PATRICK MARTIN achieved the highest position ever by a Sunderland runner in the 125th English National Cross Country Championships at London on Saturday.
The Manchester-based athlete took an impressive tenth position (36.58) after finishing 94th on the same course at Parliament Hill Fields three years ago.
He surpassed his former Sunderland Harrier clubmate Brian Rushworth’s best race in the National, when he finished 11th at Newark in 1992.
Patrick and his brother Jack, who finshed 40th, helped their new club Stockport Harriers to third team place (310pts), behind Leeds (219) and Tipton (304). Morpeth were the first North East club in seventh and they had Jon Taylor as the first runner from the region in ninth (36.53).
Matt Nicholson in 35th and Lewis Timmins 37th helped to get Morpeth off to a good start in the race won by Keith Gerard of Newham (35.56) from defending champion, Stockport’s Steve Vernon (36.07.
Sunderland’s Harriers first runner home was Craig Isherwood in 401st.
Alan Hodgson was 686th, Dave Savage 1220th, Fred Judson 1260th and Dean Phillips 1423rd.
In the women’s race Durham City Harrier Rosie Smith was 28th (30.06) in the event won by Charnwood’s Gemma Steel (27.06) from Steph Twell (27.09).
Joel Jones was 96th, Ben Craig 220th and James McAnaney 257th in the under-15 boys race. Their Sunderland Harriers club mate Michael Wilson was 173rd under-17.
Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett was 108th in the under-15 girls and her Birtley clubmate Lydia Turner was 22nd.
The North East won only one medal from the ten events on the programme with Gateshead’s Markum Lonsdale’s second place in the under-13s event.
H Sunderland Harrier Holly Lancaster scooped the gold medal in the under-15s 60m (8.18) in the North East Indoor Championships at Gateshead.
There were also gold medals for veterans Amanda Edwards in the over-35 60m (9.13) and over-40 Sandra Jackson (9.50). Graham Lee was second over-35 (8.38) and Steve Scott was third over -40 (8.99).
Houghton Harrier Ben Mitchell won the under- shot (10.24) and was third in the long jump (4.87), Rachel Scott was third in the under-17 high jump with the same height as the winner (1.50) and third in the 60m hurdles (9.61). Owen Barrass was second in the under-17 shot (11.36).