SUNDERLAND Harriers scooped first team prize after finishing two runners in the first four in yesterday’s recording-breaking Sand Dancer 10k multi-terrain race in South Shields.
Kevin Jeffress took third place (32min 45sec) in the South Shields Harriers-promoted race, while Craig Isherwood was fourth (33.17) in the biggest field in the race’s history, with 341 finishers closing in at Gypsies Green Stadium
Over-45 veteran Alan Knebel provided vital support to his clubmates in 22nd (37.58) in the three-to-count team contest to help beat Tyne Bridge Harriers by 15 points.
Morpeth’s Ian Harding took the plaudits after setting out his stall before the first mile was completed. He piled on the pace to stretch out his rivals into a procession, before joining the Leas for the majority of the course.
Harding, who competes in this coming Sunday’s London Marathon, where he is aiming for a time around the 2hr 24min mark, clocked 31.48 to finish 22 seconds ahead of runner-up Andy Burn, of Jarrow and Hebburn AC. North Shields athlete Ian Twaddle was fifth (33.37) and Robert Balmbra (Morpeth) finished sixth (34.05).
Jeffress said: “It is the fastest I’ve run for 10k, but I know it doesn’t count for record purposes as it is a multi-terrain race.’’
Isherwood commented: “It was tough out there. The wind seemed to be against you the whole way. I felt tired after a hard week’s training.’’
Sunderland Stroller Paul Roper was first over-55 to finish in 33rd (39.05) and clubmate Steve Tinwell was 41st (39.58). Sunderland Harrier over-40 Tony Allinson was 45th (40.39) and over-45 Dean Phillips came home 54th (41.22).
The host club’s Georgia Campbell won the women’s race in fine style, finishing 23rd overall in 38.10. Jarrow and Hebburn’s Claire Simpson was second (38.49) and clubmate Elaine Leslie was third (39.16).
Sunderland Harrier Judith Thirwell was seventh (42.41), Vicki Cotton 22nd and Susan Clughen was first over-60 in 232nd.
Sunderland Harrier Oliver James clocked another personal best for 1500m (3.52.40) in the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific University, in the United States, where he is studying.