Sunderland Harriers have come to the rescue of Northern Athletics and will host the Northern 12-Stage and Women’s Six-Stage Road Relay Championships at Silksworth Sports Complex on Saturday, April 2.
The Wearsiders were asked if they could stage the event after the original venue at Stockport became unavailable through building work on the course.
There were also concerns from some North East clubs that the relay had not been held in the North East for some years. Manchester and Liverpool being prominent hosts since the event was last in Sunderland in 2007.
The Sports Complex course is popular with runners and spectators alike, where it proves a challenging circuit, wholly within the confines of the complex and with good viewing sites for onlookers.
Club secretary Michael Hill said: “We are delighted to have the 12-stage and women’s six-stage at Silksworth once again.
“It has been a rushed job to get the various permissions but we are there now and we are fully committed to putting on another quality relay for Northern Athletics.
“We have plenty of experience as we have hosted this event four times previously.
“We look forward to working with eEveryone Active, the new management company of the complex.”
It was in 1988 that the Harriers staged the first Northern relay at Silksworth and it happened again in 1992, 2000 and 2007.
It is intended to start and finish the relay on the track and legs should be around over 2.2 miles and 4 miles.
Sunderland have won the 12-stage twice in 1987 and 88 and their last medals were won at Blackpool with bronze in 2003.
The team that day was: Brian Rushworth long leg 24.51, Patrick Martin 13.24, Gavin Massingham 13.14, Mark Hood long leg 25.02, Norman Younger 13.49, Mark Donkin 13.41, Andrew Lilliendale long leg 26.41, Steve Coxon 13.52. Norman Younger jun 13.55, Timothy Field long leg 26.20, Peter Groark 14.02 and George Harden 14.39.
Sunderland Harrier Matt Jones is looking towards representing his native Wales in the 2018 Commonwealth Games marathon on Australia’s Gold Coast.
He made a massive improvement in the Seville Marathon on Sunday, chopping 7.42 off his previous fastest time to record 2.27.54 for 37th position.
That performance sees him as the early leader at the top of the UK Marathon ranking list for 2016.
Clocking up to 130 miles a week in preparation for the race, his heavy mileage schedule certainly paid off, clocking negative splits in the race of 1.14.07 and 1.13.47 to suggest that there is still a lot more to come.
He said he felt strong throughout the marathon and was well within himself, recording 17.40 for the last 5k.
A time of under 2hr.18min will be needed for consideration for Commonwealth selection.
The Sunderland Harriers cross country grand prix is reaching its conclusion with only three events to go with the final fixture at the North Eastern Harrier League at Wrekenton on Saturday, March 19.
But, before then, the biggest points scorer of the grand prix is on Saturday at The English National Cross Country Championships at Donington Park, Leicestershire.
The following are at the top of the grand prix leader board and are all in with a chance of winning one of the five valuable prizes.
They are all competing at Donington on Saturday. They are: Paul Merrison 40pts, Nicola Woodward 37, Dean Phillips 36, Emma North 36, Paul Redman 36, Gary Fox 36, Steve McMahon 35, Coleen Compson 34, Shaun Bagley 32, Kevin Jeffress 32 and Nathan Reed 32.
A group of Strollers are heading to Palma in October for the half marathon/ marathon or 10k.
The trip is Friday 14th to Wednesday, October 19, and it is working out at just under £400 each for flights and hotel.
If you’d like some more info contact Michael Dixon on 07734 925 971 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, Dawn Elliot is organising a trip to Disney in November to run with Mickey. It is four days at Disney Enchanted Christmas, leaving on November 16.