Sunderland Harriers created history when they became the first club to win all three male North East Road Relay titles at Hetton Lyons Country Park on Saturday.
They won the main six-stage event for the Royal Signals trophy for the first time since 2007, after a neck and neck tussle with holders Morpeth Harriers.
Not to be out done, the club’s Over-40 team and the Over-50 team scored emphatic wins in their events to add to the glory of the day.
With stand in senior men’s team manager Jimmy Johnson at the helm, the six- man Sunderland team were determined to impress there new leader. And they did so with relish over the two laps of 2.22 miles of pathways.
It was World Student Games 1500m finalist Michael Wilson that led off for the Wearsiders’ and he finished with a flourish in third (10.56) behind the shock leader, Houghton Harrier Cameron Allan (10.47).
Morpeth took the lead on the second circuit through Joe Amstrong, who clocked the fastest time of the day (10.43) and headed Sunderland’s Liam Taylor (11.05) by seven seconds.
Michael Barker was next off for the royal blue vests and he pegged back the gap to four seconds with his stint of 11.37. But Morpeth lengthened the lead through Ross Floyd to 15 seconds after Andy Powell, just back from injury, recorded 11.40 to maintain Sunderland’s second place.
It was Craig Gunn that took the city club into the lead on the penultimate stage with his 11.27 circuit to give Sunderland a 15 second cushion going into the last leg.
It was now down to Steve Rankin, whose best for 3000m is 9.00min, who faced Under-20 Morpeth runner Kieran Hedley, who has an 8.36 3000m time to his name. At halfway Hedley had reduced the deficit to seven seconds. But the youngster went on to blow a gasket as Rankin powered through the gale force winds to extend the Sunderland lead to 21 seconds at the finish and to score a dramatic win.
The Sunderland Over-40s again defeated Morpeth, this time by nearly two minutes to easily win their category.
The team who finished 8th overall was Chris Jackson 11.57, Kevin Jeffress 11.50, Steve McMahon 12.01, Martin Blenkinsopp 13.10 Graeme Pullan 13.27 and Steve Gordon 13.07.
The Over 50s beat North Shields Poly again by a big margin to add to the Sunderland medal haul. The team was Tim Field 12.57, Michael Thompson12.06, Paul Merrison 13.16 and Darren Fletcher. 14.01.
Houghton Harriers were also in celebratory mood, winning their first ever medals in the senior men’s and senior women’s relays.
After Cameron Allan had led the way on the first leg with the second quickest time overall, Lee Dover 11.38, Johnny Evans 11.21, Rory Graham 12.23, Chris Coulson12.29 and Will Bellamy 11.42 ensured the clubs first medals.
The Houghton young women’s team took well deserved silver medals, behind Morpeth, through Eva Hardie 13.18, Lara Greggs 15.06, Nicole Phillips 14.29 and Anna Pigford 14.03.