Sunderland Harriers' senior men given reprieve after technical glitch

Sunderland Harriers, who were given last place in the First Division of the North Eastern Harrier League in the Senior Men's race on Sunday at Druridge Bay, have had their result amended.
Sunderland Harrier Paul Blakey, who was missed out of the results at Druridge Bay.Sunderland Harrier Paul Blakey, who was missed out of the results at Druridge Bay.
Sunderland Harrier Paul Blakey, who was missed out of the results at Druridge Bay.

A technical glitch in the results system relegated Sunderland Harriers to their worst ever performance at the second fixture.

Paul Blakey, who was the club’s first counter in eighth running from the slow pack in the handicap race, was missed from the original chip timing results.

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On further examination by league officials after an appeal by Sunderland Harriers’ team management, Blakey was reinstated.

This promoted the Sunderland team from last to sixth in the 10-strong table to give the club more breathing space as they fight relegation.

They are now sixth in the league on the same points (15) as Elvet Striders and Gosforth, who are below them on their total points score. Crook are bottom on 18 points.

With four fixtures remaining Sunderland are still in a precarious position and much improved results are needed, if they are to escape relegation. They are the only club in the league who have never been relegated.

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There were 584 finishers at Druridge Bay, only 10 short of the record. In the women’s race, there was a record of 405 finishers.

Michael Wilson and Alice Smith won Sunderland Harriers’ top awards at the club’s annual meeting at the Lakeside club in Gilley Law.

Wilson was awarded the best senior male trophy for his Northern 800m win and for finishing fifth in the England Athletics one mile championships in 4.09.16.

Smith was the female winner chosen through her victories in the Lambton Run and the Wynyard Woodland Trail race, and for a series of fine performances, including fourth in the Sunderland 5km and Darlington 10km in a PB of 38.02.

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Over-55 Paul Merrison got the nod for top male veteran with third place in the British Masters’ Cross Country Championships at Bath, and winning the North East Over-50 title at Wallsend.

Over-40 Anna Harris won the female title through winning the North East indoor long jump title and finishing second outdoors. She is also ranked third in her category in the UK long jump rankings with a leap of 4.76.

The most improved female was judged to be Rachael Moore with her improvements over all distances from 5m, 10km, 10m and the half marathon.

Matthew Jones claimed the best newcomer honour with a best time for the marathon of 2.26.34 in Edinburgh and with his win in the Welsh Marathon.

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American-based student Oliver James took the fastest 1500m/one mile award with 3.46.81 clocking in the States.

The young athletes merit awards for boys’ were gained by Under-13 Connor Prior for selection for the North East in the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships and the London Mini Marathon.

Under-17 Declan Murray for his 52.8 400m and the winner of the Cyril Elliott Open 400m.

The girls’ awards went to Under-13 Evie Compson, who represented Durham Schools’ in the Inter Counties Cross Country, and Under-17 Eve Quinn, for winning the Durham Schools 1500m championship and for her competitive performances over 800m 2.23.77, 1500m 4.56.9 and 3,000m 11.00.00. She also represented the North East in Northern Athletics Inter Counties.

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Sarah Knight was the winner of the Durham Schools 3,000m and won at Shildon over the same distance. She also represented the North East in the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships and the London Mini Marathon.

Sprint coach Andy Abbott received the volunteer of the year award for his coaching duties and his involvement with the club website.

He is also involved in the three club promotions, the Penshaw Hill race, Sunderland 5km and Farringdon Cross Country, either as an official or as part of the race set-up team.

The Seaham man also hosts the young athletes’ briefings each Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the club base at the Silksworth Sports Complex.

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Sunderland Harrier Over-60 Tony Thompson won his category in the Matfen 10km finishing 24th in 41.56.

There were a group of Sunderland runners competing in the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in York and Harrier Shaun Bagley was first home in 3.26.30.

The Strollers had Gary Hargreave on 3.27.20, Rob Ayre (3.27.42) and Carl Smith (3.38.27).