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Michael Wilson breaks Massingham’s long-standing 800m Sunderland Harrier record in style

Michael Wilson, broke the Sunderland Harriers' 800m senior men's club record.
Michael Wilson, broke the Sunderland Harriers' 800m senior men's club record.

Michael Wilson broke the Sunderland Harriers’ 800m senior men’s club record in the Bryan Clay Invitational in Los Angeles, USA.

Competing for New Mexico State University where he is on an Athletics scholarship, he stormed home in 1.48.35 after lying in 13th place and last at the bell.

He had beaten Gavin Massingham’s record which has stood since 2003 (1.48.63) and has now been placed ninth on the UK Ranking lists.

There were 140 athletes competing from all over America and he was drawn in lane one of heat two, with 13 athletes in his heat.

Wilson said: “It was a little chaotic as you can imagine and I was boxed in until around 400m when I managed to find some space and was able to make a move, feeling pretty comfortable.

“At 200m I still felt strong and thought I could go on from there and win my heat.’’

His performance placed him second overall of the 140 athletes, just missing out on first place by a fraction of a second.

Club-mate Oliver James was also in action at the same meeting where he recorded a season’s best for 1,500m (3.49.71).

Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress has been reflecting on his London Marathon performance where he was one of a few to clock a personal best in the sweltering conditions. He was also the first runner from the North East to finish, clocking 2hr 35min 10sec.

Jeffress said: “I felt strong, but the last six miles was tough. Although I was still passing people and got a lot of encouragement from the crowds.

“But my body just seem to shut down as soon as I crossed the line, I was sick and felt faint. But I soon picked up after being helped by a couple of clubmates in Coleen Compson and Ian Dixon.

“With hopefully cooler conditions next year, I would hope to break 2.30, but now I will concentrate on the shorter races.”

North East young athletes claimed some glittering performances in the London Mini Marathon.

Birtley’s Chris Perkins won the Under-13 race, Morpeth’s Rory Leonard was second in the Under-17 event and Houghton Harrier Henry Johnson was third Under-15 Boy and his clubmate Will Bellamy was 14th.

The North East also impressed in the team contest by placing runners-up in each of the male age groups.

Johnson and Bellamy had previously led Houghton with a series of fine performances in the 1,500m at the opening meeting of the North Eastern Counties Grand Prix at Monkton.

They were headed by first year Under-17 Johnson, who clocked a grade one standard with his time of 4.00.18 for third place in the A graded race. Under-17 Bellamy won the B race also in a grade one standard of 4.04.42.

Johnson and Bellamy are now second and seventh respectively on the Under-17 UK ranking lists.

The other club athletes all achieved grade four standards and they were: Under-17s Lydia James (4.53.00), Anna Pigford (5.00.61), Under-15s Chris Coulson (4.45.23) and Nicole Phillips (5.14.86).

Sunderland Harrier Under-15 Dillon Ravell gained a grade four standard with his time of 4.46.13 and Steve McMahon clocked a good time of 4.12.94 for an Over-40 veteran.

Sunderland Harriers turned out eight sprinters in the North Shields Poly Open Track Relays meeting at Whitley Bay. And they celebrated by winning three events with victory in the Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s 4x100m relay and the Mixed 4x200m event.

The men were Jordan Beavers, Reece Carroll, Andrew Rhodes and Logan Powell, who just missed out on the 4x100m meeting record.

The winning 4x100m women’s team was Paige Dembry, Robyn Taylor, Aimie Hunter and Anna Harris.

Sprint coach Andy Abbott’s Sunday morning relay training sessions have at last paid dividends with the sprinters best results for years.

Sunderland Harriers’ Over-35 veteran women bid to beat their performance of last year in the British Masters’ Road Relay Championships at Sutton Coldfield on Saturday.

They finished fifth last year and the same team will again be turning out at Sutton Park. The team with their times were: Jacqueline Etherington (19.00), Coleen Compson (20.53), Nicola Woodward (19.31) and Vicky Younger (19.39).

South Shields Harriers stage their Sand Dancer race on Sunday (11am).This is a 10km multi-terrain race for seniors that takes place along the cliff tops of the South Shields coastline.

It finishes on the track at Gypsies Green. The young athletes event (10.30am) is a 1km and 3km depending on age. Numbers are collected on the day from 9am.