Sunderland Harrier Nathan Reed is back on course to full fitness after long-term injury problems have blighted his year and beyond.
The 26-year-old returned to competition on Saturday at the Gosforth Park Norman Woodcock Memorial Road Relays and he achieved his most significant result since he had his last full season in 2016.
He clocked the fourth fastest overall time in competing for the Sunderland B team and if he had been in the A team, the Harriers would have finished runners-up instead of third.
Reed, a science teacher at Farringdon Community Academy, said: “It was hard to justify my selection for the A Team as this was only my fifth race since the North Eastern Cross Country Championships in 2016.
“I hadn’t raced since the Ken Jefferson Memorial Cross Country Relays at Farringdon in September where I was over one minute slower than clubmate Kevin Jeffress.”
His performance this time saw him beat Jeffress on the opening leg by two seconds and it was a considerable improvement on his last competitive outing.
The Sunderland club captain added: “Training has been going well with sessions set by team manager Albert James. But you never know until you get into a race how fit you really are.
“I’m going to race a 5km at the weekend at Croft, then the North Eastern Cross Country Championships where my aim is to be a team counter as the distance will be a bit tougher for me at the moment.”
Reed is one of two teachers, the other is Farringdon PE teacher Andy Roberts, who organise schools athletics in Sunderland.
The county schools’ committee has agreed that Wearside Schools can change their name to the much more appropriate Sunderland Schools. They will also change their colour of their vest after receiving a £500 grant from Sunderland Harriers.
They will compete under their new colours for the first time in the County Schools’ Cross Country Championships at Barnard Castle on the Saturday afternoon of January 9....