AS the track season draws to a close, athletes have their first opportunity of a race over the country at Durham tonight.
Durham City Harriers have revived their summer cross-country relays on a new course at the University’s Racecourse on Green Lane.
And, so far, more than 150 teams have entered the senior and veterans’ three-stage relay race over two laps of 1500m on a fast grassland course.
Sunderland Harriers, who have enjoyed success over the years at Durham, will again be well represented in the male and female senior and veteran events.
George Harden will be the acting team manager and he asks runners to be available for team selection by 6.30pm.
The event gets underway at 6.45 with the young athletes relay. The senior and veterans’ relay starts at 7.10.
Changing and prize presentation will take place in the cricket pavilion. Late entries will be available.
While athletes will no doubt enjoy the super fast course at Durham tonight, there is far tougher cross-country events just around the corner.
The first Start Fitness Harrier League race takes place next month at a new course and venue.
Officials have been searching for a suitable site following the unavailability of Temple Park at South Shields.
Morpeth Harriers’ international fell runner, Nick Swinburn, came to the league’s rescue. He suggested that his father’s farm at Tanfield, near Stanley, might make a suitable venue to host the Sherman Cup and Davison Shield events.
League officials visited the course on Sunday, along with hosts Gateshead Harriers, and they gave the venue the thumbs up.
There is plenty of car parking space available, although power for computers and portable toilets will have to be brought in. The farm is situated directly opposite Tanfield Railway.
The Sherman Cup and Davison Shield tests the overall strength of clubs throughout the eight age groups in both the male and female sections. The league proper gets going at Blaydon on October 26.
H The final meeting of the 2013 North East Grand Prix series at Monkton ended with another massive turnout.
The number of competitors has increased over the past five years by 75 per cent, with an increase of almost a quarter in the last year alone.
Sunderland Harrier Sam McKenzie lost out on the senior women’s title by just one point. She finished second in the 200m (29.8) to the grand prix winner Rosa Fujut (North Shields), who won in 29.4.
Fujut had closed the gap on McKenzie by also finishing second in the 100m hurdles.
Houghton Harrier all-rounder Ben Mitchell was a clear winner of the under-17 grand prix, adding to his points total with first place in the shot (11.34) and third in the javelin (31.37).
Sunderland Harriers sprinter Logan Powell finished joint sixth.
Houghton’s Laura Fenwick was runner-up in the junior women’s event and she ended her campaign with first place in the 100m hurdles (16.7) and high jump (1.40).
Sunderland’s Jordan Beavers was third under-13 after placing second in the long jump (3.85) and first in the javelin (21.00).
H Gateshead Harriers host the Tartan Games at the stadium on Sunday (10.15).