SUNDERLAND Harriers had three runners inside the first eight finishers in the big Middlesbrough 5k Road Race yesterday.
The race, with a field of 2,000, started outside Middlesbrough Football Club’s Riverside Stadium and finished inside – in front of a large crowd in the stands.
And they had much to cheer, as Teessider Matty Hynes was the first to enter the stadium to a standing ovation, before stopping the clock on 14min 16sec – a personal best.
Now with Gateshead Harriers, the 26-year-old former footballer who has only been in sport a few years, moved to sixth on the 5k UK rankings list for 2014.
In second place was Paralympian 1500m silver medallist Wondye Fikre Indelb, 16 seconds down, with Morpeth’s 43-year-old veteran Ian Hudspith third with 14.50.
Sunderland’s Mark Hood started the Harriers’ rush in fourth place in 15.09, beating last year’s winner, New Marske’s Dominic Shaw (15.12), by one place.
Hood, who is gradually getting back to better form, said: “I’m pleased with that, it is starting to come together again. I’m looking for another 5k, but I don’t want to travel far. I will be doing the Sunderland 5k in July at Silksworth.’’
Kevin Calvert was the next Sunderland man to finish in a splendid sixth, knocking 20 seconds off his previous best to finish in 15.17.
Then came Craig Isherwood, who knocked spots off his previous fastest to finish eighth in 15.37.
Michael Barker was 22nd (16.28), Noel Hitchcock, making his 5k debut, finished 50th (17.13), Alan Knebal was 88th (18.04), Dean Phillips 132nd (19.18) and Sunderland captain Dave Savage recorded 19.37.
Sunderland Strollers had Steve Rankin with a good run in 10th (15.45) and Andy Powell finished 38th (16.56).
The women’s winner was Wallsend’s Danielle Hodgkinson in 25th overall (16.38).