The Sunderland Harriers Cross Country Grand Prix is at the halfway stage of the season with the penultimate Harrier League fixture at Thornley Hall Farm, Peterlee, on Saturday.

Following that comes the Northern Championships at Pontefract Park on Saturday 29th of January, the Sherman Cup and Davison Shield at Temple Park, South Shields, on Saturday 12th of February, the National Championships at Parliament Hill, London on 26th of February and the final Harrier League at Alnwick Castle on Saturday the 5th of March.

Three athletes lead the competition with Alyson West, Paul Redman and Michael Edwards, all on 20 points.

Grand Prix Prizes For Senior Mud Skippers.

Others in with a chance of getting among the prizes are: Jessica Fox with 19pts, Andrew Hughes 18, Dale Wilkinson 18, Mark Anderson 17, Dave Lash 17, Linda Mudford 16, Michael Rodenby 16, Chris Bell 16, Cameron Lawton 15, Nathan Reed 15, Alex Seed 15, Liam Taylor 12, Michael Wilson 16, Owen Walpole,11, Steven Jackson 11, Connor Prior 10.

The remaining points scoring opportunities are: Harrier League plus Sherman Cup and Davison Shield 3 points, North East Championships 6 points, Northern Championships 8 points, National Championships 10 points. Team counter an additional one point.

Prizes are awarded to the first five with first receiving £150, Second: £125, third: £100, fourth: £50, fifth: £25. The Cross Country Grand Prix is open to all Sunderland Harriers men and women.

The Harrier League on Saturday sees Sunderland Harriers attempt to close down on Morpeth Harriers at the top of the First Division. Morpeth head the table on eight points, Sunderland are second with 11pts, and Tyne Bridge are third on 12pts. With just two fixtures remaining it looks like the title will be fought out between the three clubs.

Sunderland’s team is: Slow pack David Lash, Paul Merrison, and Jordan Latimer. Medium pack Chris Bell, Michael Rodenby, and Joe Pomfret. While fast pack runners are Michael Edwards, Sam Thurlbeck, Stephen Jackson, Nathan Reed, and Craig Gunn. Sunderland are the only club who can boast they have never been outside the First Division.

Sunderland Harriers women are hanging onto a promotion spot in Division Two after having their worst result of the season at Aykley Heads. They finished eighth of 10 competing clubs.

Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers former president Alf Walsh passed away on Friday 3rd December at the aged 102. Walsh began offering his support as an athletics timekeeper in the 1960s, after his son took up the sport. But while Alf Jnr’s interest in running waned, his father’s involvement grew, leading him to travel the country as he put his skills to use through the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs.

Alf was part of the backbone of local and regional athletics for decades. He was the official timekeeper at Burn Road races up until his retirement from the sport at the age 97. He officiated at road, track and field and cross country races and also gained England honours.

Walsh would have been a proud man on Sunday as Burn Road Harriers had the two winners of their Old Monks Race at Hart Village. Simon Bennett won the men’s race (32:37) and Charlotte Perkins (41:40) won the women’s race.
Sunderland Stroller Mike Hobson Over-50 finished 38th (42:53). Houghton Harrier Over-60 James Croft was 68th (49:21).