Sunderland Harriers’ veterans make big impact with gold and bronze medals in Durham Cathedral relay

Sunderland Harriers Ian Ritchie (left) and Ian Dixon battle it out at Durham
Sunderland Harriers Ian Ritchie (left) and Ian Dixon battle it out at Durham
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Sunderland Harriers placed two teams in the first three in the Durham Cathedral Veterans’ Cross Country Relay at the Racecourse.

The popular event saw 100 teams finish the 3 x 3000m relay and the Wearsiders finished in first and third spots.

The Harriers’ B team, Ian Ritchie (9min 55sec), beat the club’s A team runner, Ian Dixon (10.01) on the first leg, finishing second to Morpeth (John Butters in 9.52).

Kevin Jeffress (9.51) took the A team into the lead on the second leg and opened a significant gap over Morpeth, Fergus Bates (10.28).

It was left to Steve McMahon to seal Sunderland Harriers’ win on the anchor leg and he did so by clocking the second fastest time of the day, 9.50.

Morpeth’s final runner, Chris Smith, was the quickest overall, with 9.47, to finish 25 seconds behind Sunderland for second place.

Meanwhile, the Sunderland B team kept their momentum going to lift the bronze medals, with Michael Thompson taking over from Ritchie and clocking 10.26 before Michael Barker closed in 10.13.

The club’s C team also fared well, finishing in 12th, courtesy of Paul Merrison (11.05), Mark Head (11.04) and Jimmy Johnson (11.59).

In the separate senior men’s relay, Sunderland finished outside the medals when looking likely to finish in the first three.

But a below-par run from anchorman Sparrow Morley (10.27) saw them drop to fourth place. Steve Rankin (9.45) and Andy Powell (10.10) had the team in third before the setback.

Sunderland Strollers finished 10th, thanks to Chris Dwyer (11.08), Mark Anderson (10.39) and Andrew Forbes (10.53).

The women’s winners were Birtley, through Chloe Price (11.05), Lydia Turner (10.56) and Sophie Burnett (11.01).