Houghton Harrier Alex Brown’s rise to prominence on the cross country scene was further emphasised in the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League at Wrekenton on Saturday.
The Under-20 junior man clocked the fastest time of the day (30min 33sec) in the senior men’s event, running from the fast pack in the handicap race.
He was giving away a start of 4min 40sec to the slow pack and 2min 20sec to the medium pack, charging through to 20th position in a field of almost 600.
He headed Jarrow and Hebburn’s Andy Burn in 22nd (30.39) and Durham’s Dan Jenkin 24th (30.52).
The race was won by Ashington Hirst’s Kurt Heron, running from the slow pack, (31.48).
Brown had a double reason for celebrating as he led Houghton to first place in the Third Division team result.
Rory Graham was 38th in an actual time of 36.08, Adam Middleton was 50th (36.53), Stephen Johnson 66th (37.20), Lee Dover 103rd (32.28) and Alan Foster 115th (38.23).
Sunderland Strollers won the Division Two contest, led home by two slow pack runners in John Cook in fifth (33.43) and Callum Thom sixth (33.46).
They were followed by Andy Duke in 65th (37.20), Andrew Forbes 68th (37.21), Mark Anderson 113th (33.40) and Ritchie Gerry 203rd(37.48).
Sunderland Harriers’ challenge for the First Division Championship got off to a steady start.
They finished fourth behind Morpeth and Durham, with Tyne Bridge Harriers third.
Michael Laws steered the team home in finishing 12th (34.36) running from the slow pack.
Chris Bell was 37th (36.01), Andy Powell recorded the sixth fastest time overall in taking 43rd (31.54), Kevin Calvert was 59th (32.30), Kris Cantle 85th (37.51) and Ian Ritchie closed the scoring in 108th (33.36).
Sunderland Harriers’ women head Division Two after winning ahead of Crook and Heaton Harriers.
Slow packer Vikki Cotton set the wheels in motion for the club’s win in finishing 20th (27.50).
Not far behind was fast pack runner Alice Smith in 25th (25.11). Bev Martin, formerly Blakeman, followed in 27th (28.17) and Nicola Woodward closed the scoring in 59th (26.22).
Houghton Harriers and Sunderland Strollers finished fourth and sixth respectively in Division Three of the women’s league.
The first and second places in the race went to Morpeth fast packers Emma Holt (23.08) and Jane Hodgson (23.12), with Seaham’s Louise Rodgers (Tyne Bridge) in third (26.15).
There was a record field in the women’s race, with 462 finishers - the first time the figure has topped 400.
Houghton Harriers’ youngsters put in some good performances, with Eva Hardie winning the Under-17 race, with her twin, Lily, eighth.
Henry Johnson was the fastest in the Under-15 boys’ race, seven seconds ahead of club-mate Will Bellamy.