Sunderland Harriers scooped two sets of team medals in the Waite Accountants sponsored 26th Sunderland 5k Road Race that also included the North East and Northern Championships.
The senior men took second place in the three-to-count team competition and the women took bronze at Silksworth Sports Complex.
It was the inform Liam Taylor, going into the race with four wins in a row behind him, that led the men’s team home. While he did not maintain his winning run, he just missed out on the championship individual bronze medal by one second in fifth (15.27). Ahead of him was Blackhill Bounder Jordan Bell. The second placed runner did not count in the championship as he comes from Bristol
Taylor was backed by Nathan Reed with a good run in 12th (15.49) and Over-40 veteran Kevin Jeffress, who also won his category in 14th (15.51).
The Wearsiders’ also placed Craig Gunn in 16th (15.59), Over-40 Ian Dixon 20th (16.05) and Michael Barker 23rd (16.12). Sunderland Stroller Mark Anderson was 18th (16.01).
The race ended in drama when the race leader Bristol and West’s Jarlath’s McKenna, who was having a neck and neck tussle with Morpeth’s Sam Hancox, diverted off the course with just 30 metres to go. That allowed Hancox to hit the front as McKenna lost his momentum on his brief detour.
At the finish Hancox took the race and the titles that go with it in winning by just one second in 15.02.
McKenna sportingly said afterwards that he blamed himself for his mistake and he thought Hancox would have beaten him anyway as he was moving onto his shoulder.
The warm weather had some influence on times as this was the first time since 2010 that the 15 minute barrier was not beaten and it was the second slowest time in the history of the race.
The Sunderland women’s team ran well to take bronze with Jenna Wilkinson steering the team home in 14th (19.30) followed by Jacqie Etherington 17th (19.43) and Amy Callaghan 18th (19.49).
The race winner was North Shields athlete Charlotte Penfold (17.40) followed by Sunderland’s Sophie Burnett , who competes for Birtley in second (17.46) and Heaton’s Danielle Smythe in third (17.58).
The Over-50 Men’s race was won by world record holder and North Shields athlete Over-55 Guy Bracken, who won by a street in 16.18. Morpeth’s Lee Bennett was second (17.03) and Over-55 Tyne Bridge Harrier Keith Smith was third (17.14).
Sunderland Harrier Michael Thompson was fourth (17.16), Tim Field finished seventh (18.05), Paul Redman took ninth (18.12), Over-60 Paul Merrison was 12th (18.21) and first Over-60 and Over-55 George Harden claimed 15th (18.57).