SUNDERLAND Harriers’ return to the Northern 12-stage Road Relay Championship after an absence of two years at Manchester on Saturday.
Last year, at Blackpool, the event was cancelled after snow and ice covered the Stanley Park course. The previous year the Harriers’ did not enter a team for Liverpool.
This time, team manager Albert James has selected a squad that he hopes can qualify for the National Championships at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday April 5.
He said: “The club are currently in a rebuilding mode and we need to finish inside the first 25 teams to qualify. I think we can do that with the lads that have been selected.’’
The Sunderland team is: Mark Hood, Michael Wilson, Kevin Calvert, Craig Isherwood, Ian Dixon, Steve Potts, Michael Barker, Jason Waite, Matthew Fearn, Jake Archer, Graham Lancaster and Nathan Reed.
The club have won the title twice, with their last medal winning performance coming at Blackpool in 2003, where they were won bronze. Only one of that team is included in Saturday’s dozen names - Mark Hood.
The team that day was: Brian Rushworth (6) 24:51, Patrick Martin (6) 13:24, Gavin Massingham (3) 13:14, Mark Hood (1) 25:02, Norman Younger (1) 13:49, Mark Donkin (1) 13:41, Andrew Lilliendale (3) 26:41, Steve Coxon (3) 13:52, Norman Younger (3) 13:55, Timothy Field (3) 26:20, Peter Groark (3) 14:02, George Harden (3) 14:39.
The record entry of 76 teams will cover alternate legs of approximately 4.9 miles and 2.8 miles, around Heaton Park, starting at 11.30am.
Other North East teams entered are: Morpeth, Gateshead, Durham, Tyne Bridge, Jarrow and Hebburn and Hartlepool Burn Road.
H Sunderland Harrier Paul Collins, building-up for the London Marathon, finished second over-50 (2.10.28) in the East Hull 20m road race.
H The English Schools’ Cross Country Championships takes place at Castle Donnington on Saturday. Durham have selected full squads for the six events, with teams of 16, with eight to run.
The squads are:
Junior Boys – Ryan Arthur, Bradley Davies, Sean Mackie, Cameron Stainsby, Matthew Wakefield, Matthew McGuire, Michael Wade, Nick Hamilton, Kyle Davidson, Jamie Reed, James Hughes, Alexander Brown.
Intermediate Boys – Joe Armstrong, Kieran Walker, Alexander Brown, Mark Smith, James Wood, Nicholas Killeen, Ben Lambert, Lewis Terrell, Sean Haycock, Sam Harris, Ben Tinkler, Alexander Brown.
Senior Boys – Jack Catterall, Oliver Watson, Corey Fenwick, Alexander Brown, Isaac Dunn, Dean Newton, Jordan Bell, Thomas Goulding, Liam Emmett, Elliot Kelly, George Rudman.
Junior Girls – Stella Jones, Lucy-Erin Hunter, Hannah Raw, Katie Noble, Jessica Leslie, Jazmine Moss, Mya Crowder, Melissa Carter, Lea Brown, Kari Dougall, Rhianne Bell, Olivia Bateman.
Intermediate Girls – Olivia Bateman, Sophie Burnett, Katie Gunn, Mikayla Jordens, Eleanor Daglish, Danielle Elliott, Amelia Leslie, Rebecca Mott, Jess Hull, Jessica Fox, Alice Campbell, Emily Alderson.
Senior Girls – Lydia Turner, Sophie Montgomery, Amy Etherington, Abie Hearmon, Emily Alderson, Rachel Bourne, Alex Tweddle, Rosie Lindsay, Amy Fuller, Amy Coulson, Sarah Bell.