SUNDERLAND Harriers defend their North East Road Relay Championship at Bedewell Park, Hebburn tonight.
They not only won the over-45 title last year, they also outshone all the younger age categories to win the overall three-stage race.
Captain Rob Rush plans to make one change to the team that came away with the winning trophy last year.
Tim Field, back to form following his sixth place in the Penshaw Hill race last week, will come in for Paul Collins and will join over-50s Brian Rushworth and Paul Merrison in the three-stage team.
Last Year, Collins (9.40) finished second behind Tyne Bridge Harriers on the opening leg. Rushworth stormed round his two laps of the park to shoot into the lead with the fastest time of the day (9.01).
Anchorman Merrison was left out well in front of his rivals and he went on to clock 9.37 to beat Tyne Bridge Harriers by a street.
Collins will return to the sport in the B team. He broke his ankle while slipping in training during the winter in icy conditions.
In contention for the other two spots are Ian Dixon, George Harden, Jon Dobson and John Hunt.
The Harriers also have an over-55 team entered, headed by their top over-60 Peter Richardson.
The race H.Q. is at Jarrow & Hebburn AC club house, Monkton Stadium, Jarrow. Both races are for teams of three, each runner completing two laps of approximately 1.5k on tarmac paths. Parking is at Monkton Stadium.
Timetable: 6.45 Women 35 and over, Men over 65. 7.30 Men 35 - 64.
H Peter Richardson just missed out on the first over-60 prize in the Blaydon Race by three seconds on Sunday. The age category winner was Gary Pemberton of North East Veterans’ in 36.38.
Clubmate Ingrid Hope, returning to the sport after long term injury problems, was second over-50 in the women’s race, recording 38.11.
H The Lambton Run due to be staged on June 23, has now been rearranged for a week later, on June 30. There is a 10k multi terrain race at 10am and a 3k family fun run (10.05).
Entry fees are UKA athletes: £12.00. Unaffiliated: £14.00. 3k entry fee: UKA: £6.00. Unaffiliated: £8.00
You may book and make your payment by calling 0191 551 5191 or post your completed form and cheque made out to Foundation of Light to Foundation of Light, Sunderland Stadium of Light, Sunderland SR5 1SU.
Tel: 0191 551 5191 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
H Houghton Harriers finished second in their Northern Athletics League third division match behind joint team Middlesbrough and Cleveland and Burn Road Harriers at Middlesbrough.
They are lying second in the league behind their rivals. Durham City finished fifth and last with Chloe Price scoring a 400m (61.2) and 800m (2.15) double.
H Two of Sunderland Harriers’ brightest young middle distance prospects, Oliver James and Michael Wilson compete in the UK Junior (under-20) Championships at Bedford at the weekend.
James, the North East champion, competes in the 1500m. He clocked a PB (3.53.49) at Stretford last week to come in at number ten on Sunderland Harriers all-time fastest list.
Wilson, the North East junior and county schools’ 800m champion, competes over two laps at Bedford.
H The Inter County Schools’ meeting takes place at Middlesbrough on Saturday. The Newton Aycliffe 10k is on Sunday (10.00am).
Now in its 16th year, this is a fast, flat three-lap course on the outskirts of Newton Aycliffe. Course records are Martin Scaife (30.38) 2001 and Aiveen Fox (35.47) 2005.