Birtley take women’s title

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BIRTLEY, who included three under-18s in their team, won the women’s title in the North East Road Relay Championships for the first time after beating Morpeth Harriers, who had Olympic 1500m finalist Laura Weightman in their squad.

Great Britain junior international Lydia Turner sealed the superb win, lifting Birtley from third to first (52min 15sec) on the final leg with the day’s second fastest time (12.07).

Only Weightman, who ran the second leg, was faster, breaking Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon’s course record of 11.31, with her scorching 11.22 for the two-lap 2.22m stage.

But the day belonged to the Birtley youngsters, who started off in fifth through St Anthony’s pupil Sophie Burnett (13.25). Then came Philippa Chambers (13.17) and the oldest runner in the team, 31-year-old Tracy Millmore (13.26), before Turner, 17, set off on her leg of glory. She overtook Morpeth veteran Sarah Wilkinson (12.59) to win by 10 seconds.

Durham City ended in third place (53.13) after quick legs by Rosie Smith, the third fastest of the day, (12.16) and Chloe Price (12.56).

Sunderland Harriers were seventh (58.55), courtesy of Gillian Barry (15.09), Michelle Avery (13.59), Jessica Fox (14.53) and Emily Hope (14.54).

Sunderland Strollers finished 11th (60.30), with Ashleigh Thorpe (14.20), Jenna Maynard (15.42), Rachal Ball (15.14) and Ashleigh Ewen (15.14).

Sunderland Harriers’ B team was 25th through Anna Robinson (16.36), Merial Smithson (16.44), Chloe Connelly (16.13) and Alex Pearson (16.02).