Sunderland Harrier Andy Powell realised one of his all-time goals when he triumphed in the Events of the North Siglion 10k Road Race at Keel Square yesterday.
He led from the start to the finish yesterday, with the massive field of 2,143 spread out behind him down the length of St Mary’s Way.
After a short tour of the city centre, it was clear he was out to make a statement as he had nearly a 30-second lead at around 2.5k on the chasing pair of Liam Taylor and training pal Ian Dixon, before they crossed Wearmouth Bridge.
Evenwood’s John Clifford and Harrier Ian Ritchie were following in their tracks, with the rest of the field a long way back.
It was clear that the race was going to be fought out between these five as they headed to the Roker seafront before turning into Roker Park and the 4k journey back to the finish.
But Powell did not suffer from his early exertions as the gap remained about the same at the finish.
He clocked 33min 3sec to beat Sunderland unattached runner Liam Taylor by 25 seconds. The 45-year-old Clifford moved up to third (33.31) after battling with Taylor up the long finishing straight.
Ritchie cruised into fourth (33.46) and a tired Dixon slipped to fifth (34.15) to win the Over-40 prize as Clifford did not count as he won an individual award.
Powell said: “I’m really delighted to have won the 10k.
“It was one of my all-time goals to win a Sunderland event and take the tape in my home town.
“With training being so up and down, I chose not to wear my Garmin, so mile splits wouldn’t bother me and instead I just took it on.
“My plan was to take off in the first two miles and open a gap which I could then retain and it worked out well.
“I didn’t want to play it safe and sit in.
“Anyone who knows me knows my philosophy of attacking a race win or lose. I’d rather die at the front than live at the back.
“Today was never about fast times, it was only about getting the job done and completing my goal. This year the 10k... next year the half marathon.’’
With Sunderland having four men in the first seven – Craig Gunn was seventh in a personal best time of 35.40 – and Steven Duffy 14th (36.50), it was a good day for the Harriers.
Jarrow and Hebburn’s Alex Sneddon was first female home in 15th overall (36.54), followed by Heaton Harriers’ Danielle Smythe (37.57) and Stephanie MaClean Dann of North Shields (39.29).
Sunderland Harriers’ talented all-rounder, Jacqueline Etherington, finished fourth (39.58) and Wendy Chapman of Sunderland Strollers took fifth (40.09).
Other local results: 21st Michael Heskett (Sunderland Harriers) 37.52, 27th Austin Thompson 38.45, 30th Shaun Kerry (Houghton) 39.16, 34th Chris Bell (Sunderland Harriers) 39.36, 40th Daniel Bewick (Washington Running Club) 39.59, 46th James Johnson (Sunderland Harriers) 40.34.
* There was a record field of more than 300 for the fun run and Sunderland Harrier Dylan Revell got the better of Sedgefield’s Ciaran Lines to win the race.
Connor Prior was third, Cameron Lawton fourth and Rhys Clark sixth to make it a good day for the Harriers’ youngsters