Clubs’ grand prix appeal

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NORTH East clubs, in a bid to increase competition and participation for their members, are increasingly organising grand prix for distance runners within their ranks.

The busy North East fixture list is generally used to formulate the competition, where points are earned and prizes are awarded to the winners at the season’s end.

Sunderland Strollers have been organising their grand prix and championship races since 1997. The championship consists of 12 races, ranging from one mile to the marathon, with the best of eight to count. Trophies are awarded to the winners of the various divisions and age groups.

Tim Allsop and Rachel Ball are tipped for the titles which will be settled at the last race of the series at the Loftus Poultry Run in December. Also in contention are Steve McMahon, Tony Allen and Adnon Khan.

Sunderland Harriers are relatively newcomers to the grand prix circuit having launched their own cross country competition last season. It opened at their own cross country relays at Farringdon in September and ends in the final Harrier League of the season at Prudhoe in March.

Points are gained through race appearances and extra points are added through being a team counter. The higher status of the competition, the more points you earn, with the National and Northern Cross-Country Championships being the biggest points earners. There are five prizes on offer with a value £175, £150, £125, £100 and £75. The early season leaders includes new member Aimee Adey, the only female athlete among the pace setters. They are: Paul Redman 13pts, Len Christopher 11, Dean Phillips 11, Aimee Adey 10, Michael Hill 8, Nathan Reed 8, Paul Merrison 8, David Savage 8, Alan Hodgson 8 and Steve Graham 7.

H Former Sunderland Harrier Patrick Martin (Stockport) finished tenth (48.30) in the Great South Run ten-mile road race at Portsmouth. Durham City Harrier Michael Crawley won the Jedburgh 10k in 31.11. Sunderland Harrier Nathan Reed was third in the Durham University cross country race.

Steven Duffy, competing for Northern Frontrunners, finished 12th in the Yorkshire Coast Scarborough 10k (36.16). Former Sunderland Harriers’ under-13 North East Cross Country champion Matthew Knowles, now an over-35 and competing for Saltwell was 50th (39.24).

Sunderland Strollers Vicki Booth (3.39.22) and Phil Watson (3.41.28) competed in the Dublin Marathon on Monday.

H Sunderland Harriers travel to Mansfield on Saturday for the National Cross-Country Relay championships. A record-breaking entry has been received with over 1150 teams entered over the ten race programme.