Sunderland Harriers senior men’s team had to be satisfied with third team place in the Heaton Harriers Memorial 10k Road Race at Newcastle’s Town Moor yesterday.
The Wearsiders’ had been gunning for first place in the popular race with around 600 runners, who made a wonderful sight as they snaked around the course in the sunny and windless conditions.
But club captain Nathan Reid failed a late fitness test as he was feeling under-par and the team hopes of winning the trophy for the first time since 2015 disappeared.
It was then left to Liam Taylor, Andy Powell, Craig Gunn and Sam Thurlbeck to salvage a decent performance and they did so in determined fashion.
First home for the royal blue vests was Taylor, who finished sixth and recorded 32.06 in the race won by Salford Harrier Marc Brown in 30.43.
Next over the line for Sunderland was the fast finishing Andy Powell who was delighted with his seventh place after long term injury problems in finishing just one second behind Taylor.
Craig Gunn found the going tough and looked a shadow of the runner that won the Kielder Half Marathon by a street. He finished 22nd (34.33) in a time well outside his best of 33.45.
Fourth and final counter for the city club was Sam Thurlbeck who finished 45th in a time 70 seconds faster than his previous fastest with his 36.39 clocking to win a well deserved first ever team prize.
Conrad Franks, who was beaten by Liam Taylor just a couple of weeks ago in the Hexham 10k, led Gateshead to victory in second place (31.09) and clubmate Gus Withers was third (31.18).
Birtley’s Adrian Bailes led his team to second place with fifth position (32.00).
Sunderland Stroller Mark Anderson finished 11th (33.11) and former Sunderland Harrier Liam Roarty now with Morpeth was 13th (33.43).
The women’s winner was the host club’s Danielle Smythe in 36.05 and second was Lucy Frin Hunter (36.18).
Other Sunderland Harriers to place in the first 100 were Over-45 Martin Blenkinsopp in 66th (37.50), Aidan Crowe 69th (37.55), Paul MacLachlan 77th (38.19) and Over-40 Graeme Pullan 94th (39.01).