A SWARM of wasps failed to put a dampener on Sunderland Harriers’ 30th running of the Farringdon Cross-Country event on Saturday.
Runners were reported being stung and seeking treatment from first aiders, after running through the wooded section of the course.
The races were halted while club officials went to investigate before reporting back to the race referee on their findings.
After discussions with British Red Cross medics, it was decided to continue with the afternoon’s athletics after the number of casualties reporting stings dropped.
Sunderland Harriers’ senior men’s team had more than a swarm of wasps to contend with, as they finished outside the prizes in the 4x3000m relay in their worst result in the history of the race.
Their eighth position (41min 03sec) was to be expected as they turned out a team that was far from their best, as it only included one A team runner.
Craig Isherwood was that man and he ran to form to finish fourth on the opening leg in 9.14.
Ian Dixon maintained that position (9.39) before Jack Kelly dropped to ninth (12.09).
Anchorman Jake Archer improved one place with his run of 10.01.
Gateshead Harriers won (36.23) with their winning team of Barry Maskell (9.02), Luke Adam (9.10), Dan Johnson (9.26) and Calum Johnson (8.45). Durham City finished runners-up (38.18), with tri-athlete Dan Jenkin running the fastest leg of the day (8.42). The other Durham runners were Jon Baines (9.09), Andy Biggs (11.21) and Michael Biggs (9.06).
Sunderland Strollers were 12th, thanks to Michael Edwards (10.06), Lee Corbett (12.36), Aidan Crowe (10.40) and Steve McMahon (9.47), while Houghton Harriers finished 16th with Stephen Johnson (10.41), Thomas Grey (10.09), Chris Pearson (11.45) and Liam McGrath (11.59).
Sunderland Harriers’ veterans saved the club’s day in taking third place in the over-40s relay. The team was Tim Field (10.00), Paul Redman (10.53), Tom Campion (11.14) and George Harden (11.01).
Houghton Harriers were 10th (47.00), courtesy of Alan Readman (11.36), Kevin Daglish (11.46), Simon Leonard (12.24) and Shaun McGrath (11.14).
Sunderland Strollers finished a place further down, in 11th (47.40). Kevin O’Neil produced their best leg of 11.27, followed by Mick Armstrong (13.07), Paul Dunlop (11.34) and Steve Tinwell (11.32).
In the senior women’s race, won by Gosforth’s Rachel Lundgren (10.52), Durham City Harrier Amy Etherington was runner-up (11.08) and Sophie Marr (Tyne Bridge) finished third (11.18).
Sunderland Strollers had Rachel Ball 13th (11.57) and Vicki Booth 14th (12.03). Sunderland Harrier Amy Coulson was 17th (12.22) and Gillian Barry 20th (12.43).
Sunderland Harriers received a much-needed boost to their morale by the performances of their under-17 men.
Joel Jones celebrated joining the army by winning the race. The Peterlee athlete clocked 9.27 to win by 11 seconds from Thomas Goulding of Birtley. Jones’s clubmate, Ben Craig, also showed good early-season form with third place (9.48).
Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett (Birtley) emphatically won her race in 10.29 with Gosforth’s Florence McPhate second (11.05) and Anna Fawcett (Birtley) third (11.09).
Houghton Harriers featured prominently in the younger athletes races.
Alex Brown was third in the under-15s, Lily Hardie finished runner-up in the under-13s and Anna Pigford won the under-11s girls’ event, with clubmate Neve Herron fourth. Henry Johnson was third and Will Bellamy fourth in the boys’ race.