Local clubs gunning for national success

Liam Taylor, who has joined Sunderland Harriers.Liam Taylor, who has joined Sunderland Harriers.
Liam Taylor, who has joined Sunderland Harriers.
The English National Cross Country Championships takes place at Harewood House, Leeds, on Saturday,

And Sunderland Harriers, Houghton Harriers and Sunderland Strollers, will all be in attendance.

Ian Byett, secretary of the English Cross Country Association, said: “Entries for this year’s Saucony English National Cross Country Championships are again good, on the last count at 8,018, this is down on last year’s huge figure of 9,565 at Parliament Hill, but the second highest for a Northern venue since 2000 and just 72 down on the number that entered at Roundhay Park, Leeds in 2010.

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“The Senior Women’s entry is the third biggest ever and once again there are over 3,000 entries in the Senior Men’s event so the scene is set for another good championship.”

Entries for each age group are: Under-13 Boys 556, Under-13 Girls 532, Under-15 Boys 507, Under-15 Girls 510, Under-17 Men 419, Under-17 Women 320, Junior Men 354, Junior Women 249, Senior Men 3052 and Senior Women 1519.

Sunderland Strollers are the only city club with teams in both the men’s and women’s events.

Teams are: Houghton Harriers AC: Tom Atkinson, David Coulson, Lee Dover, Rory Graham, David Gribben, Innes Hodgson and Shaun McGrath.

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Sunderland Harriers AC: Paul Blakey, Aidan Crowe, Craig Gunn, David Lash, Steven McMahon, Allan McManus, Paul Merrison, Graeme Pullan, Steve Rankin, Paul Redman, Karl Robinson, Darren Stoker, Robert Walker and Dale Wilkinson.

Sunderland Strollers Men: Richard Barker, Jamie Collin, John Cook, Andrew Dobinson, Chris Dwyer, Ken Maynard, Shaun McFarlane, Richard Schorah and Callum Thom.

Sunderland Strollers Women: Jill Cadwgan, Suzanne Davey, Jenna Maynard, Julie Pescod, Jan Prater and Kelly Rosborough.

The penultimate event of the Sunderland Harriers’ Cross Country Grand Prix takes in the National Championships on Saturday.

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This is the biggest points scorer and leading positions can take a dramatic change on the leader board.

Those in contention are headed by by Paul Redman on 36 points, followed by Alice Smith 35, Darren Stoker 32, Steve Rankin 31, Jenna Wilkinson 27, Graeme Pullan 26, David Lash 24, Alan McManus 24, Dale Wilkinson 24, Maria Davis 19, Nicola Hufton 19, Jimmy Johnson 18, Amy Callaghan 18 and Shaun Bagley 18.

Liam Taylor, who has joined Sunderland Harriers after years of running as an unattached runner, has got his new athletics career off to a good start.

The Springwell athlete finished runner-up in the Run Newcastle Valentines 10km at the Town Moor on Sunday.

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Having his first race of the year, he finished in second place behind Blaydon Harrier Matthew Alderson (34.28), with Taylor finishing four seconds behind his rival.

The former Sunderland Strollers’ last victory came in October last year in the Run Northumberland Hexham 10km.

His fastest 10km was set in 2011 (31.50) and he holds the course record for the Sunderland parkrun with 15.26, also from 2011.

In the Valentines 10km, Sunderland Harriers also placed Paul Mclachlan in 32nd (39.23) and Jenna Wilkinson was fifth woman in 41.07, in the race won by East Lothian runner Jo Williams (36.50). Sunderland Stroller Andrew Forbes was 17th (37.33).

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In the 5km, Sunderland Harrier Paul O’Brian was third Over-40 in 11th (20.36).

At the first running of the East Durham Trust 5km at Seaham, Sunderland Harrier Steve Rankin was the clear winner from Wallsend Harrier Andy Graham (17.50). Houghton Harrier Tom Whelan was third (18.51). Stroller Chris Dwyer finished fourth (19.00) and Sunderland Harrier Kris Cantle was fifth (19.04).

There were 119 finishers.