The increasing popularity of running is having a positive knock-on effect on the sport of athletics, with two more clubs and an events promoter being set-up on Wearside.
They join six long established clubs, within a short space of each other, to ensure the sport has blanket coverage in the area.
Washington Running Club has recently reformed and Run Peterlee has joined them in being affiliated to England Athletics for competition.
Washington hosted their first race in Washington’s Princess Anne Park to help promote the club and raise some cash to get some of their volunteers put through their Leadership in Running coaching exams.
They reached out to fellow runners and set up a race to help raise start-up funds for the club.
They chose a 5k multi-terrain race and over 120 runners turned up from local clubs and others new to running, two weeks ago.
They had decided to get affiliated after attending too many briefing meetings and sending endless emails to novice runners that seemed to keep going round in circles.
Secretary Tim Bateson said: “I therefore created a Facebook page for Washington Running Club and was delighted with the response.
“We get between 20 and 30 runners turning out for each session, and we make a big point of stressing that we are inclusive club for beginners to experienced runners.
“Getting people started in running is a key part of what the club is about.
“We also hope to get a parkrun brought to Washington. We have an aspiration to start junior training for the club later this year.”
The club’s officials are Chris Clarke (chairman), Derek Trueman (treasurer) and Tim Bateson as secretary.
Bateson also praised others in helping to set up the club, he added: “George Harden, although a Sunderland Harrier, also runs with us on a regular basis and was an original member of the first Washington club.
“His help, support and knowledge of the previous club has been a great help.
“Local councillor Dianne Snowdon has also been very supportive and helpful in getting the club up and running.’’
Washington Athletics Club was a successful club from the 1970s until the early 1990s when dwindling membership forced them to disband.
The club had several runners capable of running under 80 minutes for the half marathon.
Training times are Thursday’s at 7pm and Sunday at 9am. They meet at Biddick Academy School and everyone is welcome. The club website is www.washingtonrc.co.uk.
Trail Outlaws are also based in Washington and is a company set up to promote Trail and Ultra Running in the North East of England.
Tim Bateson and Sunderland Stroller Phill Turton are joint directors.
They have also got accredition with England Athletics as a promoter and are an off-shoot of the Washington Running Club.
They present the first race in their Urban Trails series on Sunday. Pieces of 8 at Penshaw, has everything you would want in a Trail Race they say.
The undulating trail marathon, half marathon and 10K route, is set in James Steel Country Park. It starts and finishes at Penshaw monument.
The races are marathon, which so far has 18 entries, half marathon (68) and trail 10k (129).
Run Peterlee have also got off their marks and joined the band of local affiliated England Athletics clubs, after starting up three years ago.
They entered an agreement with the Tony Blair Sport Foundation which helped in the early stages of establishing a running group in Peterlee.
They already had three fully qualified Run Leaders, but the Tony Blair Sports Foundation has helped to fund two more Leaders in Running Fitness courses.
Run Peterlee caters for both men and women.
Club fees are ploughed back into the club to encourage members to participate more widely in competitive events.
The club meets at the Pavilion on Helford Road, Peterlee on a Monday night at 6.30pm.
New members are welcome to join or just go along for a free taster session.
Previously, during the 1980s and 90s, there was a Peterlee Athletics club based in the town, later they linked-up with Houghton Harriers and a new club, Houghton and Peterlee Harriers was formed.
Peterlee was later dropped from the Houghton Harriers club name some years ago.