ANDY BURN made it third time lucky with victory in the Sunderland Strollers’ Pier-to-Pier race at Roker yesterday.
The Jarrow and Hebburn athlete also celebrated his birthday in style by winning emphatically from Sunderland Harrier Craig Isherwood.
“I was 32 on Saturday, so this win has come at the perfect time.” said Burn.
“I have been runner-up for the last two years, so I’m delighted to win it at last. I eased away from Craig at about the halfway point and the gap just continued to grow. I never felt under threat.”
Isherwood, third in the Sunderland City 10k last Sunday, easily beat his previous best position in the race of tenth in 2012.
He said: “I’ve had a hard week, training wise and I didn’t ease down for this race. Andy was just too strong for me today, but I expect to get closer to him as the summer progresses.”
The 7.5-mile race from South Shields to Roker Pier, allows runners to choose their own route but they must keep off the highway.
In an unexpected third place was Sunderland Stroller Steve Rankin, who found himself in that spot after five runners ahead of him wandered off the recognised route.
It was Durham City Harrier international Rosie Smith, the women’s winner in 2011, who led the pack around the detour of the nature reserve, after passing Souter lighthouse.
She had opened a gate and entered the nature reserve instead of dropping back down to follow the two leaders, adding about 500 yards to the distance.
She did well to get back up to fourth place overall to win the women’s race by nearly four minutes. Jarrow over-45 veteran Elaine Leslie was second (45.01) and unattached runner Lisa Atkinson was third (48.55).
Sunderland Harrier Paul Redman, in 24th, was first over-50 (43.12) and Ken Maynard (Sunderland Strollers) was first over-55 in 26th (43.28). There were 728 finishers.
Results: 1 Andy Burn (Jarr & Heb) 37.53, 2 Craig Isherwood (Sun Harr) 38.32, 3 Steve Rankin (Sun Stroll) 40.44, 4 Rosie Smith (Durham) 41.10, 5 Paul Turner V40 (Elswick) 41.16, 6 Michael Edwards (Sun Stroll) 41.32, 7 Jordan Bell (Blackhill) 41.38, 8 Craig Deacon (Jarr & Heb) 41.39, 9 Bradley Clough (Blyth) 41.42, 10 Andrew Henderson (Blyth) 42.09, 11 Michael Laws (Sun Stroll) 42.11, 12 Matty Tomlinson V40 (Tyne Bridge) 42.28, 13 Steve McMahon (Sun Stroll) 42.29, 14 Kevin Emmett V45 (Jarr & Heb) 42.31, 15 Magnus McGillivary (Heaton) 42.33.
H Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon was forced to pull out of the Highgate Harriers’ Night of 10,000m in London on Saturday.
She suffered a calf and Achillers problem during the race won by 40-year-old Jo Pavey (Exeter) in 32.11.04. Wallsend Harrier Sonia Samuels was 12th (33.54.36).
In the men’s race won by Aldershot’s Andy Vernon (28.26.59), the North Easts Matty Hynes was fourth (29.20.07), Peter Newton was 10th (30.06.47) and Durham City Harrier Dan Garbutt was 11th (30.10.18).