Patrick Martin shines in Road Relay

GREAT BATTLE: Patrick Martin races alongside Mongolian Olympic marathon runner Serod Batochir.

GREAT BATTLE: Patrick Martin races alongside Mongolian Olympic marathon runner Serod Batochir.

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PATRICK MARTIN was one of the top performers in the National 12-Stage Road Relay Championship at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.

The Sunderland Harrier clocked the seventh fastest time of the day for the 5.38 miles long leg after an epic duel on the opening stage at Sutton Park.

He clocked 26.10 after finishing a close third behind Holmfirth’s Mark Buckingham (26.07) and Morpeth’s Mongolian Olympian Serod Batochir (26.08).

That superb performance lifted him to fourth on the Sunderland all-time list and second on the Martin family role of honour.

Ahead of him in the Martin household is his father Adrian, who recorded 26.02 for Gateshead Harriers when they finished third in 1980. Adrian was there to cheer on his family, as his other son Jack was in action on the long stage three.

Jack was the second quickest Sunderland Harrier with his stint of 27.20, moving the club up four places to 15th.

Patrick said: “I’m a little bit disappointed as I thought I could have won the leg. Jack and I had stomach problems during the week and it did hold me back a little. I didn’t feel I was going well. I was hoping to go under 26 minutes.’’

Despite Sunderland’s good start, the Wearsiders eventually finished seventh northern club in 30th (4.37.19).

The rest of the team was Jake Archer, who took over from Patrick on the short leg two (2.995 miles), recording 16.36 for 19th. Jack was next and then came Damien Weston (25th – 17.22), Gavin Massingham (19th – 27.45), Norman Younger (23rd – 16.56), Mark Hood (21st – 29.00), Jason Waite (24th – 17.48), Noel Hitchcock (27th –31.58), George Harden (28th – 17.24), Paul Redman (30th – 31.10) and Alan Hodgson (30th – 17.51).

This was Massingham’s debut over the distance and he was content with his run, while Hood was bitterly disappointed with his performance, blaming a knee problem for his slow time. Morpeth Harriers (4.11.02) slipped from first to third on the final leg after veteran Ian Hudspith had steered them into the lead (26.25) on the penultimate leg. Anchorman Matt Nicholson (14.51) was caught by winners Tipton (4.10.36) – Ian Rawlinson (14.25) and Newham and Essex Beagles (4.10.58) – James Shane 14.19.

Morpeth’s Nick McCormack was the fastest overall short stage runner (13.49) to go 20th on the all-time list and Tipton’s Phil Nicholls was the best over the long stage (25.46).