Phillips confident of Sunderland Harriers Over-35s success in British Masters’ Championships

Sunderland Harrier Steve McMahon, who has had an injury scare.
Sunderland Harrier Steve McMahon, who has had an injury scare.

Sunderland Harriers travel to Sutton Coldfield on Saturday with medal hopes in the British Masters’ Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park.

The Over-35s contest the 6x3 mile relay with a strong team that captain Dean Phillips believes is good enough to contest for a place in the frame.

He said: “We have a team that has won the North East Championship and the Elswick Harriers Road relay recently.

“It is solid throughout and if they all run up to form there are medal possibilities.”

The team had a scare when Steve McMahon pulled up while contesting the North East Championship 400m at Gateshead on Saturday.

McMahon said: “It was cramp rather than a pull. I had physio on it in the stadium immediately afterwards and they confirmed cramp.

“I decided against racing in the 800m so as not to cause any more problems and risk not making Saturday.

“I did a short run on Sunday and it was a little tight at first, but then eased. I’m sure all will be ok with plenty of stretching and hydration this week.”

Sunderland are one of four North East teams that travel to the Midlands and the others are Morpeth Harriers, who defend their title, North Shields Polytechnic and Tyne Bridge Harriers. A total of 50 teams are down to compete.

The Sunderland team in running order is: Michael Thompson, Michael Barker, Ian Ritchie, Kevin Jeffress, Ian Dixon and Steve McMahon.

The Morpeth team that won last year, with their positions during the relay, was: 1 Chris Smith (1) 15:05, 2 Michael Morris (2) 16:06, 3 Peter Newton (1) 14:31, 4 John Butters (1) 16:06, 5 Ian Hudspith (1). 14:40 6, Adrian Whitwam (1) 15:27.

Sunderland Harriers have also a strong Over-35 women’s team entered for there four-stage relay and they are: Jacqueline Etherington, Colleen Compson, Vicky Younger and Nikki Woodward.

In the Walllsend Harriers senior men’s relay, winners Tyne Bridge Harriers chopped over a minute off Sunderland Harriers’ 2016 course record with their mark of 29.05.

They also had the fastest runner on the course in James Dunce, who set new figures with his time of 9.30.

Sunderland Harrier Andy Powell recorded the fourth fastest time with his run of 9.50 – 13 seconds faster than last year. The team finished runners-up.

The Harriers women’s team who finished fifth had Alice Smith along with Gateshead Harrier Mary Ferrier, as the joint fifth fastest woman (11.48), behind North Shields athlete Charlotte Penfold, the quickest with 10.34.

Houghton Harriers’ youngsters Henry Johnson and Philippa Ellis put in superb performances in the two day North East Track and Field Championships at Gateshead Stadium.

Johnson scored an Under-15 middle distance double with his wins in the 1,500m (grade one standard) 4.15.91 – just 10 days after clocking his fastest time in the North East Grand Prix at Jarrow (4.13.3).

Then on Sunday, he came back for the 800m at Gateshead and won in a new championship best performance of 1.59.04.

Ellis also starred in her Under-15 events with victories in the 75 metres hurdles (11.96), the 100m in a grade one standard of 12.59 and the shot with a distance of 10.08m.

Then the triathlete turned to the javelin and won a bronze medal with her throw of 21.90m.

Other Houghton medallists were Will Bellamy, with second in the Under-15 3,000m (9.45.17) after finishing fourth in the 1,500m (4.26.51), Lydia James, runner-up in the Under-15 800m (2.23.37) and Thomas Bowdon, second Under-17 triple jump (12.09).

Under-15 Nicole Phillips finished fourth (10.51.06) in Chester-le-Street’s Emily Chong’s record breaking 3,000m win in 10.29.40.

Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett, who competes for Birtley, won the Under-20 800m (2.14.64).

Sunderland Harriers medallists were Declan Murray, who was second in the Under-20 pole vault (3.20m) and third in the 200m (24.51).

Alex Waites was runner-up in the women’s 200m (28.11) and Eve Quinn was third in the Under-17 3,000m (11.12.74).

There were 13 championship performances and they were: Day one: Under-20 women’s long jump – Emily Gargan 5.68m, Under-17 men’s Discus – Ruaridy Lang 45.65m, Under-15 boys’ 300m – Dan Joyce 37.57, Under-15 girls’ 3,000m – Emily Chong 10.29.40, Senior men’s discus – Alan Toward 59.00m.

Day two: Senior women’s triple jump – Dovile Dzindzaletaite 13.66m, Senior women’s 400m hurdles – Nisha Desai 59.49, Under-20 women’s triple jump – Emily Gargan 12.62m, Under-20 men’s hammer – Daniel Nixon 60.42m, Under-13 boys’ 800m – Joshua Blevins 2.16.20, Under-15 boys’ 800m – Henry Johnson 1.59.04, Under-15 girls’ 300m – Tia Anderson 41.00, Under-13 girls’ 1,500m – Erin Keeler-Clarke 5.02.41.