Sunderland Harriers’ Jeffress hopes to go fourth and conquer at North East Masters

Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress.
Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress.

Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress defends his North East Masters’ Cross Country title at Darlington on Sunday.

The Seaham athlete claimed his hat-trick of titles at Wallsend last year, and he could well make it a fourth win in a row at Darlington.

He showed he is in good form with his performance in the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships at Harewood House, Leeds, last Saturday.

He finished 60th and his form caught the eye of the North East selectors for the UK Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Loughborough on Saturday, March 10. He was named as a reserve for the senior team.

Jeffress said: “That’s great, I didn’t expect this. It was a great challenging course on Saturday, I had a conservative first lap and felt strong on the second loop and moved through the pack. I was really happy with my run.”

Jeffress and Ian Dixon, who could be his main rival, will lead the Sunderland squad in defence of the three-to-count team title. But it may depend on the strength of the Morpeth team on whether they have the race all their own way. Joining Jeffress and Dixon in the team is Tony Allinson.

In the Over-45 event, Sunderland again have another strong squad in Robert Walker, Tim Field and Paul Merrison.

Walker (47) is in superb form and is the clear favourite for the individual title. While at the age of 59, Merrison is the oldest of the trio. Also entered are Dean Phillips and Alan Knebel.

Sunderland’s oldest competitor will be Len Christopher (71), who will be on his own this time after being in the winning Sunderland team last year.

The Sunderland women are looking for their hat-trick of wins and they have a team that can certainly do that in Vicky Haswell, Alice Smith and Nicola Woodward. Smith has the capabilities of appearing in the individual awards.

The race headquarters is at Darlington Rugby Club, Blackwell Meadows, Grange Road, Darlington DL1 5NR. Parking, registration and changing are at the rugby club.

Sunderland Harrier Michael Wilson broke the Sunderland Harriers’ indoor 600m record at Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a race that saw a world best.

The New Mexico University student, in round five, recorded 1.21.05 in finishing second. The previous record was set by Oliver James with 1.24.45 from 2014.

The final was won by Kenyan Michael Surani in a world best of 1.14.79.

James, of McNeese State University at Lake Charles, was in action last Friday when he clocked 8.27.54 in the 3000m for second place.

Club-mate Jessica Fox finished fourth, also over 3,000m (10.33.84). Previously she had recorded 5.16.82 for the one mile.

Houghton Harriers coach Geoff Fenwick saw two of his athletes score significant victories in the Scottish Indoor Championships at the Glasgow Emirates Stadium.

Philippa Ellis won the Under-17 women’s 60m hurdles title, taking gold in a time of 8.84.

The Great Lumley athlete then gained a huge PB of 11.60m in the shot for fourth place.

These performances have set her up nicely for next week’s combined events back in Glasgow.

The other gold medal came from Under-17 Megan Costello, who also took gold in her 60m in a time of 7.91.