SUNDERLAND Harriers maintained their mid-table position with a creditable fourth place in the senior men’s First Division match of the North Eastern Harrier League at Bedewell Park, Jarrow, on Saturday.
The Wearsiders packed their six counters inside the first 93 finishers, in a field of near 500 in the six-mile handicap race, to pull away from the relegation dogfight.
Over a course with ankle-deep mud in places, it proved a tough challenge for the hardiest of Harriers and it was fitting that marathon man Sean Smith, running from the massive slow pack and enjoying a five-minute start, led the club home in 15th in an actual tine of 38min 51sec.
But the star performer for Sunderland was Craig Isherwood, running from the fast pack with a five minute handicap, slicing through the field to take 24th in the day’s second fastest time of 34.28.
Morpeth’s find of the season, Carl Avery, was the fastest of the day after storming through to sixth (31.34).
Third counter for Sunderland was Ian Dixon in 30th (37.16), then came Steve Potts in 55th (35.40), Paul Blakey 63rd (38.25) and Michael Barker in 93rd (36.34), ensured Sunderland kept their sixth spot in the table.
Sunderland Strollers finished sixth in the Second Division and making the first 100 were Gavin Sword 40th (40.07) Tim Allsop 58th (40.41) and Thomas Clark 71st (38.31). Houghton finished eighth in the Third Division and Stephen Johnson was 81st (41.19).
Sunderland Strollers turned out in force and were rewarded with their best performance of the season by finishing second to Gateshead in the women’s First Division. They moved from bottom spot to eighth in the league by placing Rebecca Calvert in eighth (30.21), Victoria Booth 12th (30.54), Moyra Magowan 35th (32.06) and Ashleigh Ewen 37th (30.09).
Sunderland Harriers dropped to ninth in the Second Division after finishing tenth. Colleen Compson was their first counter in 65th (32.42).
Morpeth Harrier Emma Holt who charged through to third from the fast pack, recorded 25.05 for the day’s fastest time.
Sunderland Harriers’ under-17 men’s team increased their lead at the top of their league to five points.
They finished runners-up to Morpeth in the race by placing new member Jack Talentire fourth, Jonny Howe fifth and Jack Smith tenth.
Eve Quinn won her first medal by finishing third in the under-15 girls’ race.
Houghton Harriers had fast pack runners Alex Brown runner-up in the under-17s men’s race.
Henry Johnson finished fourth in the under-13 boys’ and Eva Hardie was seventh under-13 girl. In the under-11 scratch race, Nicole Phillips was third.