Sunderland Harrier Andy Powell is on top of the world after shattering his personal best in the Redcar Half Marathon.
The 30-year-old finished runner-up to Elswick Harrier Tadele Geremew, knocking nearly three minutes off his previous fastest time.
He clocked 71.26, behind the Ethiopian’s winning performance of 70.12, after he could only finish 27th last year in 80.43.
The relatively unknown athlete was the race sensation on Sunday as he startled Geremew, who has a best for the distance of 64.33, when he caught him at four miles.
The former Sunderland Stroller said: “The race went well. I knew I could beat my previous PB of 74.09 set in Sunderland last May, but by how much, I did not know.
“I set off steady and, surprisingly, I caught up with Tadele at four miles, he seemed to get a bit of shock when he saw me.
“Shortly afterwards, he responded by increasing the pace and I was forced to let him go, but I felt strong throughout. I’m delighted with 71.26 and getting second place.”
“My good form is all down to Richy Tough, our coach at Sunderland Harriers.
“Following his advice and plans, it has really developed me and the group as athletes. The times will only get quicker over the months and years ahead.
“We have a tremendous set up and training group filled with knowledgeable and enthusiastic coaches, their help and support has really assisted me in moving forward.”
Powell’s 2015 has only got better after celebrating his first two wins this year at the Lambton Run and the Pit Stop 10k.
He has also improved his 10k time from 35.41 to 32.55 and the 5k from 16.41 to 15.53.
He is an ever-present at the Harriers’ track training night each Tuesday and his dedication is certainly starting to pay off.
Now with the cross country season around the corner, new challengers lie on the horizon and another step-up on the ladder is his goal.
Also, at Redcar, clubmate Micky Thompson finished first over-45 in ninth (77.07) and Chester-le Street’s Ian Bloomfield was first over-60 in 31st (82.51).
Other Sunderland Harriers performances were: Jimmy Johnson 82nd (89.38), Dave Lash 87th 90.16 and Judith Thirwell was 12th woman in 94.11.
Sunderland Strollers had Mike Hobson in 29th 82.47, Lee Calvert 50th 85.45, Ritchie Gerry 67th 88.04, Aidan Crowe 77th 89.14 and Glyn Davies 94th 90.52. Kay Snowball was the Strollers first woman in 96.40 and Vicki Booth recorded 98.27.
Alyson Dixon’s outstanding performance in Sunday’s Berlin Marathon, where she clocked a personal best of 2.29.30, sees her climb to 17th on the all-time British women’s marathon list.
Her international clubmate and former Wallsend Harrier Sonia Samuels, who ran most of the way alongside Dixon, until she pulled away to record 2.28.04, is at number seven.
Also listed are Houghton Harriers’ double Commonwealth Games representative Lynn Cooper, formerly Harding, in 27th with her 2.31.45 run from the 1989 London Marathon and Carolyn Naisby, who won the 1987 Florence Marathon in 2.33.22 is 34th in the table.