KEVIN CALVERT and Craig Isherwood shattered their road race personal bests yesterday to emphasise their improvement since joining up with Sunderland Harriers.
Calvert, who cut his teeth with Sunderland Strollers, joined up with the Harriers nearly two years ago and his improvement was there for all to see in the Hartepool Marina five-mile road race.
He finished second in a huge personal best of 25.39 after finishing 10th last year in 28.12.
Meanwhile in the Blyth 10k, Isherwood, a club member for just six months, made a massive improvement, chopping an astonishing eight minutes off his previous best, set in the Sunderland City 10k last year where he clocked 43 minutes. At Blyth he finished 15th in 35.21.
The 25-year-old Calvert, who is guided by former marathon international Glenn Forster, has been training recently with clubmate and three-times North East Cross Country champion Mark Hood.
He said: “I’m really pleased with my time and I’m determined to continue my improvement.
“I’ll be looking for under 25 minutes next year. The sessions with Mark are definitely helping me.’’
The winner at Hartlepool was New Marske Harrier Andrew Wiles (24.38), who recorded the second-fastest short stage time in the previous day’s North of England Road Relay at Liverpool.
Sunderland Strollers were out in force, as the race was part of the Ashbrooke club’s grand prix.
First home was Steve Rankin in 11th (28.28), then came veteran Steve McMahon in 15th (28.53), James Hubbard 25th (29.55), Harry Harrison 44th (31.26), Colin Armour 47th (31.26), Gerry Ritchie 49th (31.28) and Tim Allsop also scraped inside the top 50 in 50th (31.31).
Chester-le-Street’s David McGukin was first over-60 in 51st (31.34) and Sunderland Harrier Peter Richardson was second in 65th (32.19).
The women’s winner was Middlesbrough’s Kerry Matthew in 27th (30.00) from Carolyn Summersgil (30.39) and Louise Rodgers (32.49).
At Blyth, Sale’s Daniel Bradford won in 31.36 from South Shields Harrier Luke Adams (32.11) and Low Fell’s John Archer (32.59).
First Sunderland Harrier was veteran Paul Besford in ninth (34.19), the 27-year-old Isherwood was 15th and Alan Hodgson 39th (37.20).
Sunderland Strollers had Graham Thorpe in 26th (36.32) and Paul Roper first over-50 in 27th (36.36).
The women’s winner was Wallsend’s Vicky Hindson in 37.57. Sunderland Harrier Ingrid Hope was first over-50 in 42.19 and Stroller Lynne Valentine was second (44.39).
H In the Northern 12-Stage Road Relay Championship at Liverpool, former Sunderland Harriers Patrick and Jack Martin were in fine form for Stockport Harriers, who finished fifth.
They clocked the sixth and seventh-fastest long-stage times, with Patrick on 22.23 and Jack (22.26).
The fastest was Liverpool’s Johhny Mellor (21.43) who led his club to victory from Salford. Morpeth, who had Nick McCormack on (21.47), were third.