Powell’s last-lap surge seals bronze medals for Sunderland Harriers

Nathan Reed was the joint fastest Sunderland Harrier.  Picture by Hudson Stoker
Nathan Reed was the joint fastest Sunderland Harrier. Picture by Hudson Stoker
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Sunderland Harriers were happy to come away from the North East championships with two sets of medals in the men’s events.

The Wearsiders’ senior men’s team had to wait until the last leg of six before they got into the frame. Andy Powell’s 11min 13sec stint, compared to New Marske’s Tristan Learoyd’s 11.40 clocking, sealed the bronze medals for the city club.

Powell, who had set off 80 yards behind Learoyd, had pulled level going into the second lap.

Powell said: “I thought I had the measure of him after beating him in the Pit Stop 10k during the summer at Croft. He had tried to get away up one of the hills, but I hauled him back and moved away.

“It was great to be rewarded with the bronze medals for the club’’.

The rest of the Sunderland team which finished behind winners Morpeth and second-placed Gateshead featured Nathan Reed in eighth (11.13), Ian Dixon eighth (11.57), Kevin Jeffress fifth (11.26), Steve McMahon fifth (11.18) and Liam Roarty fourth (11.44).

The Sunderland B team were eighth, with Steve Rankin (11.34), Matt Devlin (11.52), Michael Edwards (12.06), Aidan Crowe (12.19), Ben Craig (12.00) and Noel Hitchcock (12.25).

Hosts Houghton Harriers’ young team ran well for 15th, courtesy of Alex Brown (11.29), Jamie Reed (12.15), Ryan Clark (12.48), Lee Dover (12.48), Rory Graham 12.49 and Adam Middleton (13.24).

Durham City Harrier Dan Jenkin, on the first leg, was the fastest overall (10.41).

Sunderland over-40 veterans finished just 13 second outside the medals in fourth. They were Michael Thompson (11.58), Alan Knebel (12.57), Steven Graham (12.50), Steve Gordon (13.13), Dave Lash (13.23) and Mark Head (12.56).

The over-50 team finished runners-up to North Shields after leading for the first two legs through Tim Field, with the third quickest time (12.30), and Paul Merrison (12.53).

It was the third leg where the race changed dramatically, when comeback man Brian Bewick found himself up against one of the best veteran runners for his age in the world.

Guy Bracken recorded an amazing 11.15 for a 53-year-old. He charged past Bewick, despite him having the fifth fastest time (12.32). Bracken’s record stands at 11.09.

Such was the quality of his performance, he could have been included in any one of the first three clubs to finish in the senior men’s race. Steve Coxon was Sunderland’s anchor and he recorded 13.49 behind winners North Shields.