Hood, Avery scoop top accolades

BIG IMPROVER: Nathan Reed.
BIG IMPROVER: Nathan Reed.
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MARK HOOD and Michelle Avery scooped the top awards at Sunderland Harriers’ presentation night at the club’s annual meeting.

Hood was awarded the trophy for the leading club male performance during the year through his impressive win in the Sunderland Half Marathon of the North from the Stadium of Light in April.

It was a bizarre race, as Hood was the only runner to complete the full course. The rest of the field ran a shorter distance after missing out a loop through a marshalling error. But Hood had such a big lead, that he was still a decisive winner.

Avery won the women’s prize after her first place finishers in the Lambton Challenge, Alnwick 10k, Pier-to-Pier event and Penshaw Hill race.

Nathan Reed was voted the most improved runner through his PB’s over 800m (1.56.3), 1500m (3.57.22), 3000m 8.38.7, 5000m (15.16.86) and 5k road (15.47). He was also the first Sunderland Harrier, apart from Brian Rushworth, to win the Penshaw Hill race.

Oliver James, now in the States on an athletics’ scholarship at New Orleans University, won the best 1500m/mile performance through his 3.53.49 clocking.

Kojoe Otoo was judged to be the best newcomer after a dramatic lift in form saw him finish 23rd in the Penshaw Hill race. He has struggled with a foot injury since, but is hopeful of a return to the cross country scene at the end of the month.

The top female veteran was Sandra Jackson with her first place finishers in the over-40 North East indoor 60m plus 100m and 200m outdoors.

Brian Rushworth was the leading male veteran with his second place in the British Masters’ Cross Country Championships at Herrington Country Park.

Merit awards were presented to young athletes in the club, whose performances had been judged to be the best in their age groups.

They were Hollie Lancaster, the North East under-17 200m gold medallist, Laura Hand for her North East 800m fourth place performance and Jessica Fox for her 3000m ranking.

The boys’ were: Logan Powell, the under-17 North East 100m bronze medallist, Josh Wilson under-15 100m bronze medallist and Joel Jones, North East 3000m bronze medallist.

Dean Phillips won the award for going the extra mile for volunteering service.