The English National Cross Country Championships at Nottingham on Saturday is the pinnacle of the winter races for most club runners.
The two senior races for men and women have attracted 2,882 and 1,243 entries respectively.
Sunderland Harriers are among the entries and use the event as part of the club cross country grand prix.
It is the biggest points scorer from all the events included in the grand prix, and the winners may be decided before the final race a week on Saturday.
This will be at the North Eastern Harrier League at Alnwick which concludes the Harrier League season.
It was at the last Harrier League meeting at Thornley Hall Farm, on a swamp of a course on the February 11, which saw a dramatic change to the grand prix leader board.
Long time grand prix leader Rachael Moore came stuck in the clinging mud and lost her shoe. With her shoes having being taped onto her feet, she found it too difficult to put it back on.
She had no option but to drop out of the race and lose the points that would have seen her keep her position at the top of table.
Now she has dropped down to fourth, three points behind the new leader Ian Dixon.
With five prizes to be awarded, there are nine athletes still in with a chance of picking up an award.
They are with their points score: Ian Dixon 36 points, Paul Redman 35, Vicky Younger 35, Rachael Moore 33, Karl Robinson 30, Alice Smith 27, Jason Waite 26, Colleen Compson 25, Nicola Woodward 23 and Chris Bell 22.
Jason Waite is back competing after being beset by injury problems. The 23-year-old is gradually getting back on track and making up for lost time.
He is just back from Dubai where he competed in his first half marathon.
He finished 39th and sixth British man in 1hr 20min 28sec in the Rak Half Marathon.
The accountant now makes his debut in the National on Saturday and is making a late challenge for a leading place in the club grand prix.
Sunderland Harrier Michael Wilson just missed out on a medal in the BUCS Indoor Championship at Sheffield over the weekend.
Wilson finished fourth in 1.53.05 after negotiating three rounds to get to the final.
He finished first in round one (1.58.28), second in round two (1.54.29) and second in the semi-final (1.53.60).
Clubmate Sarah Knight finished runner-up in the Under-17 event in the Clubs for Young People Cross Country Championship at Essex.
Three Sunderland Harriers won medals in the North Eastern Counties Indoor Championships at Gateshead.
Declan Murray cleared 3.2m to claim gold in the Under-20 men’s pole vault and Jordan Beavers was third in the Under-20 men’s 60m (7.55). Alix Waites was runner-up in the senior women’s 60m (8.29).
Houghton Harrier Philippa Ellis smashed the Under-15 60m hurdles record with 9.45 before winning the final in 9.49. She also finished second in the shot (9.25).
M55 Ian Cowell was a busy athlete with gold in the 60m hurdles (12.18), long jump (4.54), high jump (1.46) and pole vault (2.50).
Under-17 Thomas Bowdon was second in triple jump (12.03). Under-13 Lexie Ellis was third in the shot (4.75).
Houghton Harrier junior man Alex Brown decided to miss out on the Signals Road Relay Championship at Hetton Lyons Country Park to run the Parkrun at Chester-le Street on Saturday. He won the event in a personal best of 15.47.
Congratulations to Houghton Harriers’ Bethany Tippins (Under-11) and Matthew Lumb (Under-13) who have been selected for the Tyne and Wear team to compete in the North East Regional Sports Hall Athletics Final taking place at Temple Park, South Shields on Saturday, March 25.
The first Sunderland Strollers club championship race took place in Castletown Dene over 5km.
Forty six runners completed the run and Andrew Forbes, who ran a 12:03 leg at the Signals Relay the previous day, finished first.