Patrick Martin bags bronze in the Men’s Cross Country Championships

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SUNDERLAND’S Patrick Martin improved two places on last year to clinch the bronze medal in the Northern Senior Men’s Cross Country Championships at Pontefract on Saturday.

The former Sunderland Harrier, now competing for Stockport, finished with a flourish over the 12k undulating course to clock 39.59, just two seconds behind second-placed James Wilkinson (Leeds).

The winner was Martin’s clubmate Steve Vernon in 39.52 to make it three wins since his first in 2009. In fourth place was Liverpool’s Johnny Mellor (40.24).

The much-improved Manchester-based Martin, 26, has decided to miss the Inter Counties Championships on Saturday, March 10 in favour of competing in the Trafford 10k the next day.

First finisher from the North East was New Marske’s Andrew Wiles in sixth (40.34), Morpeth’s Lewis Timmins was tenth (41.01) and Durham’s Dan Garbutt was 13th (41.06).

Altrincham won a close team contest on 149pts from Leeds and Salford. Stockport were fifth (195). Morpeth were seventh, Durham 13th and Sunderland Harriers 30th.

The Sunderland counters were Steve Potts 140th, Craig Isherwood 172nd, Paul Redman 203rd, Alan Hodgson 297th, Fred Judson 523rd and David Savage 535th.

Sunderland Strollers had Chris Dunn 158th and Niall Mcardle 266th. Houghton Harrier Shaun McGrath finished 376th and Kevin Daglish 506th.

Durham’s Rosie Smith was run out of the medals over the second and final lap of the women’s championship. She finished fourth (31.15) behind winner Lizzie Adams of Hallamshire (30.40), Susan Partridge was second (30.54) and Jess Coulson (Stockport) finished third in 31.00. Morpeth’s Jane Hodgson was first North East finisher in seventh (32.26).

Sunderland Harrier Michelle Holt had her best ‘Northern’ to finish 35th (34.37). Clubmate Amy Coulson made further progress with her 25th finish in the under-17 women’s event. Oliver James had a below par run with 56th in the junior men’s race. Houghton’s Thomas Grey was 61st. Shildon’s Mark Shaw won the race.

Sunderland’s under-15 girls team finished 12th in their event with Danielle Elliott 49th, Alex Pearson 107th, Anna Robinson 110th and Merial Smithson 114th.

Birtley Lydia Turner in third and the team, that included Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett (68th), finished sixth. Houghton Harrier Eleanor Daglish was 45th.

Sunderland Harrier Joel Jones was second North East finisher in 12th in the under-15 boys race. Ben Craig was 83rd.

Michael Wilson finished 63rd in the under-17s with North East champions Luke Clark (South Shields) 21st.

Gateshead’s Kate Waugh triumphed in the under-13 girls race. Houghton Harrier Alex Brown was 36th in the under-13 boys.