Sunderland Strollers are back in the big time

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Sunderland Strollers will return to the Premier League after one season in the second division.

They scored their fourth win of the season at Blaydon and Gavin Sword in 14th (33.16) and Kevin O’Neil in 52nd (34.37) led the Ashbrooke club home.

Sunderland Harriers turned out their first team of the season in the women’s race and they were rewarded by having the winner in 50-year-old Ingrid Hope.

The social services worker and aerobics instructor, making a rare appearance over the country, thrived over the muddy course to win in 24.19, running from the slow pack.

Behind her came fast pack runner Jane Mooney (21.06) with Elswick’s Alison Dargie the second-fastest in 23rd (22.20).

Sunderland Harrier Michelle Holt was third-quickest in 32nd (22.49) and now moves into second place in the grand prix, behind Mooney.

Hayley Reed was Sunderland’s third counter in 54th (23.39) and the club finished seventh. The Strollers were ninth with Rachael Ball (13th – 25.49), Alyson West (21st – 26.18) and Jill Kisler (55th – 27.40).

James Oliver made his Sunderland Harriers debut and scored a terrific win in the under-17s men’s race.

The Tunstall runner won by nearly two minutes and was one second faster than Gateshead’s Lewis Hogg, the Northern Cross-Country champion, who finished sixth from the fast pack.

The Sunderland boys’ team dropped to second place in their league behind Gosforth after only finishing sixth in the under-15s event.