Who will become the ‘Beach King & Queen’ in Sunderland Strollers’ Pier-to-Pier race?

Sunderland Stroller Wendy Chapman, who is out to defend her Pier-to-Pier women's title on Sunday.
Sunderland Stroller Wendy Chapman, who is out to defend her Pier-to-Pier women's title on Sunday.

The Sunderland Strollers’ 20th Pier-to-Pier race should make new ground on Sunday.

The race from South Shields to Roker Pier will see a record-breaking field contest the event after the race was sold out in March.

The seven mile approx event has attracted 1,350 entries and it is expected to beat last year’s record of 1,177 finishers.

Runners can choose their own route along the coastline, but they must keep off the highway.

South Shields Harrier Luke Adams, the 2012 winner, is the favourite and challenging him will be Sunderland Harrier Michael Laws, Heaton Harrier Lucas Longman and Stroller Mark Anderson, sixth in the Sunderland Half Marathon on Sunday.

The women’s race sees Over-45 Sunderland Stroller Wendy Chapman defend her title and her main rivals look to be Elswick Harrier Judith Nutt and Sunderland Harrier Michelle Avery, a previous winner and fifth in 2016.

Race Director Harry Harrison said: “This year’s event will feature a pair of new prizes for the first male and female runners to reach the end of South Shields beach and complete the full course will be crowned ‘Beach King and Queen’ and will be presented with handmade glass trophies.”

This year’s event is supported by South Shield’s solicitors, PGS Law and Seaton Spring.

The organisers will process entry transfers (free of charge) up until 5pm on May 19. Contact clubsecretary@sunderlandstrollers.co.uk or for more information telephone Harry Harrison 07906 599805.

Sunderland Strollers Running Club has been in existence for almost 35 years and it is proud of its reputation of attracting runners to take up the sport, with their beginners group recently attracting more than 200 participants.

The Strollers were well represented in the New Marske Locke Park 5-miler at Redcar, in the race won by Evenwood veteran John Clifford (26.56).

Finishing in the first 20 were Andrew Forbes in sixth (30.01), Chris Dwyer 12th (30.58), Over-50 Ritchie Gerry 15th (31.36) and Michael Dixon (31.50). Gillian Ritchie in 40th was first Stroller woman in 35.06.

Washington Running Club’s Tim Jones followed up his win in the Trail Outlaws 10km multi-terrain race with victory (1.13.04) in the Durham Trail 10mile race on Sunday. Clubmate Derek Trueman was 19th (1.24.30).

Sunderland Strollers placed Chris Dwyer sixth (1.15.41), Andrew Forbes tenth (1.17.22), and Ed Swinney 21st (1.24.59).

Sunderland Harrier Martin Blenkinsopp finished eighth (1.15.53) and Allan McManus was 33rd (1.28.14).

Vikki Cotton was fourth woman (1.28.12), with Tyne Bridge Harrier Mairi Clancy winning in 1.20.16.

Sunderland Harrier Craig Gunn made good use of use his Christmas box which he used to enter the Kentmere Trail 10km where he finished runner-up in the race that attracted 400 finishers.

The recent addition to the Harriers’ ranks said: “It was more like a fell race. I led to the top, but the lad who beat me flew down the hill.”

He was also in good form in the Sunderland 10km where he finished seventh in a PB of 35.40.

Houghton Harriers’ young athletes enjoyed success in the North East Track and Field Championships at Middlesbrough’s Sports Village.

Under-17 Lydia James beat 4.50 for the first time to win the gold medal in the 1,500m (4.49.10), Cameron Allan won the Under-20 5,000m (16.47.79).

Henry Johnson took the silver medal in the Under-17 1,500m (4.11.6) and won a bronze in the 800m (2.01.40).

Will Bellamy finished third in the Under-17 1,500m (4.13.9), Sam Gibson was third in the Under-17 3,000m (9.15.17) and Carl Charlton was third in the Under-13 Boys 200m (30.21).

In the British Milers’ Club paced races at Chester-le-Street on Monday, Henry Johnson recorded a personal best for 800m (1.56.27).

Cameron Allan also set a new mark (2.03.86) and Lydia James brought her time down to 2.19.24.

Sunderland Harriers saw new member Andrew Rhodes win the Under-17 long jump with a leap of 5.75 at the North East Championships.

Alix Waites was second in the senior women’s 400m (61.43) and Mark Smith recorded a personal best in winning bronze in the Senior Men’s 800m (1.56.2).