SUNDERLAND Harriers will say farewell to two of their top endurance athletes at the Northern Six-Stage Road Relay Championship at Birchwood, Warrington on Saturday.
Brothers Patrick and Jack Martin will have their last race for the club before moving to Stockport Harriers.
The Manchester-based athletes have decided to switch clubs as they have been based in the North West for a number of years.
Although they maintained their Sunderland Harriers’ membership during this time, they believe now is the time to move on.
“It has been a big decision for both of us in deciding to leave Sunderland and join Stockport Harriers,” said Patrick.
“Stockport are getting a very good team together and we would like to be part of their squad. They believe they can go on and challenge for titles. We train with most of the lads so already feel part of their set-up.
“It has been hard in coming to this decision as we have enjoyed competing for Sunderland since we were youngsters. We have a lot of good memories and made many friends. We thank everyone at the club for their help and advice during our years with the Harriers.”
Patrick’s highlight with Sunderland came in 2009 when he won the North East senior men’s cross country championship at Darlington after winning the junior title in 2004.
This year he set a club 5k road race record of 14.18 in Armagh in Northern Ireland. Jack won the 2000 North East under-13 boys’ cross country championship and this year clocked 30.09 for 10k on the roads to go eighth on the Harriers’ all-time list.
Sunderland will be without Mark Hood at Birchwood as he is still recovering from his exertions in the Great North Run where he finished 23rd in 67.08. He is busy preparing his future plans and is hoping to do the Great South Run ten-miler at Portsmouth on October 30. But his main focus is the North East Cross Country Championships at East Cramlington on December 10 where he will bid to win his fourth senior men’s title.
H Sunderland Harrier David Savage is the North East leader in the Run Britain Reward Running table.
Reward Running miles are awarded for achieving 13 different measures of progress within running - ranging from training mileage, frequency of racing, joining a group or club, lowering your handicap score, raising £111 or more for charity etc.
The scores on the boards currently are as follows: North East: David Savage 1511, East: Karen Archbold 1461, East Midlands: Brendan Russell 1300, London: Colin Brett 1511, Northern Ireland: David Proctor 1611, North West: Michael S Brennand 1650, Scotland: Alan Goodall 1211, South East: Lisa Whittington 1711, South West: Neil Williams 1761 (overall leader), Wales: Tony Jackson 1000, West Midlands: Eric Robathan 1350, Yorkshire: Gareth Irvine 1511.
Prizes will be awarded at the end of the year.
H Sunderland Strollers, who beat the 1hr 30min mark in the Great North Run, were Liam Taylor 70.42, Paul Roper eighth over-50 in 85.33, Ken Girwood 86.16, and John McDermott 88.59. Sunderland Harrier Rob Sloan clocked 78.50 and Sebastion Tesce 85.31.
H Current overall standings in the Sunderland Park Run are: 1 Andrew Hughes (Unatt) 3461 pts, 2 Dean Phillips (Sun Har) 3426, 3 David Savage (Sun Har) 3143.
Women: 1 Michelle Mustard (Unatt) 3930 pts, 2 Jane Niven (Unatt) 2946, Emma Robson (Sun Stroll) 2807.
The following runners recorded the best age grade scores: Alan Rowell (60-64) was graded 76.77 per cent for his 21:27 clocking (17th overall). Peter Richardson (55-59) was graded 76.20 per cent for 20:52 (14th overall). Alan Hodgson (40-44) was graded 75.55 per cent for 18:04 (second overall).