A KEEN runner has been called up to represent England in a national cross-country competition.

John Clifford, 46, is one of six selected for the England squad’s 45 to 50-year-old category in the British and Irish Masters Cross Country International competition.

It is the second time the firefighter, of St Helen Auckland, County Durham, has competed in the challenge which sees teams from England, Scotland, Wales and both northern and southern Ireland compete.

Mr Clifford, who has been running for about ten years said he really enjoys being part of the Evenwood Road Runners, which he joined three years ago and competes for the club regularly.

He qualified after judges analysed several of his race times to pit him against fellow entrants.

He is now looking forward to completing the mystery six-mile course at the event in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on November 18.

Mr Clifford said his team came second last year but were hoping to clinch the top spot for their age category this year.