The annual Sunderland 5k Road Race lived up to its reputation as one the fastest courses in the UK when the 24th event was staged last Thursday.
The race, which included the North East and North of England Championships, saw the events biggest field since 2014 with 327 contesting the races.
Athletes came from far and wide, with Swansea, Bedford, Gala Harriers from the Scottish borders, Salford, Rossendale Border Harriers, Kendall and Leeds among others, to ensure the race had a true Northern representation.
And for a lot of those athletes, the long journey to Sunderland was not in vain, as some went home with a personal best time under their belts. There was a total of 113 PBs recorded from the two races.
It was headed by the men’s race winner, Peter Newton, of Morpeth Harriers, who recorded his fastest time of 14.43.
This was his third appearance in the race and his first win. He was fourth in 2011 (14.46) and second in 2010 (15.20).
There were 21 Sunderland Harriers’ who recorded PBs from the two races and leading the way 15th placed Andy Powell (15.32).
The rest of the PBs were Over-40 Ian Dixon (15.58), Under-17 Sean Mackie (16.39), Under-20 Chris Bell (17.18), Over-45 Martin Blenkinsopp (18.13), Kris Cantle (18.17), Under-17 Daniel Smith (18.36), Under-15 Nathan Bland (18.56) Over-40, James Johnson (19.14), Peter Shaw (19.26), Over-45 Anthony Erskine (20.27), Jack Revely (20.28), Over-35 Linda Mudford (20.52), Lauren Flaxen (21.03), Over-45 Barry Marlee (20.53), Anthony (Hughes (21.51), Over-50 Judith Shotton (22.10), Under-15 Grace Mackie (24.01), Over-35 Lucie Forster (26.23), Over-50 Debbie McRory (26.40). Over-45 Laura Tedstone 29.33.
Houghton Harriers’ saw their top runner, Under-20 Alec Brown, having a tremendous run in finishing sixth with a PB of 15.07 which sees him rise to 15th in the UK Rankings.
The other Houghton runners to get on the PB band wagon were Lee Dover (16.17), Over-45 Shaun Kerry (18.57) and Adam Middleton (19.25).
Sunderland Strollers were also in PB form with Mark Anderson (16.47), John Cook (16.49), Andrew Forbes (16.51), Chris Dwyer (17.34), Michael Henderson (18.25), Mark Chapman (21.20), Over-50 John Barber (24.21) and Mandy Preece (29.36).
The women’s race winner Danielle Hodgkinson (Birchfield) beat her previous winning time of 2012 of 17.28 with run of 16.49.
Four men in the top 10 achieved a PB, Peter Newton, Alec Brown, Thomas Straughan (Morpeth) eighth (15.12) and George Lowry (Jarrow) ninth 15.19
In the women’s race, there were six PBs in the first 10, Georgia Campbell (Jarrow) fourth (17.43), Stephanie Pattinson (Jarrow) fifth (17.58), Bethany Murray (Oxford Uni) sixth (18.10), Robyn Bennet (Elswick) seventh (18.16) and Gemma Floyd (Morpeth) ninth (18.33).
Tonight sees the second running of the Durham City Runs.
he 5k and 10k races start simultaneously in the Market Square with 5k runners doing one lap and the 10k athletes two laps. Both races will finish at Palace Green in between the Cathedral and the Castle.
All competitors have free access to the Durham City park and ride system. (Belmont Car Park only, DH1 1SR). The races start at 7.15pm.