Sunderland Harriers senior men’s team made a good start to their Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League campaign at the opening First Division fixture at Wrekenton on Saturday.
The Wearsiders won the match and now top the league after defeating second club Morpeth by just six points with Tyne Bridge Harriers finishing third.
With a field of 594 finishers for the six-mile handicap race, Sunderland fast pack men Ian Dixon and Kevin Jeffress charged through the field to ensure success.
Giving away a five minutes start to the slow pack, Dixon and Jeffress finished 37th (32.07) and 38th (32.08) respectively, for the fifth and sixth fastest times overall.
And with slow pack men Michael Thompson in 11th (35.19), Steve McMahon 14th (35.36) and Graham Pullan 23rd (36.24), the team were off to a flying start.
The last counter was Over-55 Paul Merrison who closed the scoring in 69th (38.06).
The race was won by Durham City Harrier and former Northern Cross Country champion Dan Garbutt in 31.58 for the fourth best time.
The fastest runner on the course was Morpeth’s Sam Hancox with 30.08, who got through to 10th from the fast pack.
The Sunderland women’s team made their First Division debut following promotion last season and they got off to a steady start.
They finished seventh with Jenna Wilkinson in the starring role with her hard-fought-for second place.
She recorded 26.17 in finishing 25 seconds behind Tynedale Harrier Lisa Tang....