DURHAM City Harrier Dan Garbutt added the area title to his North Eastern Counties success in the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships at Knowsley on Saturday.
But clubmate and fellow North East champion Rosie Smith had to settle for second place in the women’s race, to deny the Cathedral club another glorious double.
In tough, trying conditions, the athletes had to contend with mud, hail, rain and gales during the course of the day at the Safari Park.
But that did not deter Garbutt, who took on the best of the North’s cross country runners and emphasised that he is the man in form and very much an improved athlete. Now he looks to the National Championships at Nottingham and the Inter Counties in Birmingham, to further enhance his growing reputation.
The 25-year-old Leeds-based runner saw off the determined challenge of Stockport’s runner-up Andy Jones and former Sunderland Harrier Jack Martin (Stockport) in third (41.34), to win the 12k race, over a heavy course, in 41.17.
With three runners in the top 10 – Nick Swinburn fourth (41.40), Matt Nicholson sixth (42.03) and Peter Newton seventh (42.06) – Morpeth looked on course to win the team title. But they had to wait for 55th position for their final sixth scorer, Andrew Lawrence.
Leeds City triumphed with 102 points to Morpeth’s 128.
Ben Douglas was 39th (44.51) and Marius Klein 117th (49.00) helped Durham to finish 17th team.
Sunderland Harriers were 41st, with Nathan Reed 101st (48.21), Paul Redman 254th, Tony Allinson 359th, David Savage 424th, Peter Richardson 458th and Dean Phillips 528th.
Holmfirth’s Katie Walshaw proved too strong for Rosie Smith in the women’s 8k contest, the fell runner winning the title in 30.22.
Smith, who clocked 30.37 and finished nine seconds ahead of third- placed Susan Partridge (Leeds), said: “She was just too strong for me on the hills and over the mud.’’
Jarrow and Hebburn surprised many with their third place in the team race, delighting coach Barry Forster. They had Alex Snook in 17th (33.31), Elaine Leslie 35th (35.08), Stacey Rogers 55th (36.09) and Angela McGurk 60th (36.37).
Sunderland Harriers were 28th with Helen Higgins 176th, Aimee Richardson 205th, Kathryn Watt 208th and Susan Clughen 216th.
Durham City also picked-up bronze team medals in the junior women’s race through Chloe Price in 11th, Amy Etherington 13th and Mariama Dryak 34th.
Birtley had the winner of the under-15 Girls’ race in former Gateshead Harrier Kate Waugh and they also finished second in the under-17s team race.
Included in the scorers were former Sunderland Harriers Sophie Burnett, who had a great run in seventh (20.41) and Danielle Elliott 43rd (23.12). Philippa Chambers tenth (21.00), and Robyn Waugh 45th (23.23). were the other team counters.
Gateshead Harrier Callum Johnson, runner-up to Sunderland Harrier Weynay Ghebrisalasie last year, won the junior men’s race and the Tynesiders also took the team contest. Backing Johnson were Simeon Greenwood in 13th, Barry Maskell 16th and Callum’s brother, Dan, who finished 19th.
Houghton Harrier Alex Brown was 20th in the under-15 Boys’ race.
Middlesbrough’s Josh Cowperthwaite won the under-13 boys’ event.