Sunderland Harriers and Houghton Harriers will have a small party of runners travelling to London for Saturday’s Saucony English National Cross Country Championships.

When entries closed for the 10 races, the programme had a huge 9472 runners entered.

The course at Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath is the most popular of all the venues and many North East Clubs will make the long journey to London for the championships.

Sunderland & Houghton Harriers Target Capital Gain In National Cross Country Championships.

The Sunderland Harriers down to run are: Senior Men: Sean Bagley, Paul Blakey, Steve McMahon, Alan McManus, Paul Merrison, Andy Powell, Paul Redman, Peter Richardson, Ian Ritchie and Karl Robinson.

Junior Men: Chris Bell, Sean Mackie and Mark Smith. Women: Vikki Cotton.

Houghton Harriers: Senior Men: Lee Dover, Rory Graham, Dave Gribben and Steve Johnson.

Under-15 Boys: Will Bellamy and Henry Johnson. Under-15 Girls: Laura Greggs, Lydia James and Nicole Phillips.

Four events have record entries, with the Senior Women up by 170 on the previous best (set in 2015) to 1694.

Since 2010 there has been a 30% rise in senior women entrants to emphasise the growing number of women attracted to the sport of endurance running.

The Under-13 Boys’ category has a field of 755, an increase of 107 on last year’s record.

Likewise, in the Under-15 Boys’ there is a small increase with 713 entered and the fourth record is in the Junior Women’s championship where 280 are down to run. This is 22 up on last year.

There are six other age groups in action and they all have good entry numbers.

The Under-13 Girls’ have 648 entries – the best number since 1996, while 634 have entered the Under-15 Girls’ race. This is best field since 1998.

High numbers continue in the Under-17 Women’s race with 407 entered. The Under-17 Men have 536 on the programme and in the Junior Men’s event the number is 371.

The biggest event is the Senior Men’s race which has 3428 entries.

This year’s event at Parliament Hill is the 16th time that a championship has been held at this venue since the first in 1950.

In last Saturday’s North East Road Relay Championships at Hetton, the fastest veteran in Sunderland Harriers victorious Over-40 men’s team was Rob Walker with 11.37 and Ian Dixon’s was timed at 11.43.....

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