MORPETH Harriers will be determined to underline their position as the region's leading senior men's outfit as they chase a hat-trick of victories in Saturday's Royal Signals Road Relay Championships at Hetton.

The Northumbrians have already established themselves as the North-East's top senior men's cross country exponents, having won the silver team medals in last month's North of England Championships after victory in the Durham Cathedral Relays, and are currently leading Division One of the North-East Harrier League after four of the six fixtures.

Last weekend at Wrekenton Morpeth demonstrated their strength-in-depth by finishing their six senior men's counters in the top 15, being led home by Teessider Richard Morrell, son of former Great Britain middle-distance international Tony Morrell. Morrell has thrived since linking up with Morpeth last year, winning the British Universities 5,000m bronze medal, and is one of the region's most improved all-round athletes.

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A record entry is expected today in the popular off-road event in Hetton Lyons Country Park, where the highlight of the four championship races is expected to be the six stage senior men's event over two laps of 2.2 miles on tarmac paths.

The event, hosted for the fifth time by Houghton Harriers, starts at 12 noon when Jarrow and Hebburn will defend their senior women's four-stage title.