Harrier Smith posts personal best in Sunderland parkrun

Sunderland Harrier Mark Smith
Sunderland Harrier Mark Smith
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With the postponement of Saturday’s North Eastern Harrier League at Newcastle’s Town Moor through flooding, athletes gained competition on their doorstep.

The Sunderland parkrun saw a record turnout of 232 finishers and host of young Sunderland Harriers took advantage of the mild, windless conditions to record personal bests.

The testing 5k course saw Fulwell athlete Mark Smith lead the mass of runners on the tight route with a steep uphill finish.

The 17-year-old said: “I’m pleased with my run. It is only the second one I have done.’’

Smith, who is looking towards selection for the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships in Birmingham in March, might have gone a bit faster, but he was slowed when weaving through lapped runners around the lake.

Nevertheless, he recorded a PB of 16min 49sec when heading his clubmate Michael Barker (17.11).

The other personal bests came from fourth-placed 15-year-old Sean Mackie (17.29), plus Jack Smith, 17, in seventh (18.55), Nathan Bland, 14, in 16th (19.43), Robert Dunlop, 14, in 19th (19.59) and Duran Gunn, 13, in 20th (20.02).

The first woman to finish was 14th-placed Michelle Avery (19.35), who had 17-year-old Jess Fox only three seconds behind her with another PB.