Houghton Harriers Johnson and Bellamy on track to win Grand Prix prizes

Sunderland Harriers treasurer Ann Lillie (left) seen presenting the cheque to Karen Maclennan Senior Fund Raiser for Grace House.
Sunderland Harriers treasurer Ann Lillie (left) seen presenting the cheque to Karen Maclennan Senior Fund Raiser for Grace House.

Grand Prix events are very popular and offers athletes another competition within the race.

Two cross country events give local athletes an opportunity to be involved in this competition.

Houghton Harriers Will Bellamy and Henry Johnson.

Houghton Harriers Will Bellamy and Henry Johnson.

The UK Athletics Cross Challenge and the Start Fitness North East Harrier League are playing their part in making their events more attractive to the athlete.

And young Houghton Harriers Henry Johnson and Will Bellamy are making the most of the opportunity in the chase for Grand Prix prizes at the end of the season.

Johnson and Bellamy, two talented Under-15 athletes, further emphasised their growing reputation in the UK Athletics Cross Challenge at Liverpool on Saturday.

In a mud bath of a course, Johnson finished sixth and Bellamy was just five seconds behind his clubmate in seventh.

Both runners are in contention for the British Athletics Cross Challenge series. The competition finishes at the Inter Counties Championships at Loughborough on Saturday, March 10.

The pair also head the Under-15 Grand Prix table in the North Eastern Harrier League. Johnson has a three points lead over his clubmate.

Houghton have a number of runners involved in the competition. Matthew Phillips is second Under-17, Eva Hardie is in fourth position in the Under-17 female category, Lee Dover lies in fifth place in the senior men’s table and Nicole Phillips is sixth Under-15.

Sunderland Harrier Josh Davis is fifth Under-15 Boy, Sarah Knight is fifth Under-17 Woman and Vikki Cotton is seventh Over-35 Veteran.

The next Harrier League meeting is hosted by Sunderland Strollers at Herrington Country Park on Saturday, January 6.

Sunderland Harriers have raised money for charity through their popular open events during the year.

Nearly 1,000 athletes from clubs around the North East and beyond took part in the annual Penshaw Hill Race, Sunderland 5km and the Farringdon Cross Country.

Club secretary Michael Hill said: “The committee decided that we would make a donation to a local charity through our fund raising efforts connected to our events. A sum of £1,000 was raised and we are delighted to forward the money to Grace House.”

The first Elswick Harriers Mixed Road Relay at Gosforth Park on Saturday saw 76 teams finish. North Shields won (26.25) from Gosforth (27.19) and Morpeth (27.31).

Sunderland Strollers had four teams entered and saw their A team finish 11th (29.25) with Callum Thom (8.55), Hesina Khamorn (11.34) and Mark Anderson (8.56).

Houghton Harriers finished 24th (31.53) with Shaun McGrath (10.40), Gillian Tomlinson (11.18) and Matty Tomlinson (9.55). Morpeth’s Ross Floyd was the fastest on the course (8.06).

Sunderland Harrier Michael Heskett finished 10th (62.24) in the Run Northumberland Big 10.

Houghton Harrier Over-40 Lee Carruthers was 49th (71.46). The race winner was Gateshead Harrier Conrad Franks in 57.09. The women’s winner was Elswick Harrier Over-40 Judith Knutt (64.39).

Nominations for the Strollers Stroller for 2017 are: Wendy Chapman, John Cook, Phil Watson, Alyson Dixon, Ian Tate, Harry Harrison, Denis Hargrave, Hasina Khanom, Jill Connolly and Terry Topping.

The Rose Bowl Trophy will be presented to the winner at the Strollers Christmas Party on December 29.

The Strollers have received over 140 entries for their Doorstep Marathon on Sunday. The charity run will have representatives from both the Phoenix Unit and Cancer Research UK taking part.

The Strollers have been invited to participate in The Solitude Runs in Gerlingen (near Stuttgart) events on April 8.

This is the twin town of Seaham and Stroller Steve Hobday has participated many times. There is a 10K or half marathon on offer.

The 30th anniversary of the twinning of the two towns is celebrated next year and there are plans for a relay from Gerlingen to Seaham during July.

Blyth Running Club host the Blyth Sands Race on Sunday (11am). It is a challenging five mile handicap race along the sands between Blyth Harbour and Seaton Sluice Harbour.

Race registration is at the Blyth Lifeguard room (upstairs) in the Dave Stephens Centre, South Beach, Links Road, Blyth NE24 3PL. Late entries are available.