Sunderland Harriers had four athletes racing over the marathon distance down at Manchester this morning.

The course is well-known for being one of the flattest in the country, producing very quick times. A record field of 32,000 were totally 'mad for it' as they took advantage of near perfect conditions. And quick times our quartet ran as they bludgeoned their personal bests.

Liam Walshaw was the first Harrier home as he knocked 11 minutes off his personal best to cross the line in 2 hours, 33 minutes, And 42 seconds. Next, powering his way to an 18-minute personal best was Kevin Johnson as he ran 2 hours, 58 minutes, and 9 seconds.

(what's The Story) Morning Glory!!.

Let's hope Kevin recovers well, as he is putting his body through the mill yet again at next week's London Marathon. Both athletes undoubtedly have done their coach, Richard Tough very proud.

Charlotte Stidolph, after an impressive build-up through the winter, ran the race of her life as she obliterated her personal best by 27 minutes. The Glenn Forster coached athlete scampered over the line in 3 hours, 28 minutes, and 53 seconds.

Finally, Ann Revell ran a 43 second PB, running 3 hours, 57 minutes and 25 seconds.

The overall race was won by Adam Clarke (Aldershot F&D), who pulled away in the last 4 miles to win clearly in 2:16.29. Marshall Smith (Ashford AC) was second in 2:18.22, and Alex Teuten (Southampton AC) completed the podium places with a time of 2:18.37.

The women's race was won by Charlie Arnell (MK Distance Project), a clearer winner by almost 5 minutes with a time of 2:37.14. Melissah Gibson (Ealing Eagles) 2:42.09 and Heather Tomlinson (Bolton) 2:49.20 were second and third, respectively.

Meanwhile, a lot closer to home, Liam Taylor made light work of the blustery conditions to win the Sand Dancer 10k for a third successive year. Liam won the race in 33.00, he was pushed all the way by Tom Charlton (Tyne Bridge Harriers) who finished 2nd in 33.07. Third was Andrew Laidler (Jarrow & Hebburn) 34.49.

In the women's race, South Shields Harriers completed all the podiums places thanks to Claire Simpson (41.34), Jackie Murdy (41.41), and Claire O'Callaghan (42.50).

It was the first track and field fixture today, the annual Kieran Maxwell Open hosted by Darlington Harriers. Many athletes competed for the Club in conditions that were best described as cold with a blustery wind.

Jacob Waterston won the long jump with an enormous leap of 5.34 metres.

Lexie Brown (U15) was 3rd in the 800m, completing the 2 lap circuit in 2.38.91. Oliver Anderson (2.52.58) was 10th in the Under 13 boys 800m race.

Ed Moon (2.28.64) and Josh Ebblewhite-Wood (2.33.19) were 7th and 8th respectively in the Under 15 boys 800m race. Ben Anderson (2.17.22) was 7th in the Under 17 boys 800m race.

Celine Obinna-Alo (12.53) got her outdoor season off to a flying start as she won her under 15 girls 100m heat.

In the U17s and Senior Men's 100m heats, Toby Richardson (11.72) was third in heat 3. In heat 2, John Harris (12.06) was 4th. Jonathan Davies was 2nd in heat 1 with a time of 11.46.

In the 3000m, William Young finished 9th in a time of 9.51.52, a four second pb.

The meeting ended with the 200m heats. Celine had to make do with close second (25.57) in the U15 heat 2; Jonny Davies (22.61) was third in U17 and Senior men's heat 1, John Harris (23.32) was 4th in heat 2, and Toby Richardson (23.65) with Jacob Waterstone (24.61) were first and second in what would have been pbs but for the wind gusting to +3.4 m/s in heat4.

Elsewhere in a 3000m, England International Michael Wilson made his debut at the distance at the Watford Harriers Open. And it was a debut to remember as Michael scorched to victory in a time of 8.31.54.

Next week sees the staging of the prestigious London Marathon. Sunderland Harriers have several athletes competing, Jake Ridding, Debbie Defty, Jason Redman, Nicola Hadden, Paul Redman, and Kevin Johnson. The latter will be competing in his second Marathon in 7 days.

It will also be 40 years this week that Glenn Forster broke his own club marathon record, finishing 12th with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 8 seconds. The race was won by Charlie Spedding (Gateshead Harriers) in 2:09.57. Runner-up was Kevin Forster, also of Gateshead Harriers in a time of 2.12.12.

The winner of the women's race that year was Priscilla Welch (Ranelagh), breaking the tape in 2:30.06.

It proved to be a very good tune-up race for Charlie as he went on to win a bronze medal at the marathon in the 1984 sun-drenched summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Recent signing Jordan Taylor will be hoping for kind conditions as he tackles the Blackpool marathon.