Sunderland Harriers dominated the North East Masters’ Cross Country Relay Championships at Birtley yesterday
The hurried arranged fixture following the cancellation of the Durham City Harriers event at the Race Course was a huge success for Birtley Harriers with 171 teams entered.
And Sunderland Harriers made the most of the occasion by scooping the Over-35 and Over-45 men’s relay gold, plus bronze medals in the Over-65 competition.
They also provided three runners that ran the fastest lap times in their category and placed three teams in the first eight in an entry of 74.
Team Captain Dean Phillips said: “It was one of our greatest performances by the lads.
“The Over-35s won by a street as did the Over-45s. Every athlete in the race ran above themselves on the day. They deserve our congratulations.”
It was Michael Barker who got the show off to a perfect start by leading on the first leg with his time of 10.24 which gave him the second fastest time overall behind Gateshead’s Conrad Franks, who was the quickest overall with his 10.05 posting.
Next off for Sunderland was Kevin Jeffress, who recorded 10.32 before Steve McMahon anchored with the fastest time for an Over-40 (10.29) to give Sunderland a 47 seconds victory over Gateshead.
In third place was Sunderland Over-45s, with Rob Walker, who finished fourth on the opening leg (10.44), before handing over to Over-50 Tim Field, who claimed the quickest time for his excellent effort of 11.01.
Paul Blakey closed in for the Wearsiders with the best time for an Over-45 with 10.35...