SUNDERLAND Harriers jumped from fifth to joint third in the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League first division senior men’s league at Wrekenton on Saturday.
The Wearsiders finished second overall to league leaders Morpeth, who head the division on 12 points from Gateshead (14). Sunderland have 16 points, along with Durham City Harriers and South Shields.
Now with only two fixtures remaining at Alnwick on March 2 and Prudhoe on March 23, it is not beyond the Wearsiders to again be in the fray for league honours at the tough Tynedale course.
Leading the charge for Sunderland at the Saltwell Harriers’ promotion was bus inspector Sean Smith. Having his first cross country race for 13 years in preparation for the London Marathon, he finished 13th (37.00) running from the slow pack in the six-mile handicap race.
Medium pack runner Steve Potts was next to finish in an actual time of 34.32 in 15th before Mark Hood made a welcome return to competition, after a long absence through injury, to finish 20th.
The fast pack runner claimed the third fastest time of the day (32.24) behind Durham’s Dan Jenkin’s superb run in fourth (31.05) and Morpeth’s Richard Morrell in 11th (31.58), both also running from the fast pack.
Michael Barker kept the Sunderland momentum going in 22nd running from the mediums, recording 34.56 before Abiel Werede finished in 34th (37.42). The Eritrean improved dramatically from his debut run at Jarrow where he had finished 237th. Team manager Paul Redman closed the scoring in 52nd (38.05) to claim the team’s second best performance of the season behind their win at Jarrow.
Sunderland Strollers lifted themselves outside the relegation zone after finishing in sixth place with four runners inside the first 100. They had Steve Rankin in 36th (35.16) and Steve McMahon 37th (35.18) both running from the medium pack. Ken Maynard was 43rd (37.54) and Anthony Wilton 57th (38.15).
League table: 1 Morpeth 12pts, 2 Gateshead 14pts, 2, 3 Sunderland Harriers 16, 4 South Shields 16, 5 Durham 16, 5, 6 Low Fell 25, 7 Heaton 28, 8 Sunderland Strollers 29, 9 North Shields 32, 10 Wallsend 32.
Sunderland Strollers women finished third overall but were second in division one to improve on their seventh place in the league.
They had Rachael Ball with a good run from the slow pack, in 11th (28.49), Jill Kisler 25th (30.02) and Dianne Shotton 32nd (30.19) in the race won by Newcastle’s University’s Rebecca Rigby (26.43).
The fastest runner was fast packer, Jarrow and Hebburn’s Alex Snook in tenth place (24.47).
Sunderland Harriers were eighth in division two and Houghton Harriers were tenth. First home for Sunderland was Helen Higgins in 78th (32.12) and Houghton’s best came from Katie Scott in 31st (30.14).
There were no team and individual grand prix points for the young athletes events and no pack changes for this fixture, due to the rescheduling of the schools event at Guisborough.
Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon broke her own course record when winning the Sunderland parkrun on Saturday. She recorded 16.46.
Inter County Schools Meeting at Laurence Jackson School, Guisborough.
Senior Boys: 1 J Nisbet (North’d) 26:09; 2 D Overin (N Yorks) 26:44; 3 D Newton (Dur) 26:55.
Inter Boys: 1 L Emmett (Dur) 18:42; 2 J Catterall (N Yorks) 18:53; 3 P Winkler (North’d) 19:18; 4 T Goulding (Dur); 6 A Brown (Dur) 19:44; 9 O Watson (Dur) 19:48; 10 J Jones (Dur) 19:54.
Junior Boys: 1 M Lonsdale (Dur) 15:34; 2 R Brown (N Yorks) 15:38; 3 A Brown (Dur) 16:12.
Minor Boys: 1 J Cowperthwaite (Cleve) 11:40; 2 E Brennan (N Yorks) 11:40; 3 J Ritchie (North’d) 12:04; 4 J Anderson (Dur) 12:04
Senior Girls: 1 A Etherington (Dur) 17:42; 2 E Mooney (North’d) 18:05; 3 S Forster (Dur) 18:10; 8 A Coulson (Dur) 19:45.
Inter Girls: 1 C Pain (N Yorks) 17:58; 2 M Moore (N Yorks) 18:09; 3 S Montgomery (Dur) 18:19; 4 S Burnett (Dur) 18:24; 12 E Daglish (Dur) 18:58; 14 D Elliott (Dur) 19:05.
Junior GIrls: 1 E Clapton (N Yorks) 12:20; 2 H Elliot (Cleve) 12:30; 3 L Hedger (Cleve) 12:36.
Minor Girls: 1 R Purves (North’d) 8:43; 2 S Jones (Dur) 8:49; 3 F Bell (Cleve) 9:08.