SUNDERLAND Harrier Mark Hood has not been disheartened by his disappointing performance in the Frankfurt Marathon.
The 32-year-old made a surprise appearance over the 26.2 miles distance when he originally intended to act as a pacemaker to his former clubmate Patrick Martin.
The Sunderland Half Marathon of the North race champion’s intention was to take Martin to halfway to put him on course for a sub 2hr 20min clocking. But the Stockport Harrier did not start after suffering a leg stress fracture.
They had both been booked for the trip, months before the race, so they still travelled to Germany. Martin now reduced to a spectator’s role and Hood, deciding at the last minute, to line-up for the classic distance.
The primary school teacher said: “I was far from being in my best shape. I was suffering from a throat infection and was forced to miss training in the week before the race.
“On the Friday, the day before I travelled, the headmaster wanted to send me home. But I still decided to drive to Pat’s home in Manchester to stay overnight before flying to Germany.
“The race was on Sunday and after feeling a little better I took my place on the start line, not knowing what to expect. I put a map of the area in my shorts pocket, in case I was forced to drop out and I had to find my own way back to the race hotel.
Hood, surprisingly, found himself running strongly in a big pack, minutes behind the African leaders and following Morpeth Harrier and rival Nick Swinburn , who went onto to clock 2hr 28min.
“I was on for about 2hr 26min and started moving away from the group after passing halfway in 73min 10sec. I was feeling quite good and could see Nick coming back to me.
“But at 17 miles I was in trouble, I was struggling with spasms from my diaphragm, it was the same problem that forced me to stop in the Sunderland half marathon.
“My pace dropped dramatically and I was now running at my Sunday run pace. At 18 miles I was at the furthest point away from the race hotel, so I had to keep going, as this was the shortest route back to the finish.
Hood had no idea what time he was on for, but he eventually made it, struggling to the end, in a dejected 110th in 2.35.10.
But he was not totally dismayed by his experience, as he is now considering running the London Marathon. If that does not happen, he also has the Berlin Marathon pencilled in for next autumn.
But his immediate thoughts are now with the cross country season, where he intends to go for his fourth North East title at South Shields in December.
Before then he will run a Harrier League at either Jarrow or Wallington in preparation for his December 14th date.
Hood, a real tough of the track with his attitude to his training where he runs up to 100 miles each week, is unfortunately prone to injury.
If he can get a clear run from now to December, he will certainly be a force to be reckoned with at Temple Park.
H Heaton Harriers host their Memorial 10K Road Race and races for youngsters at Newcastle’s Town Moor on Sunday. The meeting starts at 9.40am with the under-11 boys’ and girls’ race.
The 10k is preceded with a minutes silence at 11.00am. The race headquarters have moved to the Royal Grammar School, Lambton Road, Jesmond NE2 4DX.