Sunderland Harriers’ women ready for Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League Division One bow

Eddie Maddison.
Eddie Maddison.

Sunderland Harriers’ women make their First Division debut in the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League at Wrekenton on Saturday.

They gained promotion last season by finishing second to Heaton Harriers in the Second Division.

Team manager Eddie Maddison said: “That was a great result for us and now we have to consolidate our place in the top division. It will not be easy as it is very competitive with the best of North East clubs involved.

“With it being a handicap race with fast, medium and slow packs - with runners able to gain promotion during the season - you have to have a big squad to compete with the best.

“Fortunately, we have a few new names to add to the club register and we are looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

Among the athletes that Maddison will be depending on is the slow pack runners. They include Amy Callaghan, Lauren Flaxen, Michelle O’Neil and Jacqueline Etherington, who has just been called up for Scotland for the Masters Cross Country International at Swansea on Saturday, November 17.

Club captain Colleen Compson, Bev Martin and Michelle Avery compete from the medium pack, while Alice Smith, Vicky Haswell, Nicola Woodward, Vikki Cotton and Linda Mudford are all from the fast pack.

While the women hit new ground, the Sunderland men will be out to maintain their First Division status in their league as the only club who have never been out of the Division.

Also getting off its marks is the club Cross Country Grand Prix. One point is awarded for taking part in the Harrier League and two points are gained for being a team scorer.

The events cover the six Harrier League events plus Sherman Cup and the Northern Championships (Pontefract) and National Cross Country Championships (Leeds). There are five prizes awarded at the end of the season.

There has been a change to the fixture list with Gosforth Park coming in as a replacement for Herrington Country Park.

The fixtures are: Saturday, September 29 - Wrekenton; Sunday, October 7 - Druridge Bay; Saturday, October 27 - Gosforth Park; Saturday, November 17 - Aykley Heads; Saturday, January 5 - Sherman Cup, Temple Park; Saturday, February 9 - Thornley Hall Farm, Peterlee; Saturday, March 2 - Alnwick Castle.

The Wrekenton, venue can be located on Durham Road, NE9 6RZ.

The new timetable is: 12noon Under-11 Boys, 12.05 Under-11 Girls, 12.10 Under-17 Men, 12.15 Under-17 and Under-20 Women, 12.20 Under-15 Boys 12.25 Under-15 Girls, 12.30 Under-13 Boys, 12.35 Under-13 Girls, 12.50 Senior and Veteran Women, 1.50 Senior and Veteran Men.

Sunderland Harriers’ Annual General Meeting will be held at Lakeside club Gilley Law on Monday (7.15).

Presentations of the annual awards will be the highlight and the election of the officials for the forthcoming year will take place. All members are asked to attend.

Among the highlights of Houghton Harriers’ outstanding bronze team medal performances in the Northern Athletics Under-17 Men’s and Women’s Road Relay Championships at Sport City, Manchester, was the performances of Eva Hardie and Will Bellamy.

Both athletes are in the first year of their age group and they clocked the fourth and sixth fastest times overall, while the rest of the three strong teams in Henry Johnson and Sam Gibson and the girls with Lydia James and Anna Pigford, all put in sterling runs to ensure medals.

Derwentside AC have renamed their annual Hellhole 10km - The Pedro 10km on Sunday, in memory of Gerard Murray (known to many as Pedro) who sadly passed away in 2017.

Pedro was a popular and dedicated competitor and was known for the support and encouragement he gave to others.

The proceeds of this year’s race will be split equally between Pancreatic Cancer Research and to developing junior athletics in Stanley.

The 10km race (approximate) combines sections of the Coast To Coast cycle route and a visit into Hellhole Woods.

Registration, changing, showers and refreshments will be at the Louisa Centre

Entry desk will be open from 8.30am. Ample free parking available near the Louisa Centre on Scott Street.

All finishers will receive a ‘Pedro themed T-shirt’ and a goody bag. On the day entry fee is £16 Affiliated/£18 Unaffiliated. Fun Run: £5 Entry limit: 200.