Sunderland Harriers won the inaugural Gosforth Harriers Summer Relay at Newcastle yesterday.
The 3x2-mile event was used to raise funds to provide a not-for-profit mobile rehabilitation and fitness service for those that have spinal cord injuries.
Gosforth Harrier Drew Graham, a talented 1500m runner, broke his back and was left paralysed after diving into a lake when studying in America nearly two years ago.
He was at the race yesterday to support his club-mates and exhibit his impressive mouth art.
Sunderland Harriers supported the race well with six teams, and the club’s senior men’s A team came from behind to win the race comfortably from Tyne Bridge.
Included in the Sunderland teams were holiday makers Oliver James, back from his studies in the States, and Gavin Massingham, an English teacher in Hong Kong.
Tyne Bridge took the lead on the first leg through Mark Fenwick with the fastest time of the day of 9min 16sec. Sunderland were in second through Steve Rankin’s 9.39 effort and then it was left to James to push the team into the lead with the day’s second fastest time of 9.19.
Steve McMahon was the anchor man who brought the royal blue vests over the finish line first, clocking 9.32 for his stint to secure Sunderland’s win by 44 seconds.
The Sunderland B team were fourth, led by the club’s 800m record holder Massingham (9.51), late replacement and just married Nathan Reed (10.18) and Jason Waite (11.07).
Houghton Harriers were 11th, courtesy of Dave Gribbon (11.41), Steve Barry (12.49) and Shawn McGrath (12.19).
The Sunderland Harriers veterans finished second to Heaton in an overall 10th, thanks to Paul Collins (11.22), Steve Gordon (11.12) and George Harden (12.48).
The women’s race was won by Tyne Bridge from Gosforth, with Sunderland – Michelle Avery (12.51), Coleen Compson (13.10) and Sarah O’Mahoney (13.05) – in third place.