two North Eastern Grand Prix meetings to go, places for a spot on the prize list are hotting-up, as tonight sees the penultimate fixture at Monkton, writes Kevin Carr.

With the first six gaining awards in each of the ten age group categories, both Sunderland Harriers and Houghton Harriers have an athlete at the top of the leader-board.

Sprinter Sam McKenzie heads the senior women’s table with 25 points. The Sunderland Harrier heads Lauren Peters (Jarrow and Hebburn) 23 and Rosa Fojut (NSP) 20.

Houghton Harrier pentathlete Ben Mitchell (39) has moved two points ahead of rival Oliver Whellans (Chester-le-Street) in the under-17s. Houghton’s Laura Fenwick is fifth junior woman.

Other Sunderland Harriers’ involved in the chase for a prize are sprinter Hollie Lancaster in fifth in the under-17s, middle distance runner Laura Hand with sixth in the under-15s and all-rounder Jordan Beavers with fifth in the under-13s. Prizes will be presented at Gateshead Stadium on Monday 16th September.

The Sunderland Harriers’ track and field grand prix is also drawing to a conclusion. Owen Jackson leads the under-11/under-13 competition on 40 points, with Nathan Bland and Harry Tiltman joint second on 24. In the under- 15/under-17 competition Laura Hand leads on 40 points, with Logan Powell second on 34 and Josh Wilson and Hollie Lancaster both on 28. The under- 20/seniors has Graham Lee leading on 48 with Samantha McKenzie second on 40 and Nathan Reed third with 38.

H Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon’s time of 15.52 in the Sunderland 5k road race at Silksworth Sports Complex last week, has been confirmed as the fastest woman’s time in the UK this year. Morpeth Harrier Lewis Timmins, the winner of the race in a PB of 14.40, is 17th on the men’s list. Sunderland Harrier Mark Hood, runner-up in 14.49, is number 26. Gateshead Harrier Calum Johnson, third with 14.58, is seventh under-20. Hood set a new PB for the Riverside parkrun at Chester-le-Street on Saturday, recording 15.01.

Veteran Sunderland Harrier Dean Phillips was delighted to clock a massive PB in the Sunderland 5k only to find out that his time was given as 19.54 on the computer results. This was over half minute slower than he had recorded on his own watch. But a check by the computer results team found that a wrong digit had been inputted and now to Phillips delight his correct time has been given as 19.31.

Sunderland Harriers next promotion will be their Farringdon Cross Country Relays on Saturday, September 7.

Sunderland Harrier George Harden won double gold in the over-50s 800m 2.21.7 and 1500m (4.54.8) in the North East Veterans’ track and field championships at Monkton. Sandra Jackson scored a sprint double in the over 40 100m (14.4) and 200m (29.7). Houghton Harrier Steve Todner won the over-55 200m (27.7) and 400m (61.1).