SUNDERLAND Strollers’ Pier-to-Pier race on Sunday is on for a record turnout.
When online applications closed, nearly 1,000 entries had been received for the race from South Shields to Roker.
With a limit of 1200, late entries will be taken on the day at a price of £25.
Among the first batch of entries is Simon O’Donnell, the winner in 2000 and 2003.
He is now running unattached after periods with Jarrow and Hebburn AC, Chester-le-Street and Morpeth.
Craig Isherwood, runner-up last year to Jarrow’s Andy Burn, Sunderland Harriers’ rejuvenated 49-year-old Brian Bewick, sixth in 2010 and first veteran, and Evenwood’s John Clifford, a surprising fourth in last week’s City of Sunderland 10k, are the leading athletes so far.
The top woman entered is veteran Elaine Leslie, of Jarrow. There is a big entry of 96 Strollers entered.
Estate agent Paul Airey has agreed to sponsor the trophies which will be awarded annually.
The winners will be the club with the lowest cummulative time of their first three finishers in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
A team of Strollers will be busy from 7am at Roker, filling the goody bags for the competitors.
The race starts at 10am on the beach at South Shields Pier and follows the coastal footpaths to finish about seven miles later at the Pier on Roker beach in Sunderland.
Athletes must keep off the highway and they are free to choose their own route.
H Sunderland Harriers have a women’s team entered for the first time in the National Masters’ Road Relay Championships at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.
Colleen Compson, Judith Thirlwell, Vikki Cotton and Nicola Woodward, are the athletes that will make history for the club.
The men are regular visitors to Sutton Park and have been medal winners on four occasions.
The team selected is: Steve McMahon, Ian Dixon, Kevin Jeffress, Matthew Knowles, Noel Hitchcock and Michael Thompson.
H Sunderland Stroller Lesley Watson – 10k (over-50) 47.23 and Sunderland Harrier Susan Clughen – half marathon (over-60) 1.54.10, have been declared winners of their categories in the City Of Sunderland Festival of Running.
H In the British Milers’ Club Regional races at Durham, athletes faced blustery conditions in their search for fast times in their paced races.
Sunderland Harrier senior Sparrow Morley finished third in his event in a time just outside his best (1.57.3), as was Mark Smith, 17, who clocked 2.02.2 for third in his race.
Washington’s Kevin Calvert was second in his event (1.59.3).
Houghton Harriers had 14-year-old Jamie Reed with a big personal best (2.06.9) for winning and Henry Johnson, 13, also ran his fastest two laps with his 2.22.5 performance.
H Tonight’s North Eastern Grand Prix highlight will be the 800m for the Jimmy Hedley Cup.
There are also graded races for the 100m, 400m and 3000m at Monkton Stadium (7pm).
On Sunday, The Raby Castle 10k takes place and Sunderland Harriers’ leading woman, Michelle Avery, gradually getting back to form after the recent birth of her son, is among the entries.
The first of the North East Masters Athletics Leagues takes place at Monkton next Monday.