Records tumble at Hetton + SLIDESHOW

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THERE were records all the way when the Royal Signals North East Road Relay Championships were staged at Hetton Lyons Country Park for the fifth time on Saturday.

Despite the rain and cold conditions, record fields turned out in the four events, which took in two laps of the park.

EARLY LEADERS: Durham City Harrier Dan Jenkin and Sunderland Harrier Kevin Calvert on the first leg of the senior men's relay.

EARLY LEADERS: Durham City Harrier Dan Jenkin and Sunderland Harrier Kevin Calvert on the first leg of the senior men's relay.

Around 800 runners were involved in the four-stage and six-stage relays for men and women and two individual course records and one club record were smashed.

Olympian Laura Weightman was in top form in the women’s race and Guy Bracken was also in record-breaking mood in the over-50 veterans’ event. North Shields veteran women set a new course record in their event, finishing in 54.22.

Sunderland Harriers, showed a glimpse of their former glory when they were in second place at halfway in the senior men’s six-stage relay. They have won the event 12 times, the last time in 2007.

They had a great start, thanks to Kevin Calvert’s second place (11.06) behind Durham’s Dan Jenkin’s 10.56 on the opening stage. Nathan Reed then improved on that, shooting into the lead with his 11.14 stint, before 18-year-old Michael Wilson, the North East junior 800m champion, slipped back to second (11.47). It was Andy Wiles (New Marske) who powered into the lead with his blistering run of 10.48.

Then, as expected, it was all downhill for the city club, as stand-in reserves Steve Potts (12.27) dropped to fourth, then Ian Dixon slipped to sixth (12.20) before 48-year-old Tim Field brought the club home in seventh (12.32), for a total time of (71.26).

Gateshead came from behind to win the race (67.03) after impressive legs by their last two runners, Calum Johnson (10.45) and the fastest run overall, Chris Parr (10.44).

New Marske were second (67.37) and defending champions Morpeth finished third this time (68.10) with Nick Swinburn having an outstanding run on the fourth leg (10.47).

Sunderland Strollers finished 30th with Andy Powell (12.44). Micky Laws (12.47), Chris Tynemouth (13.15), Aidan Crowe (13.43), Adan Kahn (13.31) and Michael Edwards (13.04).

Sunderland Harriers B team, fielding 15 and 16-year-olds, finished 34th, they were Nick Kleen (13.16), Alex Mitchell (14.10), Jonny Howe (13.25), Mark Smith (13.05), Aaron Mason (13.43) and Sam Harris (12,55).

Hosts Houghton Harriers were 45th through Steve Johnson (13.30), Alex Brown (12.30), L Thompson (14.46), M Graham (15.03), A Forster (14.13) and Alan Readman (16.02).

Fastest laps 1 Chris Parr (Gates) 10.44, 2 Calum Johnson (Gates) 10.45, 3 Nick Swinburn (Morpeth) 10.47, 4 Andy Wiles (New Marske) 10.48, 5 Russell Best (New Marske) 10.55.

H Sunderland Harrier Oliver James studying in New Orleans, finished second on Saturday in the indoor one mile event at the Cowboy invitational in Lake Charles in Louisiana in a personal best 4.13.02.

He is ranked second in the South Lands conference over that distance.