Sunderland Harriers among the prizes in Newcastle’s Norman Woodcock Memorial race

Paul Collins.
Paul Collins.
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WALLSEND’S Ethiopian star Yared Hagos suffered only his second defeat since moving to the North East during the summer in the Elswick Harriers’ Norman Woodcock Memorial five-mile Road Race at Gosforth Park, Newcastle on Saturday, writes Kevin Carr.

The 30-year-old East African was beaten by the host club’s Phil Hurst, 21, who was trailing by 30 yards on the first of three laps, to win by eight seconds in the windy conditions.

Hurst, who won the Northern Junior Cross Country title at Herrington Country Park last January, recorded 24.23.

Hagos, whose only previous defeat came in the Great North Run where he finished eighth, was reputedly aiming to beat the 2009 course record (23.48) established by Nick McCormack, but the determination of the gritty Hurst and the strong winds proved too much of a stumbling block.

Hurst has decided to miss this Saturday’s North East Cross Country Championships at East Cramlington. His next race is scheduled to be in the Northern 10k championships at Clitheroe on Tuesday, December 27.

Matthew Hynes of North York Moors finished third (25.18) and Sparrow Morley (Tyne Bridge) was fourth (27.16).

Sunderland Harriers were among the prizes with over-40 Paul Besford 14th (28.17) and over-45 Brian Bewick 16th (28.20) to place third in their categories. Graham Lancaster was 19th (29.46). Over-50 Paul Collins (right) was 25th in 30.15 and over-60 Jim Wightman finished 63rd in 34.46 to maintain their winning form in their age groups. Durham’s Ian Crampton was first over-45 in ninth (27.28).

London-based Clapham Chaser Justina Heslop, a former Elswick Harrier, shattered the women’s record of Chester-le-Street’s Angela Hibbs (28.58) when finishing a magnificent eighth overall in a new course record of 27.23 to scoop £100 for doing so. She finished nearly four minutes ahead of the second woman, Josephine Stone of Mandale, who clocked 31.04. Sunderland Harrier Anji Close was 85th in 37.51.

* Sunderland Harrier Ingrid Hope, an over-50, won the Blyth Sands handicap race yesterday.

Clubmate Alan Hodgson, an over-40, finished eleventh in the third fastest time of the day.