Veterans go for gold

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SUNDERLAND Harriers will be chasing medals in the British Veterans’ over-45 Road Relay Championships at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.

Captain Rob Rush will confirm his team for the six-stage relay at Sutton Park near the end of the week after fitness tests.

“We have had a few problems, but we should be able to turn out a reasonable team,’’ said the Hylton Castle postman.

“I’m waiting to see how some of the runners have come through the Marathon of the North weekend, before finalising the squad. Paul Redman finished sixth in the marathon and we will have to see how he recovers after his gutsy performance, while Brian Rushworth legs were a bit sore after his fifth place finish in the 10k. But he has said he should be okay.’’

Rush hopes his final six will be Rushworth, Redman, Paul Merrison, Ken Bell, Jon Dobson and Tim Field. On standby are Paul Collins and George Harden. Brian Bewick is unavailable through injury.

Field is just getting back after long term injury and illness problems and he has been using the Saturday morning parkruns to gain racing fitness. Dobson ran well in the Sunderland 10k finishing 10th. Rushworth will again be in contention for the fastest overall time of the day, while 51-year-old Merrison is the oldest runner in the team.

H A total of 1085 runners finished the inaugural Marathon of the North from the Stadium of Light on Sunday. Sunderland Strollers provided a marvellous 61 of them. Their first runner home was over-50 veteran Paul Roper in 3.02.30 and the club’s first woman was Jill Kisler in 3.40.15. The Strollers last runner recorded 5.38.37. The last runner in the race clocked 6.48.01.

Counting the 10k race, the Strollers had a total of 90 runners. Tim Allsop was their first runner in 11th (36.28) and their first woman was Claire Baharie (49.45). There were a total of 1819 finishers. Counting all four UK Athletics events, the total number of runners that finished in those events was 3744.

H Sunderland Stroller Lyne Valentine was the first over-55 woman in the Tees Barrage 10k (45.09).

H Sunderland Harrier Alan Hodgson finished 22nd (85.24) in the Keswick Half Marathon, won by Heaton Harrier James Buis (72.53)

H Houghton Harriers had only one A string winner in their Northern Division Three track and field match at Whitley Bay. Rachel Scott won the 100m in 13.4. The club finished fifth of the six competing clubs with the winners North Shields Poly.

H The North East track and field championship is held over two days from 10am this weekend at Gateshead Stadium.