Sunderland Harrier Kevin Jeffress’ gutsy performance in the stifling heat of the London Marathon saw him being rewarded with a personal best for the distance.
While many runners found the red-hot conditions overwhelming and were forced to drop out or slow down, the 38-year-old Seaham man soldiered on and doggedly kept to his race schedule
After going through halfway in 1.16.16, he clocked 2hr 35min 10sec to slice 20 seconds off his previous best from the 2017 Manchester Marathon.
The British veterans cross country international finished 68th club runner overall and took the accolade as the first runner from the North East to finish the race.
Clubmate Ian Ritche will be disappointed with his run of 2.54.04, as will Alice Smith, with her timing of 3.24.05, when they were both expecting much more.
Martin Blenkinsopp recorded 3.03.07 and Paul Redman came in on 3.07.04.
Sunderland Strollers’ results were: Luke McCormack (3.02.53), Andrew Duke (3.11.38), Wendy Chapman (3.18.50), Paul Dunlop (3.20.15), Daniel Anderson 3.25.44, Rachel Ball (3.34.21) and Rob Ayre (3.34.37).
Durham City Harriers had Robert Eaton on 2.41.40 and Andrew Hornsby (2.44.56).
Gateshead Harrier Michelle Nolan was the first woman from the North East to finish (2.58.07).
Sunderland Harriers had three men in the first nine in the Wallsend Terry O’Gara 5k Memorial Road Race yesterday.
First home for the Wearsiders was Over-45 Rob Walker in fourth (16.17), five seconds behind fellow Over-45 John Clifford (Evenwood).
Walker was competing just four days after finishing eighth (34.31.88) in the North Eastern Counties 10,000m championship at Monkton.
Steve McMahon took sixth (16.38) and Craig Gunn finished ninth (17.00) in the race won by Sam Hancox (Morpeth) in 15.29.
Other Sunderland Harriers to beat 20 minutes were Darren Stoker in 33rd (18.36), Paul Pigford 63rd (19.50) and Paul O’Brian 65th (19.58).
The women’s winner was Robyn Bennett (Elswick) in 25th (18.09).