New course for Good Friday’s race

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ELSWICK Harriers have been forced to change the course of their popular Good Friday road race fixture after an electricity pylon went up in flames near to the start.

The area has been taped off and club secretary Frank Watson was concerned that the popular event could be in doubt until an inspection came up with a new route at the Newburn Riverside Park at Lemington.

“I visited the venue with race referee Bill McGuirk and we managed to find a traffic-free circuit on a closed road nearby,’’ said Watson.

“It has a gate across it and I had to get in touch with someone in Liverpool to get the key for the gate after they agreed to let us use the road. I had plenty of forms to sign before we got the go-ahead.’’

“It is narrow in places with an out-and-back lap and runners will have to keep to the left. The distances of the events are approximately the same as in previous years.’’

The young athlete races will be over about 1.8 miles and the under-17 and senior races will cover about 2.28-miles.

Sunderland Harriers have two veteran and three senior men’s teams entered. They will have something to prove as for the first time in nearly 40 years they did not enter a team in the North of England 12-Stage Road Relay Championship at Liverpool last Saturday. Ironically, it was the venue that the Harriers started their 12-stage campaign which eventually resulted in wins in 1987 and 88.

The senior men’s A team for the Elswick four-stage relay will be selected from Kevin Calvert, Mark Hood, Nathan Reed, Oliver James and Craig Isherwood.

The veterans have Paul Besford, Brian Rushworth, Brian Bewick, Ken Bell, Graham Lancaster, Jon Dobson, Paul Collins and Paul Redman to call upon.

The race headquarters are at the National Health Services building. The programme opens with the under-13 boys’ and girls’ event at 11am with the senior men’s relay off at 11.40 and the women’s relay is three minutes later.

H Thirteen Sunderland Harriers have been rewarded for their regular appearances during the winter in the Start Fitness North East Harrier League.

They all qualified for a commemorative polo shirt after competing in five of the six Harrier League fixtures and finishing in the North East Cross Country Championships at Cramlington. Eight of them were teenagers and they ought to be congratulated for their efforts during the gruelling cross country races. The under-15 girls’ team were rewarded by winning their league title.

The senior men were Alan Hodgson, Fred Judson, Dean Phillips, Paul Redman, David Savage, under-15 boy James McAnaney, under-13s Luke Phillips, Sam Quinn, Jack Smith, under-15 girls’ Danielle Elliott, Alex Pearson, Anna Robinson and Merial Smithson.

H The North Tyneside 10k will be held from North Shields on Sunday (10am). The race starts at the Parks Sports Centre in North Shields and takes in North Shields Fish Quay, Tynemouth Priory and Castle and a long stretch of coastline before finishing at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay at about 10.30am.

H Athletes are reminded that entries for the North East track and field championship at Gateshead on Saturday and Sunday, May 12/13, close on Saturday, April 21.