Scott Ellis claimed his second North East Vending Penshaw Hill Race title with a comfortable victory last night.
The North Shields athlete, the winner in 2014, went unchallenged as he also claimed the prime prize for being the first athlete to the famous monument on the opening lap.
He said: “Nobody came with me.
“I was surprised I was on my own so soon into the race. I love this race and I have told the club about it.
“It is great to come here again and win again.’’
Ellis was far quicker (16min 44sec) than his winning performance of 2014 when he clocked 17.09 and he recorded 17.08 last year in fourth. Scott’s twin brother, Simon, finished in 15th place (19.45).
In second place was Liam Taylor, the first man to beat Penshaw kingpin Brian Rushworth, in the 27th strength-sapping race in 2011.
The former Sunderland Stroller was having his first race since 2014. And in his comeback he endured a neck and neck struggle with Sunderland Harrier Michael Barker for the runners-up position.
It was not until the final gruelling climb to the monument that Taylor dug deep into his reserves to pass the flagging Barker to take second place, finishing six seconds ahead of his rival.
But Barker had the satisfaction of being the first Sunderland Harrier home, ahead of Over-45 Micky Thompson in fifth spot.
But hosts Sunderland Harriers did have a winner of the women’s race in the improving Alice Smith, who finished third last year on her debut.
Like the men’s winner, she also won her prime award. She also had a runaway victory, finishing 12th overall in 18.58, beating her nearest challenger and club-mate Nikki Woodword by nearly two and half minutes.
In third place was Stroller Ashley Bennett, while Sunderland Harrier Vicki Cotton was first Over-35 veteran in the prize list.
Results: 1 Scott Ellis (North Shields Poly) 16.44, 2 Liam Taylor (unatt) 17.19, 3 Michael Barker (Sunderland Harriers) 17.25, 4 Jack Brown (Jarrow & Hebburn) 17.42, 5 Michael Thompson (Sunderland Harriers V45) 17.49, 6 Steven Potts (Sunderland Harriers V40) 18.10, 7 Steve Everett (Durham V55) 18.11, 8 Paul Blakey (Sunderland Harriers V40) 18.12, 9 Chris Bell (Sunderland Harriers) 18.18, 10 Andy Brown (Saltaire V45) 18.30, 11 Peter Farnie (Birtley V40) 18.42, 12 Alice Smith (Sunderland Harriers) 18.58, 13 Chris Kennedy (Saltwell V41) 19.26, 14 Dave Morrow (Jarrow & Hebburn) 19.30, 15 Simon Ellis (North Shields Poly) 19.45, 16 Martin Blenkinsop (Sunderland Harriers V45) 19.53, 17 Daniel Smith (Sunderland Harriers) 20.11, 18 Karl Edwards (Burn Road V60) 20.30, 19 Neil Kavanagh (Low Fell) 20.35, 20 Dave Lash (Sunderland Harriers V40) 20.36
Women: 1 Alice Smith (Sunderland Harriers) 18.58, 2 Nichola Woodward (Sunderland Harriers V35) 21.23, 3 Ashley Bennett (Sunderland Strollers V35) 21.42, 4 Vikki Cotton (Sunderland Harriers V35) 22.12, 5 Kim Simpson (Durham City) 22.19