Nathan Reed knocked up his second Penshaw Hill race victory with a gutsy performance in the 25th event last night.
The Sunderland Harrier, the winner in 2013, claimed the title after hauling himself into the lead on the second lap of the tortuous three-mile race.
I’m delighted with my win after beating what was the biggest field for the Penshaw raceNathan Reed
After his club mate Steve Rankin claimed the prime prize for reaching the famous monument first on the first of two laps, Reed was back in third place, well off the pace.
But, after hitting the woodland section and climbing the strength-sapping steps to enter clear ground, he then made his effort for victory.
Tyne Bridge Harrier Kurt Herron was at the front at the time, but Reed emerged ahead when back in sight of the race supporters. Rankin was, by now, after his moment of glory, drifting back down the field to eventually finish 15th.
Reed said: “I seized my chance at the bottom of the steps. I was determined to be the first one to hit them first.’’
He was now in full flow and gradually opening a gap on second-placed Herron and, although just about on his knees on climbing the final punishing hill to the finish, he still had 14 seconds to spare over runner-up Herron.
Reed, who recorded a winning time of 16min 25sec, added: “This makes amends for last year when I finished second after wearing the wrong shoes – flats instead of spikes.
“I’m delighted with my win after beating what was the biggest field for the Penshaw race.’’
In what looked like a Sunderland Harriers club championship race, the Wearsiders placed 12 runners in the first 20 and five inside the first 10.
In third place was Kevin Jeffress (16.48), then came fellow Sunderland Harrier Andy Powell in fourth (17.30), over-45 Michael Thompson was fifth (17.38) and 49-year-old Brian Bewick finished sixth (17.55). Tim Field, in 11th, was the first over-50 (18.19). Last year’s winner, Scott Ellis of North Shields, could only finish ninth this time (18.09).
Other Sunderland Harriers to finish in the top 20, in a field of 128, were Michael Laws 12th (18.24), Paul Merrison V50 14th (18.35), Steve Rankin 15th (18.51), Chris Bell 16th (19.02), Jack Tallentire 17th (19.07) and Jason Waite 18th (19.09).
The women’s race was won by Morpeth’s Emma Holt, who finished 23rd overall (19.33) on her race debut. She also won the prime prize for a golden double.
She said: “I enjoyed it, it is certainly different from what I have raced previously. But it was a really tough and hard race.’’
South Shields Harrier Georgia Campbell ran well to finish second (20.43) and Sunderland Harrier Jess Fox ran the race of her young life to take third spot in 21.17. Last year’s winner, Jarrow and Hebburn’s Angela McGurk, was fourth (21.45).