Joe Armstrong is a recent acquisition to Sunderland Harriers ranks, joining the Wearsiders after departing from Morpeth Harriers. He is a talented middle-distance runner who has been competing from the age of 10 and now at the age of 24 is hitting the best form of career.
This was emphasized recently with two superb performances at the Northern 12- Stage Road Relay Championships at Birkenhead where he clocked the third fastest time of the day and at the quality Podium 5k where he finished third again, six days after his performance at Birkenhead.
“The Northern 12-stage relay was my first race since November, but I knew training had been going well and with it being my Sunderland debut I put a little pressure on myself to go out and put in a special performance. The most pleasing thing was that the full team performed well that day. A top 10 finish for the club is a big step in the right direction.’’
"I'd really like to highlight the warm welcome I’ve received from all members of the club since joining and particularly single out Albert James for making the move happen. I’m really looking forward to representing the club for years to come. I hope that with some strong performances by myself and other members of the club we can continue to attract local talent to Sunderland that will help the club grow and thrive for years to come."
“I’ve been lucky to have had a number of excellent coaches up to this point who have always been keen to make sure my best years of running are now."
“There are countless examples of athletes who run their best times before they turn 20 and drop out of the sport, whereas I’d like to think I’m just reaching my peak now and my best years will be in the royal blue of Sunderland.
I always knew I was a reasonably talented as a junior, notably with top 10 finishes in the National Cross Country and Inter-Counties events. It’s important that young athletes understand everyone develops at different rates, so just because success isn’t immediate doesn’t mean it won’t come. Certainly, in my younger years it was all about enjoying running, with the competitive focus coming later on down the line."
“I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t run. I joined Chester-le-Street Harriers when I was about 10 years old but even before that I have really good memories of my dad and grandad taking me along to the track. I’m currently coached by David Lowes. Our group usually train in Durham three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday with a regular mix of track, grass and road sessions. My weekly mileage tends to fluctuate throughout the year, touching around 65 miles in the winter and 50-55 miles in the summer."
“At the moment I’d say my favourite event is 1500m and that’s what I’m preparing for this summer, but over the next few years I’m looking forward to stepping up to 5000m. My current PB for 1500m is 3:49, although recent training suggests I’m on course to improve that this summer. That time is from 2020 when there were only a handful of races through the pandemic so I’m confident there’s more to come. My 5k PB currently stands at 14:19, again from 2020, but it’s an ambition of mine over the next few years to try and break the 14-minute barrier."
“In recent years I’ve often preferred racing for fast times rather than to win championships, but that’s an approach I may look to change this year to pick up some silverware. In the short term my main aim is to rewrite my current PBs on the track. I’ve recently been warm weather training in Monte Gordo, Portugal, in preparation for the first track races of the season. In the longer term, I’d hope that with some strong performances by myself and other members of the club we can continue attract local talent to Sunderland that will help the club grow and thrive for years to come."
“I recently completed my Masters degree at Durham University in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences. I currently work for an organisation called County Durham Sport, which is essentially the local arm of Sport England. My role as Children and Young People Lead is to encourage the next generation across County Durham to be more active, the benefits of which I know personally all too well."
“My brother Scott also runs for Sunderland and is also coached by David. It’s great to train with him as he specialises at 800m so he always keeps me on my toes over the shorter reps in training and it’s always competitive!”