Sunderland Harriers defend the Heaton Harriers Memorial 10km team title at Newcastle’s Town Moor on Sunday.
The Wearsiders were surprise winners of the four-to-count team contest last year and they are still busy recruiting a team that is strong enough to challenge for the title.
Team manager Albert James and new club captain Nathan Reed, who hopes to compete following a long time out with an Achilles tendon injury, have named four athletes so far for the test ahead.
They are Sparrow Morley, Ian Ritchie, Jake Jensen and Barry Maskell. None of these athletes were involved in the race last year.
Only Reed, in eighth, was one of the team counters in 2015. The others were Ian Dixon 13th, Liam Roarty 18th and Paul Blakey 19th, who packed well in a race with over 700 finishers.
They were the first Sunderland team to win at Heaton since the club’s excellent victory in 2003 when Mark Hood won in 31.04 and he was followed by Gavin Massingham in third (32.34), Dave Robertson fourth (32.45) and Patrick Martin sixth (33.00).
Last year’s race was won by Tipton Harrier Ryan McLeod, who broke his own course record (29.58) with his outstanding victory in 29.32 to win £200 for a new course record and £200 for winning the race.
Durham City Harrier Rosie Smith was the women’s winner, finishing an excellent 14th (34.10) to just miss out on Sunderland Strollers’ Alyson Dixon’s course record of 34.04.
Race HQ is at Royal Grammar School, Brandling House, Lambton Road, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4DX.
The 10km race will be preceded by a minute’s silence at 11am. Late entries are available on the day, if the race is not already full.
Four Sunderland Harriers travel to Glasgow on Saturday for the British Masters’ and Irish International Cross Country.
Kevin Jeffress competes in the Over-35 race and Paul Merrison is in the Over-55 team, both competing for England.
Over-45 Micky Thompson is an England reserve for that age group and Steve McMahon is reserve for the Over-35 team.
Both Jeffress and Merrison were selected last year when the international was held in Ireland.
Sunderland Harrier Steven Duffy won the Mo Run 5km at Newcastle’s Town Moor by 76 seconds. He recorded 16.38 – just four second outside his personal best.
Houghton Harrier Lee Dover finished 16th (60.53) in the Derwentwater 10 mile road race.
Sunderland Harrier Dave Lash was 56th (67.31) in the race won by New Marske’s Russell Best (53.31).
Sunderland Strollers’ Graham Clazey’s Door Step Marathon will be staged on Sunday, December 4.
This run was established in 2008 after Clazey had gone to Luton to run the Luton Marathon.
He was raising funds for the Chemo Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital following treatment there the previous year.
But due to a road traffic accident, the race was cancelled while hundreds of runners were standing on the start line.
He was naturally very disappointed as he had generated lots of sponsorship. He refused to be beaten, so along with fellow Strollers, he decided to do a long Sunday run of about 26.2 miles, so that the money could still be raised.
On Sunday, December 7, 2008, Graeme Clazey, Phil and Lesley Watson, Malcolm Cox, Kevin O’Neil and Stephen Gill all ran around the Sunderland/South Tyneside area and completed the first doorstep marathon.
From this small start, an annual event has grown in popularity and has raised over £8,000 for the Phoenix Unit.
The event is not a race, but an opportunity to run with friends and raise money for a deserving cause. It’s open to Strollers and non-Strollers.
This ninth year, the start and finish is at Sunderland Yacht Club, which is located at the Marina.
This will the first time the Strollers have incorporated a 10km run so lots of people can get involved. There is ample parking and showers and changing facilities within the club.
The marathon will start at 9am, the half marathon at 11am and the 10km at midday, so that everyone should be finishing at roughly the same time.
After the event there are refreshments served in the club.
The cost of all entries is £20 per person, all finishers receive a T-Shirt. Every penny of your entry fee will go to the charity. You can enter on the Strollers website.