Len’s a champion once more

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LEN Christopher scooped his second national title in the Tynedale Jelly Tea 10-mile Road Race from Hexham to Ovingham yesterday.

The Sunderland Harrier won the over-60 class in the British Masters’ Championships, which was incorporated into the popular event.

The 64-year-old, who is 65 in four weeks’ time, clocked 68.50 to finish 107th overall in the race, which was over-subscribed with 700 runners.

“I’m really delighted with my run,’’ said the Portland College minibus driver, who won his over-55 category in the 2002 London Marathon.

“I was aiming for seven-minute miles, but ended up running a bit faster. I felt strong and I’m over the moon to have won another national title.’’

First Harrier to finish was over-40 Paul Besford in 13th (57.38). Paul Redman was 19th with his second-fastest time of 58.55, Rob Sloan finished 30th (60.33) and Sean Smith was 33rd (60.46). Sunderland Stroller Graham Thorpe was 39th (61.41).

Tyneside-based Ethiopian Yared Hagos won in 49.32 – well outside Paul Cuskin’s 1992 course record (48.49).

Alnwick’s Dave Kirkland was second in 53.42. The women’s winner was Wallsend’s Danielle Hodgkinson in 60.56.

H Sunderland Harrier Kevin Calvert chopped 47 seconds off his previous best in yesterday’s Middlesbrough 10k Road Race, with more than 3,000 runners taking part.

The former Stroller finished eighth in 33.31 in the race, won by Morpeth veteran Ian Hudspith in 30.24 from club-mate Peter Newton (30.41).

Then came Matthew Hynes in third (30.47) and Morpeth’s Michael Dawson (32.30) was fourth.

Durham baker Terry Wall (Morpeth) was the first veteran in fifth (32.42). Billingham’s Mike Jeffries (33.11) and Durham’s James Askew (33.21) were the other athletes ahead of Calvert.

Sunderland also had Steven Duffy in 17th (34.37) and Graham Lancaster 23rd (35.30). Illness ruled leading light Mark Hood out of the race

Durham City Harrier Rosie Smith won the women’s race in 19th overall (33.42) from Morpeth’s Maxine Czarnecka (37.17).

Sunderland Harrier Michelle Holt was sixth woman in 38.41 and her club-mate Ingrid Hope continued her unbeaten run in the over-50 class with another fine win for tenth overall (41.24).

Rachael Moore was 11th over-35 (48.29) and Susan Clughen was third over-55 in (52.06).

Sunderland Strollers were led home by Nial McArdle in 36th (37.04), Tim Allsop was 44th (37.36) and Steven McMahon was 87th (39.45). Derek Wright was second over 60 in 42.41.

H Stroller Liam Taylor won the Sunderland Park at Silksworth Sports Complex on Saturday in 16.28.

South Shields Harrier Linda Bone was the women’s winner (20.46).

The Park Run is cancelled next week. It will resume the following Saturday.

H Tim Field found himself outside the prizes – despite running the fastest veterans’ lap in the Durham City Harriers’ Summer Cross-Country Relays at Maiden Castle.

The over-45 chose to run for an incomplete Sunderland Harriers’ veterans team in a bid to win the first over-40 prize for the fastest leg. He duly obliged, to clock 9.58 on the first leg.

He arrived at the presentation to receive his reward. But the organizers ruled that incomplete teams did not count for any prizes.

Field, ironically, had made the wrong decision. He should have put himself forward for the Sunderland senior men’s A team, who had finished second to the hosts.

If Field had been included, the City club would have won convincingly and Field would have gone home with a first team prize.

With the college lecturer ruled out of the running, the fastest veterans’ prize went to Sunderland Stroller Ken Maynard, who recorded 10.49.