Big Sunderland entry in Good Friday Road Relays

Matthew Fearn
Matthew Fearn
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ELSWICK Harriers celebrate their 125th anniversary with a record entry in their Good Friday Road Relays at Newburn.

The Newcastle club had to close entries after nearly 100 teams entered the senior men’s and veterans’ four-stage road relay.

Safety concerns on the tight course around the Newburn Riverside Park forced Elswick to halt entries.

Sunderland Harriers have added to the numbers with four senior men’s teams, two veterans’ and four women’s teams entered.

Last year the senior men’s team finished third, behind Morpeth and Gateshead.

The team was Nathan Reed (10.45), Brian Rushworth (11.28). Michael Barker (11.20) and Craig Isherwood (11.15).

Team manager Albert James has selected Mark Hood, Nathan Reed, Michael Barker and Craig Isherwood for the senior men’s A team.

Included in one of the Sunderland senior teams will be Matthew Fearn who will also be in celebratory mood after gaining selection for the World Duathlon Junior Championships in Spain in June.

The 19-year-old Roker-based athlete gained qualification for the run-bike-run event by finishing second in his category at the Morpeth qualifying event. He finished 14th overall out of an entry of over 230 and was particularly pleased with his 16.35 5k race.

He said: “I was really pleased with that as my running has greatly improved since joining the Harriers.’’

In his last race for the club, he helped Sunderland escape relegation in the North East Harrier League by finishing third counter for the team in 17th at Wrekenton in March.

Fearn, who is also a member of the Hetton Coalfields triathlon club, will bid to qualify for the European triathlon championships in Geneva next year in the qualification event at Stockport in late summer. The costs in entry fees and equipment can be a major problem for tri-athletes, so Fearn is grateful for the support that Gentoo have given him.

Of the three disciplines that form the triathlon, swimming is his strongest event. He trains at the Washington pool where the Coldfields club are now based.

“I have two swimming sessions, three on the bike and four training runs each week. No doubt I will do more as I move up to the senior ranks, he added.

“With my athletics, I want to improve my 5k time and I have the Sunderland 5k pencilled in for July.’’

Sunderland Strollers women’s team will be strong and could improve on their fifth place of last year. Alyson Dixon clocked the fastest time last year (11.21) - two seconds faster than Olympic 1500m finalist Laura Weightman (Morpeth).

The Elswick venue is at Newburn Riverside Park, Stella House, (NHS) Goldcrest Way, Lemington, Newcastle. NE15 8NY.

Timetable: Race 1 - 10.30am. U/13 Boys & Girls race (approx. 1.62 miles), Race 2 - 10.50am. U/15 Boys & Girls race (approx. 1.62 miles), Race 3 - 11.10am Senior and Vets Women’s Relay Race (approx. 2.2 miles), Race 4 -12.00 - Senior and Veteran Men’s Relay race (approx. 2.2 miles).

H Gateshead Harriers and Athletics Club will be hosting their Open Medal Meeting on Sunday (1.30) and their Summer Minors Meeting at 9.30am.

H On Sunday, the North Tyneside 10k starts at 10am at The Parks Sports Centre, North Shields. The race goes along to North Shields Fish Quay, Tynemouth Promenade, Tynemouth Priory and Castle, then onto the coastal route, finishing at the car park at St Mary’s Lighthouse.