Officials hail 5k race – rewarding Sunderland Harriers with two more years

Jessica Fox, who is tenth on UK ranking list for 5k.
Jessica Fox, who is tenth on UK ranking list for 5k.
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Northern Athletics officials were so impressed with the organisation and the competitiveness of the Sunderland 5k, that they have asked Sunderland Harriers to host the event again for the next two years.

The club had been awarded the Northern Championship, as well as the North East Championship to be held within the race at Silksworth Sports Complex.

Previous events had been overloaded with runners on the tight course around the two fishing lakes. So the decision was made to have two events instead of just one.

With much more elbow room, athletes were rewarded by dozens of personal bests on the fast course.

Northern Road Running secretary Ken Smith said: “It was a very well organised event with many PBs being set on the night.

“The quality of the fields gave the championship a big profile and Sunderland Harriers can be congratulated for a job well done.

“We are pleased to say that Sunderland has been given the championship for the next two years.”

A total of 134 personal bests were set from the two events, with 55 from race one for women and men veterans’ over the age of 50, and 79 PB’s in race two for senior men and over-40 veterans.

In the senior men’s race, an amazing 22 runners in the first 25 finishers set a PB, with Leeds City athlete Carl Smith, the winner in 14.37, being one of those missing out, although his time was a season’s best.

Three runners from Sunderland Harriers who made the first 25 with PBs were: Kevin Jeffress in 16th (15.32), Sparrow Morley 23rd (15.50) and Andy Powell 25th (15.53).

The women’s winner, Tyne Bridge Harrier Justina Heslop, shot to the top of the UK over-35 veterans’ ranking list with her time of 16.28.

The men’s over-50 winner Guy Bracken (North Shields) moved to second overall in his category with his clocking of 15.39.

Two Sunderland Harrier youngsters also shone with their performances. Jessica Fox recorded 19.02 to claim 10th spot in the junior women’s UK rankings and Sean Mackie is 11th in the under-15 boys’ chart with his time of 16.55.

Following the race, the Sunderland Harriers list of sub 16-minute men on the course is now 19 strong with the new additions added.

The list with the year of achievement is: 1 Brian Rushworth 14.34 – 2000, 2 Mark Hood 14.39 – 2011, 3 Gavin Massingham 15.08 – 2008, 4 Derek Mullen 15.11 – 2000, 5 Graham Lancaster 15.16 – 2001, 6 Patrick Martin 15.19 – 2006, 7 Richard Kemp 15.20 – 2003, 8 Tom Doughty 15.21 – 2004, 9 Kevin Calvert 15.21 – 2014, 10 Kevin Jeffress 15.32 –2015, 11 Lee Browell 15.33 – 2001, 12 Andrew Lilliendale 15.37 – 2002, 13 Mark Donkin 15.38 – 2001, 14 Dave Grover 15.44 – 2000, 15 Steve Potts 15.46 – 2004, 16 Ian Haggan15.47 – 2003, 17 Sparrow Morley 15.50 – 2015, 18 Andy Powell 15.53 – 2015, 19 Jack Martin 15.58 – 2004.

The track and field season is heading towards its conclusion and Sunderland Harriers’ Grand Prix is heating-up to an exciting finale.

The leaders are: Seniors and under-20: 1 Jessica Fox 58pts, 2 Mark Smith 52, 3 Michael Wilson 50, 4 Sparrow Morley 32, 5 Jack Tallentire 32.

Under-17: 1 Molly Gardener 70, Declan Murray 70, 3 Sean Mackie 52, 4 Reece Carroll 50, 5 Eve Quinn 48.

Under-13: Lydia Stoker 38, 2 Lucy Gardener 34, 3 Freya Doran 24, John Harris 24.

Around 50 Strollers were involved in the Lakeland 50 at the weekend, one the greatest ultra running challenges in Europe. Some were competing and others marshalling at Wasdale.

They were rewarded for their efforts with Jon Davies and Ken Maynard clinching the male pairs prize and Kirsty McSween, Jill Connolly and Nicola Carr collecting the female trio title.

Sunderland Harrier Craig Isherwood (36.41) finished second to Evenwood’s over-40 John Clifford (36.23) in the Hamsterley Forest muli-terrain 10k.

Club-mate Michael Heskett was seventh (42.36). Sunderland Stroller Christopher Dwyer was 18th (47.07) and Lyne Valentine was first over-60 (48.53).