EYEBROWS are raised as a huddle of fast-movers bomb along the beach at Roker, up and down the hills of Silksworth or trundle towards the Queen Alexandra Bridge.
But don’t be alarmed. It’s not a bunch of hoodlums.
Not that you’d think so anyway as a closer look shows a band of middle-aged runners sporting a mix of lycra, sweatshirts and wristbands.
No, the group will be nothing more harmful than the Sunderland Strollers running club.
While the Sunderland Harriers and Chester-le-Street AC take the limelight for the exploits of Wearside athletes, the Strollers believe they offer runners something different.
There’s no coaching, no juniors and no carefully structured training programme.
Essentially, it’s a group of 80 or so regulars who meet every Wednesday to run up to 10 miles before sharing a beer at Ashbrooke Sports Club.
But they are not just a glorified joggers club.
Come the weekend, the Strollers can hold their own on both the cross-country courses and the road races.
While the social and fitness benefits of regular running remain the Strollers’ primary objective, chairman Philip Tweddell believes the club deserves recognition for its competitive performances too.
Tweddell said: “A lot of people do run for fitness, but once they join us and realise their running improves, they start to enter the competitions.”
Read Chris Young’s full feature in tonight’s Echo.