Sunderland Harriers and Sunderland Strollers have a good few athletes entered that have medal potential in the North East Masters’ Cross Country Championships at Wallsend on Saturday.
At the Masters’ Championship at Darlington last year, Sunderland Harriers won two men’s team titles and one women’s Over-35 title.
All their seven man squad came away with at least one medal. But that performance will be hard to match this time.
Sunderland Harrier Michael Barker makes his Masters’ debut and he should be in with a chance of a medal in the M35 category, with Sunderland Stroller Mark Anderson also a contender. The race favourite will be Gateshead Harrier Conrad Franks.
Sunderland Harriers’ Over-45 Paul Blakey, Over-50 Tim Field and Micky Thompson plus Over-60 Paul Merrison are all medal prospects.
The club’s women’s team of Vikki Cotton, Vicky Haswell and Nikki Woodward have an Over-35 team medal chance.
Sunderland Strollers have Wendy Chapman making her debut as an Over-50 and she will be the favourite in her new age group. Over-55 Dawn Elliott and Over-60 Lyne Valentine will also fancy their chances in their age groups.
The leading women entered are Morpeth’s Jane Hodgson and Gemma Floyd, plus Over-40 Durham City athlete and Scottish international Joasia Zakrzewski.
Four-time Over-35 winner Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress will not be going for his fifth title, as he will be competing in the Torremolinos Half Marathon on Sunday.
Jeffress said: “I was looking for a race to see where I’m at as regards my London Marathon training....