Harriers eye team title defence

ON THE FRONT FOOT: Sunderland Harriers' under-13s Nathan Bland (627) and Robert Dunlop (624) in training for the Junior Miles of the North races in Mowbray Park.

ON THE FRONT FOOT: Sunderland Harriers' under-13s Nathan Bland (627) and Robert Dunlop (624) in training for the Junior Miles of the North races in Mowbray Park.

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SUNDERLAND Harriers will defend their team title at the 321 Club Challenge at the Marathon of the North on Sunday, April 28, at the Stadium of Light.

The 321 Challenge requires clubs to enter a minimum of three seniors in the 10k, two seniors in the half marathon and one in the marathon. A female must be included in any of the three distances.

The fastest accumulative time wins. There is prize money for the first, second and third clubs as well as individual prizes for the top finishers.

The Wearsiders are undefeated since the inaugural event two years ago. This time they will be relying on Paul Redman in the marathon, Mark Hood and Craig Isherwood in the half marathon and the 10k will include Michael Barker, Nathan Reed, Ian Dixon and Michelle Avery.

The weekend starts with the Junior Miles of the North in Mowbray Park from 4pm. Entries are open for the age group (9-15 years-old) mile races around the picturesque park.

Entries are £6 and all entries will receive a goody bag, finishers’ medal and t-shirt, as well as free entry to the pasta party.

The party in Mowbray Park includes a free Asda pasta meal, as well as some superb local musical entertainment and an informative runner Question and Answer session hosted by Steve Cram. There is a small fee (£3) for non- competitors for entry into the pasta party.

Starting and finishing at the Stadium of Light, the marathon, half marathon and 10k will all follow courses through the streets of Sunderland.

Around 6,000 people are expected to participate on the day, including strong contingents of charity fundraisers and club runners.

Entries are available for a fourth event, the BQ Team Relay at Marathon of the North. Designed for those who want to be part of the marathon, but who don’t want to run the whole 26 miles themselves. The relay will follow the same course and will be run in six legs of distances ranging from 3k to 10k.

Organiser Steve Cram said: “We’re really keen to encourage both club and fun runners to the events, and we’re doing all that we can to make them appealing to a wide audience.

“The new BQ Team Relay at Marathon of the North is a great example of that and something that we hope will attract teams from businesses and charities alike.

“With the shorter legs of the relay being just 3k and 5k long, there’s an achievable target for even the least experienced runners.’’

Entry details are available on www.marathonofthenorth.co.uk.

H Paul Redman was a runaway winner of the Sunderland Harriers cross country grand prix.

With the top five finishers receiving prizes, Dean Phillips was second, Len Christopher third, Nathan Reed fourth and Steve Graham fifth.

H The Blyth Valley 10k is on Sunday (10am) from Quay Road, Quayside, Blyth, NE24 3AR. The Hartlepool Marina 5 mile road race starts at 10.30am, starting and finishing at the Hartlepool Maritime Experience. Late entries are available for both events.