Harrier Michael puts in extra effort to win Washington Running Club’s rebirth race

Sunderland Harrier Michael Edwards
Sunderland Harrier Michael Edwards
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Washington Running Club, reformed two years ago after disbanding in the early nineties, held their first race under a UK Athletics licence at Biddick yesterday.

Over 100 runners raced over the distance of approximately 5k along the Biddick cycle path and Sunderland Harrier Michael Edwards took the plaudits.

But his win was not without incident, as the leading four runners, including Edwards, were sent the wrong way at the half-distance of the race.

“A marshal error sent us in the wrong direction,’’ said Edwards, who enjoyed his first win since his victory in the North East Harrier League at Stanley last year.

“Steve (Rankin) at this stage was 100 metres clear of us and, by the time we rejoined the race, we were well down on the new leaders. Eventually, Steve caught us and we ran together for a bit until he slowed and let us go.’’

Rankin, who sportingly took the incident on the chin, said: “These things happen – it has happened to me before. I have another race tomorrow night, so I was not too concerned.’’

Edwards was now closing down the new leader and then went onto to battle for victory with Elvet Strider Gareth Pritchard. His superior speed told in the end, taking the title and lifting the Bottoms Up Cup.

Edwards, who clocked 19min 4sec, said afterwards: “According to my Garmin, we ran well over 5k.’’

Rankin continued his jog to the finish and closed ended seventh (20.29).

Seaham athlete Lisa Atkinson, of Gateshead Harriers, was a clear winner of the women’s race, triumphing by nearly two minutes ahead of Low Fell’s Claire Diamond.

The race is named in memory of one of the original club members. Stephen Bottoms, who passed away in 2013.

In the Ali Brownlee Cleveland Centre 5k at Middlesbrough yesterday, Sunderland Harrier Ian Dixon was second over-40 veteran to finish in 11th overall (16.23) and Micky Thompson was first over-45 with 16.25.

Steven Duffy recorded 16.43 in 16th.

The race winner was Andy Wiles (Morpeth) in 15.05 and the first woman was Elswick Harrier Justina Heslop (16.52).

Washington result: 1 Michael Edwards (Sun Harr) 19.04, 2 Gareth Pritchard (Elvet) 19.12, 3 Peter Farnie (Birtley) 19.23, 4 Carl Smith (Sun Stroll) 19.45, 5 David Harris (Ch-le-St) 19.46, 6 Declan Munnelley (Sun Stroll) 19.58, 7 Richard Condor (Low Fell) 20.18, 8 Steve Rankin (Sun Harr) 20.29, 9 Gary Lax (Unatt) 20.34, 10 Alan Alsop (Washington) 20.37.

Women: 1 Lisa Atkinson (Gateshead) 21.43, 2 Claire Diamond (Low Fell) 24.38, 3 Gillian Tominson (Houghton) 24.37, 4 Emma Welsh (Unatt) 25.50, 5 Vicky Halse (Low Fell) 24.11.