Sunderland Half Marathon and 10km races could see a local athlete make a name for themselves

Sunderland Harriers' Andy Powell.
Sunderland Harriers' Andy Powell.
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Tomorrow’s Events of the North Siglion Sunderland Half Marathon and 10km look as though they will be highly competitive races as no one runner stands out from the crowd.

With Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon withdrawing through injury, there is a chance for another local athlete to make their mark.

The 10km has attracted the better field with a host of leading club runners among the hordes.

Andy Powell is the leading Sunderland Harrier, although his training of late has been inconsistent due to a groin problem that may need surgery. If he can recapture his summer form he should be thereabouts at the finish.

Team mates Ian Dixon, Ian Ritchie and Steven Duffy should also be at the sharp end of the race as they tour the centre city before going on to Roker Park before heading back to Keel Square and the finish.

Unattached Sunderland runner Liam Taylor, third in the Sand Dancer multi-terrain race at the end of last month, also cannot be discounted for a place in the frame.

Morpeth’s Ross Floyd, on current form, could be the runner to beat, while Evenwood’s John Clifford will challenge Ian Dixon for the first veterans’ prize.

The women’s event could see Jarrow and Hebburn’s Alex Sneddon taking home the spoils as she has a far faster 10km time (35.56) than anyone else in the field.

Gateshead’s Kate Chapman’s best is 38.08 and Gosforth’s Katie Mellor (38.28) and they could be Sneddon’s challengers

The Sunderland charge will see Amy Callaghan, fourth last year, plus Lauren Flaxen, Coleen Compson and Linda Mudford.

Clubmate Jacqueline Etherington will be challenged by Sunderland Stroller Wendy Chapman, third last year, for the veterans’ award.

Gateshead’s Conrad Franks, second in 2016 and with a best of 70.28, looks the favourite on paper for the half marathon.

Houghton Harrier Lee Dover and Jarrow and Hebburn’s Jonny Evans are also leading contenders over the 13.1 mile distance.

Sunderland Harrier Alice Smith is targeting a personal best in the women’s half marathon. Her fastest stands at 85.31 and this time might be enough to win the race.

The Run Sunderland Festival takes place from Keel Square for the third year. The start times are 10km: 10am. Half Marathon: 10.25am

All participants will receive a T-shirt, medal and goody bag. There is also limited parking, baggage services and plenty of fun activities for those not taking part.