ONE of the North-East’s oldest athletics clubs is to mark its 130th anniversary with a celebration track night.

Darlington Harriers will stage a programme of races for juniors and seniors on Wednesday September 22 at Eastbourne Sports Complex.

The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Cyndi Hughes, will be guest of honour at the event, which takes place between 6pm and 9pm.

The club was formed in 1891 by Thomas ‘Tom’ Henry Mountford, his brother Charles Mountford, and Robert Eden.

Both Mountford brothers were keen sportsmen, excelling in a range of sports, including athletics. Both played for Darlington Rugby Club, Charles played cricket for Darlington and became club president, while Thomas was a member of Darlington Cycling Club and also boxed.

The original Harriers hunted with a pack of beagles but were disbanded in 1889 when the pack was sold. When the running club formed two years later, the decision was taken to adopt the title of the former hunting club.

The club has produced three Olympians over the years: George Butterfield, Robert Leslie Hawkey, and Joy Grieveson.

Other stars to perform at the club include: Charlie Spedding, who later joined Gateshead Harriers and won the London Marathon; Lindsay Dunn, who coached Brendan Foster to a Commonwealth Games bronze medal; 3000m British Steeplechase champion Bill Wylie; and more recently indoor 3000m champion Lewis Moses.

The celebration event builds on the success of last year’s ‘Back to Track’ series that was extremely well supported by junior and senior athletes from a wide area.

There will be graded races in four categories: a 100m sprint and a one-mile challenge for juniors aged 13 and over, up to senior men’s and women’s level, and 75m and 600m races for Under-11s only.

Club chairman Paul Cook said: “Our 130th anniversary is a very proud landmark for us and we’re looking forward to celebrating it with a great night of athletics.”

“The race programme has something for everyone and follows the same winning formula that proved so popular in summer 2020. Open track races have been few and far between since the pandemic, and we know how much athletes appreciate the chance to compete in these shorter events.”

Individuals can enter a maximum of three events and each competitor will receive a commemorative medal. There’s still time to enter via this link: