young blood boosts new-look harriers

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The 23rd Sunderland Harriers 5k Road Race staged at Silksworth Sports Complex last Wednesday saw much improved results for the hosts.

Sunderland Harriers lifted their first ever Northern team medals in both the men’s and women’s events to raise big smiles from their team managers.

Eddie Maddison, the hard-working women’s guru, saw his girls lift the silver medal with a new-look team that included two teenagers.

All three of the team dipped below the 20 minute barrier to signal that much improvement has been achieved on the Silksworth training track.

Indeed, Alice Smith, a 33-year-old mother of two, just failed to slip under the 18 minutes benchmark, such has been her improvement since she joined-up with the Harriers about 12 months ago.

Then, her best for the 5k distance was 23 minutes, but now under the guidance of coach Richie Tough, her times have come tumbling down.

The Penshaw athlete raised some concern when she competed in a tough multi-terrain marathon just ten days before the 5k and finished second overall and first woman in 3hr 17min.

But that did not seem to blunt her performance where she recorded 18.04 to place fourth to just miss out on a North East and Northern individual medal.

Jess Fox, 18, was second counter for the team in 10th (18.57) in another PB by five seconds.

Maddison had a double reason to be ‘over the moon’ with his protégés as third scorer for the club was his 15-year-old granddaughter Eve Quinn, stepping up to race with senior athletes for the first time. She took this in her stride to finish 13th in 19.21.

Not too far behind her training mate was Sarah Knight, another 15-year-old who finished in 19.47.

Both Quinn and Knight’s performances have seen them ranked seventh and 13th in the UK rankings. They also have been selected for the North East team for the Inter County match at Hull on Sunday, August 7.

In the senior men’s race, tight team packing saw the Sunderland team pick-up bronze medals.

They placed Sparrow Morley in ninth (15.29), Steve McMahon 10th in the same time and Andy Powell 11th (15.33). All three recorded PB’s and this sees them move up the Sunderland 5k sub 16min table.

The biggest improvement was made by Steve McMahon, under 16 minutes for the first time, who put down a recent conversion to track racing for his much improved form and renewed confidence.

Team manager Albert James was delighted with the results and now his charges will march on to the new Gosforth multi-terrain relays on Sunday, August 14, and the Durham City Harriers’ Summer Cross Country Relays at the Racecourse on Thursday, August 18.

The under-16 minutes 5k list with the year of achievement is: 1 Brian Rushworth 14.34 – 2000. 2 Mark Hood 14.39 – 2011. 3 Gavin Massingham 15.08 – 2008. 4 Derek Mullen 15.11 – 2000. 5 Graham Lancaster 15.16 – 2001. 6 Patrick Martin 15.19 – 2006. 7 Richard Kemp 15.20 – 2003. 8 Tom Doughty 15.21 – 2004. 9 Kevin Calvert 15.21 – 2014. 10 Sparrow Morley 15.29 – 2016. 11 Steve McMahon 15.29 – 2016. 12 Kevin Jeffress 15.32 – 2015. 13 Lee Browell 15.33 – 2001. 14 Andy Powell – 15.33 – 2016. 15 Andrew Lilliendale 15.37 – 2002. 16 Mark Donkin 15.38 – 2001. 17 Dave Grover 15.44 – 2000. 18 Steve Potts 15.46 – 2004. 19 Ian Haggan 15.47 – 2003. 20 Jack Martin 15.58 – 2004. 21 Ian Ritchie – 15.58. 22 Nathan Reed 15.59 – 2015.

The inaugural Events of the North Durham City 10k and 5k will be held tonight. It will have one start for the two races and an unforgettable finish.

The World Heritage Site provides the stunning backdrop to this new event that chases through the narrow cobbled streets and along the River Wear with the imposing 900-year-old Cathedral always beckoning.

The 5k and 10k races start simultaneously in the market square. Whichever race you have chosen, the finish is at Palace Green in between the Cathedral and the Castle.

All competitors have free access to the Durham City Park and Ride system. The race start is 7pm.

The fourth fixture of the North East Grand Prix takes place at Gateshead tonight (7pm). Graded races are the 100m, 200m, 800m and 3,000m.