Sunderland Harriers eye late surge for title

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THE Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League moves to a new venue on Saturday.

The penultimate fixture will be staged for the first time by Alnwick Harriers at the Pastures on the banks of the river Aln.

The three Sunderland clubs will make the longer than usual trip to the top of Northumberland with plenty to run for.

Sunderland Harriers, Sunderland Strollers and Houghton Harriers are all involved in tight league challenges which culminate at the final fixture at Prudhoe on Saturday, March 24.

The Harriers have a remote chance of lifting the first division league title once again, the Strollers are fighting relegation, while Houghton are vying for promotion from division three.

After winning the last fixture at Wrekenton, the Harriers have launched a late challenge for the league title, although they may have left it late with just too much to do.

Team manager Paul Redman said: “We are in third place, seven points behind Gateshead and six behind Morpeth and maybe that is just too much to make up. But we have not given up the ghost. I expect we will have a good team out battling to improving our league position.’’

Also the club cross country grand prix is nearing conclusion and six athletes have emerged at the head of the leader board. There are five prizes on offer and the athletes will be keen to add to their points score at Alnwick. They are: Alan Hodgson 59pts, Fred Judson 55, Dean Phillips 50, David Savage 50, Paul Redman 40 and Craig Isherwood 34.

The Strollers’ placing at Wrekenton has been improved to fifth team after originally being given seventh after a mix-up. They moved off the bottom, three points ahead of Alnwick and two behind Elswick and Wallsend.

Houghton are second in the third division, just three points ahead of Blyth in third place.

In the women’s first division, the Strollers are fifth with 18 points, as Tynedale appear to have the title in their grasp with just six points scored.

Sunderland Harriers under-15 girls are romping away with their league title, thanks to Meryl Smithson, Alex Pearson, Daniel Elliott and Anna Robinson.

Directions to the course: Leave the A1 at signpost Alnwick. Go straight ahead at roundabout (mini) and into town. Pass Alnwick infirmary on right and turn right at the war memorial sign sign-posted Denwick. After 500m, turn right into Alnwick garden car park. Leave car at car park (£3.50 charge) and walk via Denwick Road to Pastures. Do not park on main road or verges. The meeting starts at 12.15pm with the under-11s race.The senior men off at 1.15pm.

H Steve Cram launches the first of six one-mile Treadmill Challenges in 10-4 Central Square at The Bridges tomorrow morning.

The idea behind the Challenge is to have a bit of fun while trying to spread the word about the Marathon of the North and Sunderland City 10k events in May.

The competition is open to everyone who fancies posting their time on the treadmill set up in Central Square on Friday and Saturday.

People can enter for the Marathon or 10K at the promotion stand, and everyone who does will be given a goody bag including a running t-shirt as a special offer.