SUNDERLAND Harriers were the first North East team to finish in the Northern Athletics senior men’s Cross Country Relay Championships at Sheffield on Saturday.
The Weasiders finished 12th (45.26), Birtley were 15th (45.45) and Durham 18th (46.43), also making the top 20. Liverpool won in 42.59.
In an exceptionally close race, only ten seconds separated Derby in eighth and Sunderland, over four legs of two miles.
Craig Isherwood opened for the Wearsiders and he clocked 11.10 for 16th position. Kevin Jeffress was next off and he came home in 12th (11.13) before Michael Barker raised the team into tenth (11.36). Anchorman Nathan Reed then dropped back to 12th with his circuit of 11.27.
Durham’s best came from Dan Jenkin with his effort of 10.35 and the fastest time of the day was set by Hallamshire’s Andrew Heyes (10.04).
In the senior women’s relay over the same course, Rotherham took the honours (37.12). Durham were fifth (39.06) and Birtley seventh (40.34).
Birtley’s Lydia Turner was the fastest of the day (11.35) and Durham’s Rosie Smith was the second quickest (11.51).
Birtley’s under-17 women triumphed in their event with Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett the second fastest of the day (8.17) behind her clubmate Kate Waugh (8.14). Amber Leigh (8.53), was the other Birtley runner.
Sunderland under-17 men finished 17th and 21st respectively. The A team was Mark Smith (8.07), Jack Smith (8.36) and Sam Harris (7.55). The B team was Alex Mitchell (8.33), Jonathan Howe (8.34) and Kyle Howard (8.41).
The Sunderland boys’ team finished 18th with Sean Mackie (7.39), James Lloyd (8.32) and Rowan James (9.40).
Michael Barker was in action again yesterday less than 24 hours after racing in Sheffield.
The Sunderland Harrier came from behind to take third place in the Gibside Fruit Bowl Trail Race.
He said: “I moved up to second from fifth place and within striking distance of the race leader. But the last hill took it out of me. I knew I had raced yesterday when I got to the top.”
Barker recorded (41.26) to finish behind Tyne Bridge Harrier Dominic Munnelly (40.54) and Martin Barwood (41.18) of Cheltenham.
Sunderland Harrier Paul Redman was the first over-50 in15th (45.12) and Peter Richardson was the first over 60 in 73rd (52.28). Nicola Woodward also took honours with third over-35 in 77th (52.48) with Morpeth’s Jane Hodgson winning the women’s race in 21st (46.25).
Sunderland Stroller Tim Allsop finished 22nd (47.00), Gavin Sword was 28th (48.29), Michael Edwards 36th (48.59), Steve Tinwell 52nd (50.02), Carl Smith 65th (51.43) and Kevin O’Neil 67th (51.54).