SUNDERLAND Harriers’ senior men put in the performance that was needed to secure a final mid-table position in the First Division of the North Eastern Harrier League at Wrekenton on Saturday.
The royal blue vests finished fourth on the day to give them fifth place in the league.
Isherwood was the third fastest runner on the course with Durham’s Dan Jenkin the quickest in 11th (31.08).
The Wearsiders got off to a flying start in the six-mile handicap race, packing their first four counters inside the first 27 finishers.
Richard Kemp had the honour of leading the six-man Sunderland team home, finishing sixth from the slow pack in an actual time of 35min 10sec.
This was the 31-year-old’s first league race since 2010, on the same course, where he finished 10th. The Barnes athlete was a promising runner as a 19-year-old with times for 1500m (3.58.0), 3000m (8.36.8) and 5000m (15.14.5) to his name before he faded from the sport.
Medium-pack man Steve Rankin was next to finish in 15th (33.59) and then came fast pack man Craig Isherwood, giving away a five-minute start to the slow pack, to finish 19th in an actual time of 31.35.
The much-improved athlete was chasing the grand prix prize and he looked to be heading for victory when establishing a 40-yard gap over his rival, Conrad Franks.
But the Gateshead Harrier was the stronger finisher and he took 16th place, three seconds ahead of Isherwood, to take first prize in the grand prix by just one point.
Isherwood was the third fastest runner on the course, with Durham City Harrier Dan Jenkin the quickest in 11th (31.08).
The rest of Sunderland’s counters were Michael Laws in 27th (34.42), Steve Potts 53rd (32.48) and Ian Dixon 96th (33.25).
Sunderland Strollers had Thomas Clark in 72nd and Declan Munnelly 84th to finish 10th on the day and fifth in the Second Division.
Alyson Dixon helped to ensure Strollers’ First Division status in the women’s league.
The international marathon runner won the four-mile race, running from the fast pack, with the day’s best time of 22.04, after giving away a four-minute start to the slow pack.
The other three counters were Ashleigh Ewen in 42nd (27.31), Lesley Watson 119th (30.42) and Jill Kisler 136th (30.46), to finish fifth team and third off the bottom of the table.
Sunderland Harriers finished a final ninth in the Second Division, with Nicola Woodward 83rd, Colleen Compson 95th, Vikki Cotton 98th and Maria Davis 137th bringing the curtain down on the season.
Harriers’ under-17s men’s team ended their triumphant campaign by winning two individual medals.
Mark Smith was second and Nick Kileen third and with Chris Bell sixth they ended their season with another team victory to take the title.
Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett (Birtley) had a clear win in the under-17/20 race, running from the fast pack.
Houghton Harriers had Nicole Phillips as the winner of the under-11 girls’ race and the under-13 girls’ were third team with Philippa Ellis eighth, Anna Pigford 14th and Lydia James 20th.