A RARE gap in the cricket calendar means a team of the region's leading sportsmen can take part in this year's half marathon.

Durham County cricketers Keaton Jennings, Chris Rushworth and Michael Richardson, along with academy director John Windows, are taking part in this year’s Simplyhealth Great North Run.

Usually the players are involved in County Championship action throughout September, but a fixture break means they can join the thousands pounding the streets from Newcastle to South Shields.

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Keaton Jennings, who is raising money for the Durham Cricket Foundation, said: “This will be my first Great North Run and it’s great to finally get the chance to take part in such a special event.

“We’ve got a little break in the fixtures this year and it gives us a chance to continue our fitness training during the season.

“It’s a great day for the city and I’m delighted to be able to raise funds for Durham’s foundation.”

Durham Foundation manager, Josie Pointon said: “The cricket players play an important part in raising the aspirations of our local community and to see them giving back to the game of cricket just showcases what positive role models they are for the young people of this region."

She added: “Credit to the boys for taking time out of their busy training schedules in order to take part in the race and commit to fundraise for these important causes.”