Sunderland Harrier Nathan Reed is back on course to full fitness after long-term injury problems have blighted his year and beyond.
The 26-year-old returned to competition on Saturday at the Gosforth Park Norman Woodcock Memorial Road Relays and he achieved his most significant result since he had his last full season in 2016.
He clocked the fourth fastest overall time in competing for the Sunderland B team and if he had been in the A team, the Harriers would have finished runners-up instead of third.
Reed, a science teacher at Farringdon Community Academy, said: “It was hard to justify my selection for the A Team as this was only my fifth race since the North Eastern Cross Country Championships in 2016.
“I hadn’t raced since the Ken Jefferson Memorial Cross Country Relays at Farringdon in September where I was over one minute slower than clubmate Kevin Jeffress.”
His performance this time saw him beat Jeffress on the opening leg by two seconds and it was a considerable improvement on his last competitive outing.
The Sunderland club captain added: “Training has been going well with sessions set by team manager Albert James. But you never know until you get into a race how fit you really are.
“I’m going to race a 5km at the weekend at Croft, then the North Eastern Cross Country Championships where my aim is to be a team counter as the distance will be a bit tougher for me at the moment.”
Reed is one of two teachers, the other is Farringdon PE teacher Andy Roberts, who organise schools athletics in Sunderland.
The county schools’ committee has agreed that Wearside Schools can change their name to the much more appropriate Sunderland Schools. They will also change their colour of their vest after receiving a £500 grant from Sunderland Harriers.
They will compete under their new colours for the first time in the County Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Barnard Castle on the Saturday afternoon of January 9.
The Wearside Schools’ Cross Country Championships takes place at Farringdon on Wednesday, December 12, and the Inter Counties Championships are at Temple Park, South Shields on February 2. And for those athletes that qualify for the English Schools’ Championships, they are at Temple Newsome, Leeds, on Saturday March 16.
Houghton Harrier Will Bellamy maintained his early-season form with an excellent performance in the British Athletics Cross Challenge at Liverpool on Saturday.
He finished sixth in the Under-17 race (17.37) only 17 seconds behind the winner. His clubmate Henry Johnson was 42nd (18.32). In the Under-15 Girls’ race Nicole Phillips ran well for 29th and Erin Keeler-Clarke finished 48th.
Sunderland unattached runner Michael Barker won the Big Northumberland 10-mile Road Race (55.54) from Blaydon’s Matthew Alderson (56.13).
Houghton Harrier Tom Whelan was 21st (64.41) and Sunderland Harrier Christopher Davison finished 41st (68.48) with Stroller Chris Duke in 74th (72.16).
Sunderland Strollers present their Clazey’s Doorstep Events on Sunday where for the second time they will be hosting a marathon, half marathon and a 10K run to try and get as many people participating as possible.
Organiser Harry Harrison said: “The events are not races but social runs which will demonstrate the capacity of running to generate substantial funds for charity and provide a great day.
“On completion of the event, T-shirts along with a breakfast will be provided. The bar will also be open. There are changing/shower facilities at the Yacht Club and you can also leave bags etc in a secure environment.”
Runners should meet at the Sunderland Yacht Club at 8am for the Marathon start, 9.45 for the Half Marathon start and 10.45 for the 10K start.
The event is organised to raise money for charity and this year the Strollers they will be splitting the proceeds between Phoenix Cancer Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Strollers are grateful to Peter Dunn & Co, Lofthouse & Partners, PGSLaw, Franklin Steel, Barnets Barbers and BGL Group for getting on board and ensuring even more cash goes to the charities.
On Sunday, the Dalton Park Winter 10k takes place at Murton.
The race starts in the Dalton Park Shopping Outlet at 10am.