Two Sunderland Harriers to compete in British & Irish Maasters Cross Country International in Dublin

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Two Sunderland Harriers are celebrating after being selected for the England team to contest the British and Irish Masters’ Cross Country International.

Kevin Jeffress will contest the over-35 championship and Paul Merrison the over-55 race at the event in Dublin on Saturday, November 14. Steve McMahon is selected as a reserve for the over-35 team.

I’m over the moon to be selected again

Kevin Jeffress

This will be Jeffress second England vest after making his debut last year at Nottingham and winning team gold in 11th place.

Seaham man Jeffress said: I’m over the moon to be selected again.

“It is a real honour and I want to improve on my position of last year. I’ve been training and racing well so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Merrison will gain his fifth vest at Dublin after gaining his first in 2000.

Then came further selection in 2004, 2005 and 2014. He has won three team gold’s and a team silver. His best individual run was in 2004 in Croydon when finishing fourth M45.

He said: “Dublin has been my main target since November last year.

“The key race for selection was the BMAF Cross Country Championships in Ruthin. I performed well finishing 4th M55 and third English runner. I still have an ambition to win an individual medal in the International race’’

He is a championship runner and holds the North East Masters M55 titles for cross country, 5k road, 5k trail and 5k track.

His track time of 17.44 for 5k is the seventh fastest M55 time in Britain this year.

The 57-year-old added: “I am very proud to have been selected to represent England again and to do so as a member of Sunderland Harriers. Next year will mark my 10th year at the club.”

McMahon’s reserve spot is well deserved after impressing over country and road. He has been a starring member of the club’s relay squad, as the anchorman.

Sunderland Strollers had 12 runners contesting the York Marathon and four of them broke the four hour mark. They were Ritchie Gerry (3.22.45), Gary Hargrave (3.26.46), Dan Anderson (3.28.57) and Phil Watson (3.58.00).

Sunderland Harrier Barry Marlee was also below four hours with 3.57.27.

The Strollers also took part in the 10 mile race at York and their leading result came from Lesley Watson with third over-50 woman in 78.39. Michael Dixon clocked 67.58 for 14th place and Vanessa Hogan recorded 78.30.

Sunderland Harrier David White won the over-60 category in the Matfen 10k (45.35) and Houghton Harrier Ian Morgan was first over-70 (49.48).

The Gibside Fruitbowl Trail race is on Sunday, starting at 9.30am.

The six mile appox course is one lap on good tracks and paths. There is limited parking at Gibside, and you will require a pass to park within the grounds.

Please try to car share wherever possible.

If you are not allocated a parking pass, alternative parking is available in Rowlands Gill, just a short walk away.