FORMER Sunderland Harrier Patrick Martin, now in the yellow vest of Stockport Harriers, ran his best ever cross country race to finish second (41.02) to his clubmate Steve Vernon (40.01) in the senior men’s championship.
His brother Jack, who also moved to the North West and joined Stockport, finished an exhausted 11th (42.30) and said: “This is the toughest race I’ve ever run. It was shattering.’’
Both runners helped Stockport to finish second team (107 pts) to winners Leeds (84) in the team championship, despite having five runners in the first 14. Morpeth Harriers finished third (172).
Durham City Harrier Dan Garbutt powered round the last lap to snatch the bronze medal (41.26) and Andy Wiles of New Marske, the North East champion, finished sixth (42.09). Lewis Timmins in 12th led Morpeth to third place (42.33).
Sunderland Harriers finished 43rd team with Craig Isherwood 101st, Paul Redman 231st, Abiel Teklom 324th, Peter Richardson 461th, Dean Phillips 522nd and Len Christopher 538th.
Durham City Harrier Rosie Smith was the only North East athlete to make the top twenty in the women’s race. She finished sixth (31.25) after being in contention for a medal. The race was won by Hattie Archer of Hallamshire in 30.29. Alex Snook of Jarrow and Hebburn finished 24th (34.21) and Durham’s Aiveen Fox was 38th (35.53).
Birtley’s Lydia Turner was the only other North East individual medallist with third place in the under-17 contest.
In the under-15 girls, Sunderland’s Sophie Burnet (Birtley) finished 32nd and Sunderland Harrier Danielle Elliott was 40th.
Both athletes have put themselves forward for North East Inter Counties selection at Birmingham in March.
Sam Quinn in 346th, in the under-15 boys, was the only other youngster from Sunderland Harriers at Knowsley Park.
The club’s mini bus was forced to turn back for home on the A19, with a lot of disappointed youngsters, after a crash had blocked the road.