THE Durham City Harriers’ Summer cross-country relays was the biggest club relay event the North East has ever seen.
Nearly 150 teams competed at the Racecourse on the banks of the Wear and the 3x3000m race over two laps of 1500m proved a real test for officials and the cathedral club themselves.
With so many different categories competing, it took an age to formulate the results and the awarding of prizes to the winning teams.
Sunderland Harriers found themselves unlucky in not being on the prize list after their third leg runner, Jake Archer, suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury that caused him to limp over the line in fourth place in the senior men’s relay.
The Barnes athlete, a former North East 800m under-17 champion, dropped from third place to a final fourth (10.14) after Jarrow and Hebburn’s Andy Burn sailed passed him (9.26) to steal the bronze medals.
Sunderland had got off to a steady start after Michael Barker had finished eighth (9.46) on the opening leg before handing over to Oliver James who lifted the team up to third with his 9.29 leg. James clocked the joint fifth fastest time of the day and the team’s final time was 29.29. Jarrow finished on 29.08.
Tyne Bridge Harriers won the relay (28.03) with their Mark Fenwick, on the opening lap, running the fastest time of the day (8.59). Durham City Harriers finished runners-up (28.10) with their team of Dan Jenkin (9.07), Michael Grimes (9.29) and Jon Baines (9.34).
Sunderland Strollers were 11th (30.06) with Steve Rankin (9.34), Michael Edwards (10.36) and Steve McMahon (9.55).
Sunderland Harriers B were 27th (33.22) with Alan Knebel (10.59), Matthew Fearn (10.53) and George Harden (11.30).
Birtley won the women’s race (32.58) with Tracy Millmore (11.01), Anna Fawcett (11.46) and Lydia Turner with fastest time overall (10.11). Sunderland Strollers finished eighth through Ashleigh Thorpe (12.25), Jenna Maynard (12.58) and Vicki Booth (12.18).
The Strollers’ veteran women were third in their relay with Louise Otterson (13.35), Lyne Valentine (12.55) and Mel Davies (14.24).