Mark Hood feels the pace

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SUNDERLAND Harrier Mark Hood was just 35 seconds outside his best when finishing 23rd in yesterday’s Bupa Great North Run.

The 30-year-old looked to be on course to go under his 66.33 clocking from 2008, but slowed through exhaustion on the long finishing straight along the South Shields sea-front.

After passing 10 miles in 50.30, he was looking to run sub 66.30 but at the 12-mile marker he started to struggle.

“I wanted to run the last mile in under five-minutes, but just couldn’t lift my form,’’ he said after finishing second North East finisher in 67.08.

“I had been going alright, running five minute miles, but my legs were really tired and I couldn’t do anything about it. The lad I was running with down the steep bank on to the seafront ended up running 66.36, so I’m a bit disappointed. I hoped to go faster.’’

Only Morpeth veteran Ian Hudspith was ahead of Hood at the finish. The 41-year-old finished 15th in 64.14. Clubmate Peter Newton was third from the region in 24th (67.23), Then came Middlesbrough’s Matthew Jones 27th (68.01), Ian Harding (Morpeth) 28th 68.02, James Buis (Heaton) 29th (68.07), Graeme Taylor (Jarrow and Hebburn) 33rd (70.42).

Sunderland Stroller Liam Taylor chopped over seven minutes off his previous best to finish 33rd in 70.42. He was followed by Durham’s James Askew 35th in 70.49, Iain Twaddle (NSP) 39th (71.19), Ryan McLeod, whose father Mike won the first GNR, was 41st (72.23), Birtley’s Darren Purvis finished 43rd (72.30) and Morpeth veteran Terry Wall was 44th (72.32).

Sunderland Harrier Kevin Calvert knocked chunks off his previous best to finish 55th in 74.10. Clubmate Steven Duffy, running with a stress fracture of the elbow, also recorded a PB in 58th (74.27) as did Steven Graham in 112th (1.19.32). Len Christopher was the third over-60 to finish in 92.02 and Eddie Maddison was the 11th in the same age group with 1.41.22 to maintain his 100 per cent record of having competed in everyone of the 31 GNR’s.

Other Harrier performances were Sean Smith (1.20.12), Paul Cooper (1.23.51) Fred Judson 1.31.19 and Susan Clughen (1.54.40).

Sunderland Strollers had Colin Armour on 1.26.35, Rachel Ball (1.37.45), Chris Brampton (1.38.25), Tony Allen (1.42.29) and Tracey Burlinson (1.56.54).

MARTIN MATHATHI shattered the course record with a remarkable performance in yesterday’s Bupa Great North Run.

The Kenyan claimed the sixth fastest time for the half marathon when taking nine seconds off Zersenay Tadese’s 2005 record with his blistering run of 58 minutes 56 seconds.

It was a great day for Kenyan athletes as Lucy Karbuu made it a golden double with victory (67.06) in the women’s race for the third fastest GNR time ever recorded.

The best performance from British athletes came from Jo Pavey and Helen Clitheroe who finished fourth and fifth.

In the men’s race, it was Jonathan Maiyo, who was the first to show his hand, breaking clear after five miles, but it was Mathathi who had taken charge of the race by eight miles and from then on he drew further away from his rivals.

“My manager told me I could run a 59-minutes race and he gave me a lot of motivation and encouragement,” said Mathathi, a bronze medallist in the 10,000m at the 2007 World Championship.

Maiyo finished in second place, 31 seconds behind, while London Marathon winner Emmanuel Mutai came third in 59.52. Keith Gerrard was the first Briton to finish, 10th, in a time of 63:39.

The women’s race was dominated by Kabuu, who was joined at the front of the field by defending champion Berhane Adere.

But by the five-mile marker Kabuu established a big lead and her relentless pace soon saw her disappear into the distance.

Kabuu became one of a select band of women to run the half marathon in under 67 minutes. This superb performance was achieved in only her second race since giving birth to her daughter, Angel.

She said: “I have trained well, and I expected to win. I was expecting to run a good time.”

Jessica Augusto who crossed the line in 69.27, finished second and her Portuguese colleague Marissa Barros repeated her third position of a year ago to record 70.29.

Pavey, who clocked 70.49, was forced to miss the World Athletics Championships in Daegu with a foot injury, was pleased with her race.

“I’m pleased to be back racing. It would have been nice to get a quicker time but the plan is to do well in the New York marathon in November.

“I lacked a bit of race fitness so it was good to have Helen (Clitheroe) with me so we could pick off runners together. I think it was a good stepping stone for my bigger plans.”

Clitheroe celebrated the greatest year of her career after taking the European Indoor 3,000 title, recorded 70.57. The 37-year-old said: “I really had no expectations of what I could do, there was no time set in my mind. At three miles I went through horrible problems. But I got back and with Jo we worked really hard together. I felt like doing cartwheels down the last mile.”

Chester-le-Street’s Freya Murray, back to competition after a long term injury problems, finished tenth (72.44). Sunderland Harrier Michelle Holt, also running from the elite start line finished 18th in a time well outside her best (83.02).

Britain’s Shelly Woods won the women’s wheelchair race in a time of 50.14 for her third victory in the event.

Josh Cassidy, from Canada, set a new a course record of 37.52 to win the men’s event.