Running boom shows no sign of slowing pace in North East

The start of the Hartlepool Marina race
The start of the Hartlepool Marina race
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The race full signs have been popping up around a host of North East road races as the running boom continues at a remarkable pace.

Just last weekend the Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers’ Marina 5 mile event and the Blyth Valley 10k reached their maximum number of participants’ weeks before the entry deadline.

Good Friday and Easter Sunday will see another two house full events taking place in the area with the Elswick Harriers Road Relays on Friday and the North Tyneside 10k on Sunday, breaking all entry records well before race date.

The Elswick senior men’s and veterans relays sees over 100 teams taking part at Newburn, while the North Tyneside 10k has reached their 2200 race limit for the event from North Shields to Whitley Bay.

And the popular Sunderland Strollers Pier-to-Pier race from South Shields to Roker is approaching its limit of 1200 runners for Sunday, May 14.

Sunderland Harriers, Sunderland Strollers and Houghton Harriers will all be among the numbers at the Elswick event on Good Friday. The Harriers’ have 10 teams entered with three senior men’s, three women’s teams and four veteran men’s teams down to compete.

Among the Harriers’ senior men’s entries are Steve McMahon, Kevin Calvert, Jack Tallantire, Michael Barker and Jake Jenson. Barker is in good form after clocking a personal best for 10k in the Blyth 10k on Sunday (33.53).

The veteran Over-40 men have Steve Potts, Ian Dixon, Simon O’Donnell and Michael Thompson among their entries. They should be chasing for a place in the frame and be hoping for better luck than last year when they went off course on the final leg.

Thompson, a leading Over-45 in the North East, took four seconds off club-mate’s Tim Field’s Over-45 course record in the Sunderland parkrun on Saturday. The Seaham athlete recorded 16.38 to slice four seconds off the old mark. He finished two seconds behind winner Jake Ridding, but Thompson’s age graded performance was the best in the field with 87.27%.

O’Donnell, a former Morpeth runner, is expected to make his Sunderland debut at Newburn.

The registration and race HQ is situated at Hedley’s Café, Newburn NE15 8ND. The race course location is 2.2 miles away at Newburn Riverside Business Park, Lemington NE15 8NY.

Programme: Race 1: 9.30am – Under-11 Boys’ and Girls’ Race; Race 2: 9.40 – Under-13 Boys’ and Girls’; Race 3: 9.50 – Under-15 Boys’ and Girls’; Race 4: 10.00 – Senior & Veteran Women’s Three Stage Relay; Race 5: 11.00 – Senior and Veteran Men’s Four Stage Relay.

Presentations take place at Hedley’s café at 10.40am for all the junior races and 1.00pm for the senior and veterans relays, male and female. Seniors must park at Newburn Leisure Centre. Parents /Guardians taking Junior’s only: Parking is available at the Business Park (race location). Please follow the marshal’s directions for parking on the estate NE15 8NY.

l Sunderland Harriers’ Hong Kong-based member Gavin Massingham finished second in the Hong Kong AAA 5000m race series, recording 15.32.76.

l Jacqueline Etherington, who has recently joined Sunderland Harriers from Tyne Bridge Harriers, made her club debut in the South Shields Monthly Road Mile. She finished first woman in 11th overall in 5.30. Sunderland Stroller Gavin Sword, an Over-55, finished 13th (5.42). The race winner was Tyne Bridge Harrier Kurt Heron in 4.32.

l Sunderland Stroller Richard Wilson is planning to run five marathons in five days including the London Marathon on April 23. For his fifth marathon the club will be at Sedgefield for the Neptune Relays. Three club volunteers have decided to run with Wilson to the venue. They will start at 1.15pm from Ashbrooke. After a detour via the Bungalow Cafe at Roker, they will head to Sedgefield where they will compete as a team in the relay, completing the last leg of the 1.7 miles event, to achieve the 26.2 miles marathon distance.