Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress clinches best win of his athletics career

Kevin Jeffress tops the podium.
Kevin Jeffress tops the podium.
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Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress pulled off the biggest win of his athletics career with victory in the Vale of York Half Marathon.

The 39-year-old clipped two seconds off his previous best, set in the 2014 Great North Run, with his 71.49 clocking at Sherburn in Elmet.

In a field of 1,500, it came down to a close finish at the front with the Seaham man winning by seven seconds from New Marske’s Lewis Gamble-Thompson with Elvet Strider Stephen Jackson third in 72.00 minutes exactly.

Jeffress said: “Lewis Gamble-Thompson opened up big lead during the first few miles and was almost out of sight. Myself and Stephen Jackson worked well together in a pack of five for 10 miles.

“Stephen then broke away and I went with him, we ran together until 12 miles and realised we were closing in on first place.

“We were running into a strong headwind but I ran my fastest two miles in miles twelve and thirteen. I caught Gamble-Thompson with 800 metres to go.

“I’m really happy with my result and my year in general. I have improved my times over every distance this year, so pleased to be heading in right direction.”

Jeffress, who won the North East Masters Over-35 cross country title and the 5000m titles this year, has seen his PB’s improve to: Half marathon 71.49, 10k - 32.06, Five miles – 25.55, 5k 15.29 and 5000m 15.40.9.

Houghton Harrier Lee Dover finished 11th (75.34) in the Vale of York event and Sunderland Strollers placed Michael Lavender in 21st (78.17), Jamie Collin was 38th (79.56) and Andrew Duke finished 61st (82.47).