The first Sunderland Harriers’ Christmas Pudding Run for 25 years was greeted by an enthusiastic response from the hardy participants at Silksworth Sports Complex on Boxing Day.
Despite strong winds, which hit competitors on the longest never ending path of the Sunderland 5k course, nine runners recorded personal bests for the distance.
And it was fitting, in this sealed handicap race, that the first four runners home all recorded their best times to ensure that the handicapper got his sums right.
Each athlete was given a time allowance according to form and this was then deducted from their finishing times
Sunderland senior men’s captain and Farringdon School teacher, Nathan Reed, was the man who got full marks for his handicapping.
The runner who made the most of his generous time allowance was young athletes’ middle distance coach, John Archer. Although finishing towards the back of the field, the Over-50 easily beat his pre-race estimated time of 30 minutes, with his finishof 27.34 to win with his handicap time of 13.04
In second place was 10-year-old Harry Clay whose actual time was 23.02, which was rounded down to 14.12. Darren Dodd completed the top three with his 19.14 clocking which gave him his prize winning time of 14.44.
Barry Maskell and Ian Dixon had their own private battle at the head of the field. But it was Washington athlete Maskell who proved the stronger by winning the race (16.25) by six seconds from Over-40 Dixon. Under-20 Jack Tallentire took third in 17.00 minutes exactly and Under-17 Eve Quinn was the fastest female in 20.07.
The battle down the field was also keenly contested with every second proving vital for the many prizes. Fourth in the handicap was Under-17 Daniel Smith (20.22) with adjusted time of 14.52, first female in fifth was Margaret Thompson 30.28 (14.58), sixth place went to Over-60 and former marathon international Glenn Forster 21.48 (14.58), seventh was women’s captain Colleen Compson 20.49 (14.59), eighth was club secretary Michael Hill 21.57 (15.07), ninth was Dubai-based teacher Jenna Wilkinson 20.57 (15.17) and tenth was Houghton Harrier Shaun Kerry 19.42 (15.32).
The rest of the top 25 were 11 O-50 Shaun McGrath (Houghton) 20.02 (15.32), 12 David Gribben (Houghton) 19.43 (15.33), 13 U13 Catherine Randles 24.14 (15.44), 14 U17 Sean Mackie 17.46 (15.46), 15 U20 Mark Smith 17.17 (15.47), 16 O-40 Ian Dixon 16.31 (15.51), 17 O-45 Albert James 22.44 (15.54), 18 U-11 Joe Willis 24.49 ((15.59), 19 Jack Tallentire U-20 17.00 (16.00), 20 Lee Dover (Houghton) 17.11 (16.01), 21 Karl Robinson 20.39 (16.09), 22 U-15 Jade Thirlwell 24.13 (16.13), 23 O-60 Peter Richardson 21.46 (16.16), 24 Callum Greig 18.36 (16.16), 25 U-17 Eve Quinn 20.07 (16.17).
Morpeth Harriers host their New Year’s Day Road Race on Sunday at 1pm over an approximate distance of 11k. Registration from 11.30am at Morpeth Harriers’ Club House, Grange House Field, Mitford Road, Morpeth NE61 1RJ.