Sunderland Harriers are one of seven North East Clubs contesting the Northern Athletics 12-stage Road Relay Championships at Birkenhead on Sunday.
They join Blackhill Bounders, Darlington, Gateshead, Heaton, Morpeth and Tyne Bridge for the trip to Merseyside.
Team manager Albert James said: “Unfortunately, we have lost six of our top men due to other engagements.
“On a positive note, Andy Powell, Nathan Reed and Steve Rankin are in better shape. But we will not be as strong as last year.”
They were one of four North East clubs to finish in the first 20 in 17th following Morpeth, in ninth, and Tyne Bridge, 14th. Gateshead Harriers finished 19th.
Last year’s team with their times were Andy Powell (long leg) 24.09, Robert Walker 12.25, Kevin Jeffress (long leg) 24.53, Michael Laws 12.58, Steve McMahon (long leg) 25.36, Sean Mackie (12.44), Steven Duffy (long leg) 27.11, Joe Pomfret (13.09), Nathan Reed (12.53), Craig Gunn (12.55), Jake Jansen (13.16) and Jimmy Johnson (15.02).
The host club Wallasey AC have come up with a course that is a flat circuit around the traffic-free park roads and paths.
Athletes compete over four long legs of approximately 8.5km and eight short legs of approximately 4.3km.
The first 25 teams to finish will qualify for the National Championship at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday, April 6.
Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon eased off the throttle and dropped her pace after strong winds ruined her racing plans in the Northumberland Half Marathon at Ponteland on Sunday.
The 40-year-old veteran finished 17th overall to take first place in the women’s race in her slowest ever Half Marathon time of 1.26.14 – nearly 16 minutes outside her best.
The race winner, Houghton Harrier Lee Dover, had a fine run in recording 1.15.54 to finish just 25 seconds outside his best in defeating Ponteland’s Martin Hallissey (1.17.27).
Sunderland Harrier Paul McLachlan chopped nearly 10 minutes off his previous fastest in finishing 14th (1.25.40).
Other Sunderland Strollers performances included: 6th Andrew Forbes (1.21.20), 57th Neil Proctor V45 (1.36.09), 117th Malcolm Cox V60 (1.45.03), and Sheila Hudson W60 (2.12.45).
Houghton Harriers: 42nd David Coulson V40 (1.33.18), 51st Dave Gribben V55 (1.35.29), 81st Shaun McGrath V50 (1.40.22).
Washington Running Club: 38th Craig Smith (1.32.58), 99th Neal Cummings (1.43.18).
Sunderland Harrier Paul Redman was the first Over-50 in the Thirsk 10m (61.15). Clubmate Alice Smith was 12th woman in 66.48.
The women’s winner was Jarrow’s Georgia Campbell (59.40), from Birtley’s Tracy Millmore (59.58). The men’s winner was Richmond and Zetland’s Rob Scot (53.38).
Sunderland Harrier David Wilkinson took seventh place (38.15) in the Cockermouth 10km.
Ian Ritchie bid farewell to Sunderland Harriers in his last race for the club in the the Locke Park 20 mile Road Race.
He finished second (2.04.17) behind Michael Parkinson (2.03.27). He has now joined South Shields Harriers.
Sunderland Strollers are approaching their maximum field for their Pier-to-Pier Run from South Shields to Roker on Sunday, May 19. So far they have 1,020 entries.
Sunderland Harriers have finalised their dates for their events during the summer.
The Ernie Johnson Memorial Penshaw Hill Race will be held on Wednesday, June 5, the Sunderland 5km is on Thursday, July 11, and the Ken Jefferson Memorial Farringdon Cross Country is on Saturday, September 14.
The English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Temple Newsam, near Leeds on Saturday, saw athletes compete over a mud-splattered course.
And considering the dry courses that they have been used for most of the winter, this proved a hardy test.
Houghton Harriers Will Bellamy and Henry Johnson, competing for Durham Schools, are seen ploughing through the mud at Temple Newsam.