James triumphs – by a vest!

Oliver James.
Oliver James.
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OLIVER JAMES, the North East champion, claimed the Northern junior under-20 1500m title in a photo finish at Manchester on Saturday.

Following two disappointing performances after his North East success, the Sunderland Harrier bounced back to form to win by the thickness of his vest in 3.57.86 from Warrington’s Luke Johnston (3.57.89).

The 19-year-old (left) said: “It was very windy and I really left myself too much to do after going through 800m in 2.12. I was fourth at the bell and had to dig deep to pass two down the home straight. It came down to a dip on the line to seal victory.’’

James zipped around the last lap in 57 seconds and added: “I know with a 100m to go, if I’m involved, I stand a very good chance of victory.’’

He became the first Harrier to win a Northern track title since Paul Taylor’s steeplechase success at Stretford in 1972.

James will next race is at Stretford tomorrow where he will chase a fast time. Through winning the Northern title he will gain an England vest for the Welsh international meeting later in the season.

Durham’s Dan Garbutt won the senior men’s 1500m (3.58.73) from New Marsk’e Andy Wiles (3.58.82). Former Sunderland runner Patrick Martin was sixth (4.05.50).

Nathan Reed finished tenth in the senior 5000m in 15.16.86, chopping 67 seconds off his previous best.

H There was a world record set in the Stan Long Memorial Mile at the North East Grand Prix at Monkton.

Jonathan Wilkinson (Durham City Harriers) won the junior race in 4.34.5 for a new record in the Profoundly Deaf under-20 category.

Clubmate Michael Grimes triumphed in the senior race in 4.29.4.

Sunderland Harrier Hollie Lancaster scored a sprint double in the under-17 100m (12.9) and 200m (26.3). Houghton Harrier Owen Barrass won the under-17 shot (11.09).

H Sunderland Harriers had a number of winners in the North East Veterans’ League match at Monkton. Amanda Edwards won the W35 200m (29.8), Cheryl Reid took the W40 200m (31.4) and Graham Lee the M40 event in 26.7.

Peter Richardson won the over-60 mile in 5.41.5 and 400m (75.4). George Harden was successful in the over-50 mile (5.23.9)

Houghton Harrier Steve Todner triumphed in the over-55 400m (60.8).