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Healthy turnout expected at Blaydon
NORTH-EAST athletics officials are expecting a record turnout for Saturday's opening Start Fitness North-East Harrier League fixture at Blaydon.
The annual six-fixture competition attracted record fields for the men's and women's events last season, when Morpeth Harriers beat arch-rivals Gateshead to claim the senior men's Sisterton Cup.
Now over 1,000 enthusiasts are expected to compete at Blaydon on the popular Shipdon Pond course.
Morpeth are again expected to be the team to beat in the senior men's event, but they can expect fierce competition from Gateshead, Sunderland and newly-promoted Tyne Bridge Harriers, who have gone from strength to strength since their formation four years ago.
Sunderland, who have won the coveted trophy 24 times since 1980, recovered after a dreadful start last year, finishing ninth out of ten in the opening fixture, to take the bronze medals, while Tyne Bridge, showing great strength in depth, reached the top flight after finishing champions in consecutive seasons in the two lower divisions, losing only once.
The programme today, with approximate start times, is: 12.15pm Under-11s; 12.25 Under-13 Girls; 12.35 Under-13 Boys; 12.45 Under-15 Girls; 12.55 Under-15 Boys; 1.05 Under-17 and 20 Women; 1.10 Senior/Veteran Women; 2.00 Under-17 Men; 2.10 Senior/Veteran Men.