Young stars aim for quick finish

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THE cream of North East young middle distance talent will be in action in the McCain Development one mile road race in Sunderland’s Festival of Running this weekend.

The race will start at St Thomas Street at 9.40am, turn right at Fawcett Street and finish in front of the main reception at the Stadium of Light less than five minutes later.

The original start in Sunniside is out of bounds as the runners from the Marathon of the North will be passing at about the same time. The event will provide spectators and runners getting ready for the 10k start with an opportunity to see the finish of what promises to be an exciting race.

Three Wearsiders have been invited to test their early season form against the rest of the crop of the aspiring young stars.

Sunderland Harrier Oliver James, Easington’s Chloe Price, who competes for Durham City Harriers and Washington’s Barry Maskell (Gateshead Harriers), are all expected to be up there among the front runners.

James is a relative newcomer to the sport and has a best for the 1500m of 4.14.60 and 800m (1.59.75). Maskell had an impressive winter season culminating with 17th place in the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships at Birmingham. His best for the metric mile is 4.03.5.

Price is a likely winner of the women’s race after bringing her time down for 1500m with her winning run (4.41.9) in the Border Harriers meeting at Carlisle on April 12.

New Marske Harrier Mark Shaw, the Northern junior cross country champion and Shildon’s Cameron Boyek, the fastest runner in the field with a 3.47.6 1500m clocking plus clubmate Michael Bleasby, the double North East champion over 800m and 1500m last year, should provide the fireworks at the front of the field. In with a chance of upsetting the odds are Gateshead’s Calum Johnson and Robbie Costello.

The full field which also includes three under-17 girls is: Sophie Forster U17 (Birtley), Anna Fawcett U17 (Birtley), Dani Braithwaite (Loftus & Whitby), Amy Etherington U17 (Shildon), Chloe Price (Durham), Rebecca Mills (Scarborough), Cameron Boyek (Shildon), Michael Bleasby (Shildon), Mark Shaw (New Marske), Robbie Costello (Gateshead), Barry Maskell (Gateshead), Oliver James (Sunderland), Calum Johnson (Gateshead), Jonnie Nisbet (Morpeth).