SUNDERLAND Harriers were one of three North East teams that qualified for the national 12-Stage Road Relay final at the Northern Championships at Catterick yesterday.
The Wearsiders hit by a number of late withdrawals, finished a highly-creditable 14th (3.44.50), with their makeshift team in the relay with six short (2.2 miles) and six long (4.4 miles) stages.
Club secretary Michael Hill ought to be congratulated in refusing to throw in the towel and he was rewarded with the Martin brothers having starring roles.
Patrick claimed the fourth fastest long stage time of the day on the opening leg, taking third position in 21.40 behind Bolton’s Tom Lancashire (21.37) and Morpeth’s Mongolian Olympian Serod Batochir (21.39). The joint quickest time was claimed by Morpeth’s Jon Taylor (21.37) on leg two.
Jack Martin, on leg seven, recorded 22.32 to lift Sunderland three places to ninth with the 15th best overall time. Sunderland’s other big gun Mark Hood, although still below his best due to long term injury problems, completed his stint in 23.22 to lift his team from 12th to ninth on leg five.
The city club were up to ninth on leg ten but slipped back to 14th over the remaining two stages.
The rest of the team performed up to expectations to ensure the club’s place at Sutton Coldfield on April 9.
The times were Paul Redman 12.45, Jon Dobson 25.47, Rob Rush 13.21, George Harden 13.08, Tom Campion 13.51, Tim Field 24.46, Damien Weston 12.26, Steve Gordon 27.21 and Alan Hodgson 13.51.
Morpeth won in 3.24.16 from Leeds (3.25.36) and Derby (3.33.24). Gateshead Harriers were fourth (3.34.12).
H Ingrid Hope led Sunderland Harriers to a complete set of medals in the North East Veterans’ Cross Country Championships at North Shields on Saturday.
The Tunstall runner won the over-50 category and finished fifth overall in the race, which caters for athletes from the age of 35.
This was Hope’s second win in eight days after winning the Harrier League race at Blaydon last Saturday. This time she clocked 24.22 to beat Elvet Strider Fiona Shenton by 52 seconds.
Brian Bewick was the silver medallist in the over-45s event, finishing second overall to race winner Paul Waterson. Bewick, a member of the Sunderland over-45 team that won the national championship last week, tried doggedly to shake off the attention of the Morpeth Harrier. At half way he opened a slight gap of three to four yards over his rival but was unable to sustain the tempo. Waterson hit the front with about one mile to the finish, taking the title by 15 seconds to win in 30.30.
Sunderland’s M45 bronze medallist was the inform Paul Redman, like Bewick, a gold medallist at Birmingham last week, who finished third overall in 31.32. Clubmate Ken Bell was seventh overall (32.18) and fourth over-45. Sunderland’s Brian Rushworth, the winner of the title for the past eight years, was unable to defend his title through injury.
Chester-le-Street’s Heather Robinson won the W45 title and Houghton Harrier Kelly Bentley was third.
H Washington’s Barry Maskell finished an impressive 23rd in the inters race at the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Nottingham on Saturday.