Sunderland Harriers’ veterans grab Yorkshire title as Jeffress shrugs off illness to play part

Kevin Jeffress
Kevin Jeffress
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Sunderland Harriers overcame an illness worry to walk away with the veterans’ title in the open Yorkshire Cross Country Championship at Sheffield on Saturday.

The club’s top over-35 veteran, Kevin Jeffress, went down with a bug just hours before the event.

But the Seaham man did not want to disappoint his club-mates and travelled to Graves Park, despite feeling unwell.

And this was reflected in his performance, he was the slowest runner on the three-man team, when normally he is the fastest.

He ran the middle leg and clocked 12min 16sec for the two-mile stage.

But he managed to maintain first place after Ian Dixon scorched round the first leg in the day’s fastest time of 10.59.

Anchorman Steven McMahon kept the momentum going to record 11.08 to finish 73 seconds ahead of second club Hallamshire.

Durham City women’s team of Rosie Smith, with the day’s second fastest time (11.22), Kim Simpson 13.21 and Chloe Price (12.41) finished fourth in the women’s relay which combined the Northern Championship, won by Lincoln Wellington.

Birtley were sixth, courtesy of Tracy Millmore (12.50), Amber Leigh (12.57) and Sophie Burnett (12.22).

Organisers Blackhill Bounders dominated the Gibside Fruit Bowl Trail race at the National Trust property yesterday.

They provided the first two runners home in Jordan Bell (40.05) and the winner of last week’s Hell Hole race in Stanley, Gary Wallace (40.20).

Callum Greig of Run Peterlee was the first runner to finish from Wearside in 19th (45.59).

Sunderland Harrier Paul Redman was second over-50 in 24th (46.47) and Michelle Avery was sixth women (49.52) behind the winner, Emma Holt (Morpeth), who finished 15th overall in 45.18.

Durham City Harrier Kim Simpson was third (49.17).

Sunderland Strollers had a good turnout and Gillian Ritchie was their first woman to finish in13th (53.26).

Lyne Valentine was next in 14th and first over-55 (53.39), Clare Bahane finished 15th (53.42), Victoria Booth was 17th (54.16) and Rachel Ball 23rd (55.20). Sunderland Harrier Nicola Woodward ended 24th (55.30).

The Strollers men saw Andy Duke in 25th (47.07), Tim Allsop 27th (47.35), Gavin Sword third over-50 in 28th (47.37), Ritchie Gerry was 50th (49.54), Michael Henderson 65th (50.42) and Chris Dwyer 73rd (51.14).