James targets senior improvement

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SUNDERLAND Harriers are hoping to be represented by two senior men’s teams in the Northern Athletics Six Stage Road Relay Championships at Warrington on Saturday.

Team manager Albert James has targeted the event as he continues the senior team-building process.

Along with team captain Dave Savage, they have mapped out a winter schedule that will see the club involved in a number of events.

After the road relays, a teams will be sent to Graves Park, Sheffield, for the four-stage Northern Cross Country Relay on Saturday, October 18. They will then give the English National Cross Country Relays at Mansfield a miss in favour of competing in the Heaton Harriers Memorial 10k at Newcastle’s Town Moor on Sunday, November 9.

Then they will be back at the Town Moor on Saturday, December 13 for the North Eastern Counties Cross Country Championships hosted by Tyne Bridge Harriers.

The first half of the winter season will be extremely busy with the North Eastern Harrier League fixtures added to the programme,

James has been enthused by the commitment of the athletes and he hopes that this could be the start of Sunderland Harriers return to better fortunes.

He said: “I have been really pleased with the way the lads have pulled together and this is just what we need as we continue the team-building process.”

“While we will not be in the mix on Saturday for medals, a good result will see us heading back in the right direction.’’

The city club have enjoyed winning success in the relays before, but you have to go back to 1998 since they won their last medals.

The A team for Saturday will be selected from Nathan Reed, Kevin Jeffress, Craig Isherwood, Ian Dixon, Steven Duffy Steven Potts and Michael Barker.

H Houghton Harriers had a highly successful night in the Open Relays meeting at Monkton.

The Wearsiders won the senior women’s 4x400m relay after a pulsating last leg by Rachel Scott.

The team were led off by hurdler Laura Fenwick, who held Morpeth at bay before the Northumberland club gained the lead going into the last leg. But Scott, shortly heading to Durham Universty, overhauled Morpeth in the last 100 metres to secure a great victory.

Houghton’s middle two runners were Jennifer Walsh and Rebecca Maughan.

Relay results: Under-13 Boys: 4x100 - 1 Morpeth 59.8, 2 Durham 60.5, 3 Houghton 61.6. Senior Women: 4x100 - 1 Morpeth 53.2, 2 Birtley 58.9, 3 Houghton 59.5. 4x200: 1 Morpeth 1:56.9; 2 Houghton 1:57. 4x400:1 Houghton 4:29.6. 2 Morpeth 4:29.9. Under-13 Girls: 4x100 - 1 Tynedale 57.6, 2 Houghton 58.5

H The Redcar Half marathon returns for its 32nd year on Sunday (10am).

The route is a flat, fast, traffic free course starting and finishing at Redcar Leisure Centre, Majuba Road, Redcar.

The event aims to provide an excellent race standard, with its organisation, route and amenities that will hopefully encourage runners to come back year after year. The route is flat, fast and traffic-free.

This year’s event will see two additional races to make the half marathon an even bigger and better event.

There will be a 5km race starting just after the main race (approx. 10.10) along the Redcar seafront and a Go Run for Fun Event of 1 mile for juniors.

The junior race will be starting at around 09.30. Half Marathon finishers will receive a goody bag and a T-shirt. All 5k finishers will receive a technical T-shirt.

H Leading international Alyson Dixon, of Sunderland Strollers AC, set a new course record in the South Shields Park Run on Saturday.

Dixon, who was the Commonwealth Games marathon representative, finished an impressive fourth overall in the mixed field of 132.

She carved 18 seconds off the old mark of 18:03 by Sarah McDonald, from Jarrow and Hebburn AC, with 17:45 for the 5km over The Leas.

Hazelle Webster-Costella, 18, from the Jarrow club, was second, with her team-mate Amelia Leslie, only 15, third.