COUNTY’S YOUNGSTERS GO FOR ENGLISH MEDALS
A team of 48 county athletes will be contesting the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Temple Newsham, Leeds, on Saturday.
The number covers three age groups and both sexes as Durham bid to get among the hard-fought for individual and team medals over the six events.
All the athletes have come through area, County and Inter County Championships to earn their place on the Schools’ County team.
The championship comes at the end of a cross country season where many club athletes have contested National and Inter Counties Championships over the last few weeks.
Last Saturday it was the gruelling mud-bound course at Loughborough where the Inter Counties Championships took place and conditions proved a hardy test for all runners.
Now just a week later, many of them have to raise their form once again for their final sortie on the cross country front.
There was a surprise late call up for Venerable Bede pupil Josh Davis, who is now included in the Inter Boys’ team.
Houghton Harriers’ leading lights, Henry Johnson and Will Bellamy, are in the Inter Boys’ team and compete just a week after their gruelling performances in the mud splattered Inter Counties Championships at Loughborough.
The rearranged sixth and final Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League of the season takes place at Alnwick on Saturday.
The fixture was scheduled for Saturday, March 3, but severe weather conditions forced its postponement.
And local clubs have plenty to run for as they chase league titles and promotion at the Pastures.
Sunderland Harriers’ women’s team need a good performance to ensure promotion to the First Division.
They have Elswick Harriers and Crook breathing down their neck for the final promotion spot, with Heaton already certain of First Division status. Sunderland are in second place on 21 points, Elswick have 22 and Crook 23.
Sunderland should be at full strength with fast pack runners Alice Smith, Vicky Haswell, Nikki Woodward and slow packers Lauren Flaxen and Michele Avery, down to run.
The Sunderland Harriers’ Senior Men’s team just have to turn out a team to ensure First Division status next season.
Houghton Harriers’ Senior Men’s team are in third place in the Third Division and have a realistic chance of promotion.
Houghton’s Under-15 Girls’ team has been hit by some of their athletes being on England Schools’ Championships duty, so they have recruited a sprinter to ensure they have a full team.
They are seven points ahead of Birtley at the top of the division.
Directions to the course: Take turn off to Alnwick onto A1068. At roundabout take B6341 (2nd exit) and follow signs to Alnwick Gardens. Alnwick Pastures NE66 1YU.
Former Sunderland Harrier Jack Martin (Stockport) finished 14th in a personal best (63.45) for the distance intheLoopHalfMarathonin the Hague, Holland.
Unfortunately, his performance came a week too late for consideration for selection for the World Half Marathon Championships.
Sunderland Harrier Declan Murray improved his own club record in the pole vault with a height of 3.77 in the Scottish Indoor Championships in Glasgow.
Houghton Harriers and Sunderland Harriers were among the medals in the second Birtley Young Athletes’ Cross Country Relays at Lord Lawson School.
Houghton were second in the Under-11s event with Tom Pigford, Ryan King and Harry Beston.
Their Under-15/17 team finished third with Eva Hardie, Lara Greggs and Lily Hardie.
Sunderland were runners-up in the Under-15/17 with Robert Dunlop, Josh Davis and Cameron Lawton.
Left to right: Henry Johnson covered in mud during his race at Loughborough. Josh Davis, who has received a late call-up. Jack Martin, who produced a personal best time for a half marathon.