Mark Hood suffers freak setback

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SUNDERLAND Harrier Mark Hood’s comeback following an Achilles’ tendon injury has been put on the back burner following a freak accident while out training.

The three times North East Cross Country champion was due to turn out in the Durham Cathedral Cross Country Relays on Sunday.

But a collision with a car door, which left him collapsed on the ground in a battered and bruised state, will delay his return to the sport after being out on the sidelines since the Great North Run.

“I had just started out on a training run and was running on the pavement passed this parked car when the driver opened the door in front of me,” said the 30-year-old.

“I ran straight into it at full speed and ended-up dazed and spread-eagled on the ground. I was there a minute or two before I managed to get myself back on my feet.

“The driver was very apologetic and was probably as stunned as me as to what had happened. I started jogging again and managed to get back home, as it was just a mile away.

“My knee took the brunt of the force and came up like a pudding. I applied ice packs and continued to do so at regular intervals and had ice baths and this certainly helped to control the swelling.

“Thankfully, I don’t think it has done any lasting damage, it is more like a soft tissue injury. I’m hoping to start running again this week. But I’m looking to February now and probably the Wrekenton Harrier League on the 11th as my first race back.’’

With Hood missing, Sunderland’s senior men’s team for the three-stage relay over legs of 3,000m, will be greatly weakened. The Harriers have three teams entered and Kevin Calvert and Oliver James look certainties for two of the spots in the A squad.

Others under consideration are Steve Potts, Jake Archer, Noel Hitchcock, Steven Gordon, Steven Graham, Craig Isherwood and Nathan Reed.

The veterans have six teams entered for their relay which also hosts the North East Veterans’ Championships. Brian Rushworth, Brian Bewick, Graham Lancaster, Tim Field, Paul Redman, Paul Merrison, Paul Collins, Tom Campion, George Harden, Alan Hodgson, Rob Rush and Ken Bell will all be vying for leading team places. The over-60s have a useful team with Jim Wightman, Billy Bittlestone, Len Christopher and Eddie Maddison to choose from.

Michelle Holt is expected to lead the women’s team. Athletes are reminded to turn up at least one hour before the start of their event for team declarations.

The race headquarters is at Durham University cricket pavilion at Green Lane. The first race off is the Veteran Men at 10.15am.The Senior Women and Veteran Women follow (10.55) with the Senior Men (11.35).

H Craig Isherwood, with a handicap of 17 minutes, finished third in the Sedgefield Harriers’ Winter Handicap Cross Country race.

The Sunderland Harrier clocked the second fastest time of 37.55. The fastest was Elvet Strider Will Horsley (21 min h’cap) who finished 13th in an actual time of 37.06.