Houghton Harrier Lynn Cooper named manager of the North Eastern Counties women’s cross country team

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Houghton Harrier Lynn Cooper has been appointed team manager of the North Eastern Counties women’s cross country team.

The position also covers that of a county selector for both the men’s and women’s squads.

She will be responsible for the teams selected for the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships and her first date will be at Birmingham on Saturday, March 12.

With five age groups to cover from under-13s to senior women, and a total of 41 female athletes to be selected for the trip, it is a busy job.

She will sit down with her fellow selectors for the first time the day after the final selection race in the Northern Championship at Blackburn on January 30.

Cooper, under her maiden name of Harding, represented Scotland in two Commonwealth Games marathons in New Zealand in 1990 and Canada in 1994 after clocking 2.31.45 in the London Marathon in 1989.

She is also a former winner of the Northern women’s cross country title, so she has all the credentials to fill the post.

She said: “I got a bit of a shock when I was asked if I was interested in the post. But it took me no time to accept the job. I was delighted to be asked.

“I’m not just interested in the women’s part of the sport, as I coach some promising young male runners at Houghton, so I feel I can offer a great deal here as well.”

Cooper, 54, still runs every day, but retired from competitive athletics last year after competing for her club in their Northern League matches during the summer.

Sunderland Harriers won the team race in the Big10 road race at Kirkley Hall, Ponteland on Sunday.

The counters were Noel Hitchcock fourth (59.31), Sean Smith 13th (64.33) and David White first 65-year-old in 69th (67.28).

The Norman Woodcock Memorial five mile Road Race on Saturday has been forced to move due to on-going civil works at Gosforth Park Race Course.

Elswick Harriers are offering a fast, flat alternative five mile course at 1pm. Parking and registration will be at Newburn Leisure Centre, Grange Road NE15 8ND.

For further details on the race, contact club secretary Frank Watson on: 079 404 82 180. Late entries are available.

Sitting on top of the Sunderland Strollers championship table is Tim Allsop, having scored 1394 points from his nine events.

Andy Duke and Ritchie Gerry are second and third respectively.

Top woman remains Victoria Booth, followed by Gillian Ritchie and Lyne Valentine.

In Division Five, Paul Riddell still leads from Michelle Donnelly, while in Division Four, Hasina Khanom has now moved ahead of Anna Machin into top spot.

Dale Wilkinson heads Clare Baharie in Division Three, while Michael Dixon and Vicki Booth continue to fight it out in Division Two.

The North Eastern Harrier League has seen a massive increase in numbers for all events.

Nearly 1,500 athletes are involved in each of the six league fixtures.

The under-11s, who are not part of the league, with the event being used as an introduction to the sport, has also seen a big increase in numbers.

The race for both sexes has had to be split into two with the boys and girls now having their own race.

The picture shows the boy’s race and the intensity of competition at Aykley Heads.