Road Race doubles its importance

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THE Sunderland 5k Road Race will stage the Northern as well as the North East Championships this year.

The Sunderland Harriers promotion will take place at Silksworth Sports Complex on Wednesday evening, July 15.

Club secretary Michael Hill said: “The club were delighted to be asked to stage the Northern Championship for the first time.

“We have staged the North East championship many times and this extra championship will give the race an even bigger profile.”

The Harriers have also decided to split the race in two, with race one for women and over-50 veteran men at 7pm. Race two will be off at 7.30pm approx and this caters for senior men and veteran men over-40.

“Last year we were overwhelmed with entries and we had to close the on-line entries early as we had reached our limit.

“It was a record field of near 400 runners and with it being a tight course in places, it was decided to split the race in two.”

The Silksworth course is recognized as one of the fastest courses in the UK and last year 120 runners set a personal best.

The women will be pleased that they have their own championship after always being hidden among the mass of male runners.

A Northern official said: “This gives the women their own moment of glory and this can only enhance the Northern Championship.”

Entries are being taken at

H The North East have a near full strength senior men’s team travelling to the Inter County Cross Country Championships at Birmingham on Saturday.

The team will be going for their fifth victory in six years and the squad selected is good enough to bring back the trophy once again to the region.

Former Sunderland Harrier Patrick Martin (Stockport) has withdrawn and he has been replaced by Dan Jenkin of Durham City Harriers.

North East cross country champion Jonathan Taylor leads the team which includes six Morpeth Harriers.

The team is: Jonathan Taylor, Nick Swinburn, Lewis Timmins, Richard Morrell, Carl Avery, Nathan Shrub (all Morpeth), Dan Garbutt, Dan Jenkin (Durham) and Phil Wylie (Chelmsford).

The women’s team will be without North East champion Rosie Smith of Durham City Harriers, who has pulled out with a hip injury. Also out is Ashley Gibson of Morpeth.

Houghton Harriers will have much to cheer at Cofton Park with three of their athletes included in the younger age group squads.

Eva Hardie is in the under-13 girls’ team, Henry Johnson is included in the under-13 boys’ squad and Alex Brown competes for the under-17 men.

Sunderland Harrier Sean Mackie has received a late North East call-up for the under-17s.

Birtley have Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett, the North East champion, in the under-17s race and international Lydia Turner will lead the under-20s.

H Two Sunderland Harriers made the first 20 in the Haweswater half marathon.

Sean Smith was first Wearside finisher in 16th (82.58) and Steve Gordon was 20th (83.55). Sunderland postman Jimmy Johnson, making his Harriers debut, finished 194th ((143.22).

Sunderland Strollers placed Adnan Khan in 49th (88.21), Michael Dixon 93rd (94.05), Peter Scammel 181st (1.42.17) and Rachel Ball 229th (1.46.29).