Michelle Holt gets North Eastern Counties call-up

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SUNDERLAND Harrier Michelle Holt receives her third North Eastern Counties call-up in the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Birmingham on Saturday.

The 28-year-old primary school teacher is named in the nine-woman squad for Cofton Park.

She received her selection through finishing 11th in the North East Championship and 35th in the Northern Championship at Pontefract.

“I’m delighted to be picked again and I’m determined to be a team counter,’’ said the former team bronze medallist, who will face the cream of UK cross country running on the fast parkland course.

“My best position is 97th when I won a team bronze medal as the last counter. I’m determined to improve on that performance.’’

Leading the North East team is Durham City Harrier Rosie Smith, the North East champion, who finished 18th in 2010.

Three of the North East leading runners are missing in USA-based Kirsty Legg (Mandale), Sarah Wilkinson (Morpeth) and Justina Heslop (Clapham Chasers).

The full team is: Rosie Smith and Aiveen Fox (Durham), Jane Hodgson (Morpeth), Alex Snook and Claire Simpson (Jarrow and Hebburn), Kate Avery (Shildon), Danielle Hodgkinson (Wallsend), Bobi Phillips (New Marske) and Michelle Holt (Sunderland Harriers).

Two other Sunderland Harriers are included in the younger age group teams. Amy Coulson is named in the under-17 team and Allison Seadon is included in the under-20 squad.

The senior men’s team has been weakened by the unavailability of Patrick and Jack Martin, who have decided to compete in the classy Trafford 10k Road Race on Sunday instead. Also missing is Sunderland University student Phillip Hurst.

The Elswick Harriers middle distance star has decided the 12k course is too long for him.

The team is Ricky Stevenson, Andrew Wiles (New Marske), Matt Nicholson, Peter Newton, Johnny Taylor, Lewis Timmins, Ian Harding (Morpeth), Carl Smith (Leeds) and Dan Garbutt (Durham) who clocked a personal best of 36.38 when finishing fourth in the Dewsbury 10k on Sunday.

Sunderland also have biathlete Oliver James in the under-20 team and Joel Jones is down for the under-15s.

H Sunderland Strollers took in the Haweswater half marathon on Sunday after competing in the tough North East Harrier League at Alnwick on Saturday. The hardy over-45s were Paul Dunlop in 55th (129.04), Terry Topping 123rd (1.38.30) and David Groark 196th (1.44.54).

H Entries are still being accepted for the North East Veterans Cross Country Championships at Jarrow on Saturday March 17, at Bedewell Park, Hebburn.

Race 1: 11.30 Women and Men over 65, 6k approx. Race 2: 12.15 Men 35/40/45/50/55/60, 9k approx

Championship awards to the first three individuals in each five year age group. Team awards in 10 year age groups four to count M35-44 M45-54 and three to count M55-64 M65+ and Women 35+.

This is a championship open to all veterans who are first claim members of a UK affiliated club. Entry fee £4. Non-members £7. Make cheques payable to Veterans AA-NEE and send with entry form to Ron Stewart 5 Mast Lane, Cullercoats, North Shields, NE30 3DF.

Entries close March 10, 2012. No entries on the day.

Parking, registration and changing is at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow.