Two Sunderland runners have been selected to compete in the England Masters team for the British and Irish Masters Cross-Country International at Liverpool a week on Saturday.
Sunderland Harrier Micky Thompson and Sunderland Stroller Wendy Chapman will compete in the Over-50 category at Aintree.
Both athletes gain their first international vests after they caught the selectors’ eye for their performances over the year.
Chapman, a late starter in athletics, got her sporting career off to a good start by completing the London Marathon in a credible 3.20.14 as an Over-45 in 1917.
She has since improved on that performance with her 3.06.13 in this year’s Berlin Marathon, competing as an Over-50. And on Sunday she clocked 3.09.08 in the New York Marathon
She has also won her category in 14 events this year including the Sunderland 10k, The Great Birmingham 10k, Kielder Half Marathon and Darlington 10k. And she got the selectors nod after winning her category in the British Masters 5k at Horwich and finishing second in the BMAF 10k at Blyth.
Seaham athlete Thompson, who includes in his locker a best for 5000m of 14.43.4 and a 67.37 half marathon plus a 2.25.22 marathon, gained his selection through his performances in the championship events.
He clinched his place in the team by finishing third (35.18.20) in the British Masters’ 10,000m championship at Jarrow and was second (17.13) at Horwich in the BMAF 5k and was runner-up in the British Masters’ 10k road championships (34.56) at Blyth.
Also winning selection is Elvet Strider Stephen Jackson, the Sunderland Half Marathon champion, who competes in the Over-35 age group.
Sunderland Harrier Paul Merrison, an ever present in recent years, finds himself this year as first reserve in the Over-60s age group.
North East team members are: Over-50 Wendy Chapman (Sunderland Strollers), Over-60 Carole Page (Alnwick), Over-35 Conrad Franks (Gateshead), Over-35 Stephen Jackson (Elvet), Over-35 Michael Joyeux (Quakers), Over-45 Terry Scott (Tyne Bridge), Over-50 Lee Bennett (Morpeth), Over-50 Michael Thompson (Sunderland Harriers). Reserves are: Over-55 Heather Robinson (Jarrow and Hebburn), Over-45, Alistair Johnson (Quakers), Over-50 Chris Auld (Crook), Over-50 Martin Murray (New Marske), Over-60 Paul Merrison (Sunderland Harriers).
In the New York Marathon, Sunderland Harrier Over-40 Richard Borrowdale beat the three hour mark with his time of 2.58.08. Clubmate David Lash finished 67th 70.39 in a field 448 in the Derwentwater 10.
The annual Heaton Harriers Memorial Road Races take place on a traffic-free course on footpaths around Newcastle’s Town Moor on Sunday.
The 10k race will also incorporate the North East Masters’ 10k Championship for qualifying members of NEMAA.
Sunderland Harriers will be bidding to win the team race for the first time since 2015 when Nathan Reed in eighth, Ian Dixon 13th Liam Roarty 18th and Paul Blakey 19th, brought the trophy back to Sunderland for the first time since 2003.
This time the club will be relying on club captain Nathan Reed, Andy Powell, the winner of last year’s Sunderland 10k, Liam Taylor, with five road race victories to his name this year, Craig Gunn, the winner of this year’s Kielder Half Marathon plus Ian Ritchie and Paul Blakey.
Ryan McLeod holds the course with 29.32 and Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon’s course record is 34.04. A £200 bonus will be awarded if the records are beaten.
Timetable of events: 9.15: Mini Minor Under 11 Boys /Girls (minimum age 9 on 10/11/19) – Approx 1km. 9.30: Under 13 Boys/Girls (aged 11 & 12 on 31/08/19) – 3km. 9.45:Under 15 Boys/Girls (aged 13 & 14 on 31/08/19) – 3km. 10.15: Under 17 Men/Women and Under 20 men/women – 5km. (U17 aged 15 and 16 on 31/08/17. U20 aged 17, 18 & 19 on 31/08/19).
In accordance with tradition, there will be a one minute silence to precede the main race. Please ensure you are in the start area before 11am.
The Start/Finish is on the Town Moor. All races to be chip timed, including junior events.
The Race HQ is at the Royal Grammar School, Brandling House, Lambton