National bronze medal delight for Birtley youngsters

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THE North East came away from the mud-splattered National Cross Country Championships with two bronze medals.

Morpeth’s Nick Swinburn improved from his fourth place of last year at Nottingham to take bronze in the senior men’s race in London.

And Birtley’s under-17 women’s team – Kate Waugh in eighth, Amber Leigh 31st, Philippa Chambers 58th and Katie Gunn 59th – also finished third.

The senior men’s race was won by Charlie Hulson of Sale in 39min 12sec from Hallamshire’s Andrew Heyes second (39.31) and Swinburn, who recorded 39.39.

Durham City Harrier Dan Garbutt was only seven seconds behind Swinburn with a terrific fourth-place finish in the demanding conditions.

Sunderland Harriers turned out a team, missing many of their leading men, in the race that saw a field of more than 2,000 finishers.

They finished fourth North East team. First home for the royal blues was Craig Isherwood, with his best National performance, finishing 158th. He was followed by Michael Barker 431st, Liam Roarty 475th, Paul Redman 1,088th, Tony Allinson 1,226th and Dave Savage 1,393rd.

In the nine-to count team competition, Harriers finished 54th, with Fred Judson 1,546th, Muzzy Gun 1,627th and Dean Phillips 1,670th, adding to the score. Notts won the team race, with Morpeth Harriers fifth.

Aldershot’s Lilly Partridge won the women’s race in 30.07. Morpeth’s Emma Holt in 27th (33.04) and Rachel Lundgren 29th (33.07) were the first finishers from the North East. Sunderland Harriers placed Judith Thirlwell in 285th, Vikki Cotton 735th and Shelby Gray 779th.

Washington’s Barry Maskell (Gateshead) was 20th in the junior men’s race. Sunderland Harriers had Mark Smith in 119th and Johnny Howe 145th in the under-17s. Houghton twins Eva Hardie and Lily Hardie were 158th and 205th respectively in the under-13s.