NATHAN REED celebrated his 22nd birthday yesterday by storming to success in the Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers’ Old Monks multi-terrain race at Hart Village.
The Sunderland Harrier outsprinted Seaham runner Kevin Jeffress, of Tyne Bridge Harriers, to win the race and bounce back to form.
Hall Farm athlete Reed, after enjoying an impressive summer season where he smashed all his personal bests on the track, has struggled to find his best winter form.
But he went into the race in confident mood after a quality track session on New Year’s Eve, under the guidance of his coach, John Archer, on the Silksworth track.
Archer, who tipped him to run well, said: “He did two half miles and four one mile runs with one minute recovery between each effort. They were all in good times, in windy conditions.’’
With the race being reduced in distance to nearer five miles through icy conditions and a record field of 250 runners to contend with, Reed decided to keep with the leaders rather than go out on his own.
It stayed like that until the final road section with less than one mile to the finish, where early race leader Alasdair Tatham was still out in front. But it was left to Reed and Jeffress to fight out the finish, with the birthday boy proving the stronger, cutting loose over the final 100m to win by five seconds.
“I was quite comfortable throughout the race,” said Reed.” I planned to stay with the group to ensure I did not go off course. I was confident that if it came down to a sprint finish I could win.”
Sunderland Stroller Steve Rankin (30.59) finished fourth behind third placed Tatham (29.58), while Sunderland’s Marathon of the North 2012 winner, Paul Wilson of Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers, was fifth in 31.06.
Sunderland Harrier Noel Hitchcock finished sixth (31.33) and clubmate Dean Phillips was 64th (38.12).
Durham City Harrier Chloe Price won the women’s race, placing 15th overall in 33.18, well ahead of second-placed Carolyn Ollis of Middlesbrough and Cleveland in second (35.12).
Georgia Campbell, of the Hetton Coalfields team, was third in 36.15. Sunderland Stroller Rachel Ball ended fifth (38.35). Clubmate Joy Champion was first over-45 in 40.55 and Sheila Hudson was second over-60 (52.42)
The Strollers, who opened their 2014 grand prix in this race, had a good turnout.
Simon Mowbray was 19th (34.05), Craig Harriman finished 34th (35.53), Paul Dunlop 36th (36.06), Brian Cairns 40th (36.17), Aidan Crowe 42nd (36.19), Kevin O’Neil 45th (36.34), Andy Duke 46th (36.35). David Anderson 49th (37.02) and Marc Richardson 61st (38.04).
H Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett finished ninth (13.35) to lead Birtley to victory in the team race in the Antrim International Cross Country under-20/17 race on Saturday.
Phillippa Chambers was 11th (13.39) and Robyn Waugh was 33rd (14.28). Sunderland’s Danielle Elliott was a non-counter in 62nd (15.30).
H Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon won the women’s event (37.47) in 14th overall in the Morpeth 11k road race won by the host club’s Lewis Timmins in 34.02.
Sunderland Harrier Kevin Calvert was 10th (35.50) and Graham Lancaster 22nd (39.16). Sunderland Stroller Gavin Sword finished 48th (42.19)