Steven Duffy defies the conditions

Dated:17/07/2011  BUPA GREAT NORTH 10K ROAD RACE   Runners take part in the Bupa Great North 10k Road Race run along the picturesque Gateshead quayside passing famous landmarks on their way around the course.  NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
Dated:17/07/2011 BUPA GREAT NORTH 10K ROAD RACE Runners take part in the Bupa Great North 10k Road Race run along the picturesque Gateshead quayside passing famous landmarks on their way around the course. NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
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SUNDERLAND Harriers’ Steven Duffy and Michelle Holt, defying testing weather conditions and challenging hills, were the first runners from the city to finish the Bupa Great North Gateshead 10k yesterday.

Duffy finished 12th in 34.48 and Holt was 51st overall to finish the fourth woman in 38.23 in a field of nearly 5000.

Unofficial team results put the Wearsiders into second place for the £1,000 first prize, just 78 seconds behind Morpeth, with the accumulative times of the club’s first three men and women deciding the outcome.

The Sunderland team counters were Duffy, Paul Redman first over-45 in 16th (35.33) and Rob Sloan 24th (36.41). The women had Holt, Kathryn Watt 86th woman in 49.02 and over-55 Susan Clughen 250th (53.36).

They also had Steven Graham in 29th (37.06) and Alan Hodgson 53rd (38.48). John Watson was first over-55 in 40.53 and David White finished second over-60 (44.55).

Sunderland Strollers’ Alyson West was 10th woman to finish and first over-40 (43.14) while Lyne Valentine was the second over-55 in 45.12.

Kevin Blyth finished in 42nd to take the second over-50 award (37.56), Tim Allsop was 46th (38.07) and Colin Armour took 109th (41.00).

South Shields Harrier Michael Jones was the third over-45 in 31st overall (37.09).

British internationals Scott Overall and Louise Damen were the comfortable winners of their respective titles at Gateshead.

Overall, a former national 5,000m champion, won the race in an impressive time of 29.48. Behind him Mark Miles and Morpeth’s Ian Hudspith had a close battle, before the Belgrave Harrier proved the stronger approaching the finish inside Gateshead International Stadium, to take second place by four seconds.

Damen, who recently withdrew from next month’s World Championships marathon as she bids to recover full fitness after injury, crossed the line in 33:53. Behind the reigning English National Cross Country champion were Kate Avery (Shildon) and Chester-le-Street’s Angela Hibbs.

Overall, who broke clear of his two rivals after 8km, said: “I began to put on pressure and started pulling away with Ian the first to fall off the pace followed by Mark.’’

Damen, who has also achieved the marathon qualifying time for the 2012 London Olympics, was delighted with her performance.

The Winchester athlete, in her first race since having surgery on her hernia, said: “It was fine and I felt no effects from the injury. Now that I’m not going to Daegu I’m thinking of an autumn marathon.”

Results Men: 1 S Overall (Blackheath) 29.48, 2 M Miles (Belgrave) 30:09, 3 I Hudspith (Morpeth) 30:13, 4 N Swinburn (Morpeth) 31:28 5, M Whitfield (Bingley) 31:33 6 P Hoole (Rotherham) 32:02, 7 M Blunden (Notts) 32:16, 8 M Hill (Tipton) 32:50 9 A Valentine (Bolton) 33:28, 10 A Pearson (North York Moors) 34:40.

Women: 1 L Damen (Winchester) 33:53, 2 K Avery (Shildon) 34:54, 3 A Hibbs (Chester-le-Street) 37:56, 4 M Holt (Sunderland) 38:24, 5 K Chapman (Morpeth) 41:09, 6 H Pearson (Unattached) 41:41.

H Michael Wilson and Holly Lancaster were in fine form in the North East Athletics league meeting at Gateshead. The 15-year-old Wilson was the first under-17 to finish the seeded 800m in a personal best of 1.58. Lancaster won her under-15 100m in a grade one standard of 26.3.