Morpeth Harriers Ian Harding and Emma Holt were both winners at the annual Tynedale 10k race.
On the hottest day of the year, with sultry temperatures still well over 20C, more than 500 competitors took part over the traditional route from Ovington to Prudhoe via Ovingham and Wylam, with most, if not all, later reporting the difficulties caused by the extreme heat – and some hardy souls even taking a cooling dip in the Tyne on completion.
Harding was part of a small leading group, which included club colleagues Ryan Stephenson and Chris Smith, as well as Kevin Jeffries of Sunderland Harriers, in the early stages of the race.
But he was able to break away once the race had reached the half way stage at Wylam, and thereafter he established a lead which was not challenged.
Still working to get back to his best this year after April’s London Marathon, Harding completed the course in 32 minutes and 28 seconds, with Jeffries second in 32m 44s, and Stephenson (32m 57s) and Smith (33m 9s) third and fourth.
With three in the top four, Morpeth also completed a resounding team victory.
In the women’s race,Holt’s victory was even more emphatic.
Having completed the course in 37m 28s, her nearest rival on the night, veteran Louise Rodgers of Tyne Bridge Harriers, came in over three minutes later.
Despite the conditions, there were also strong performances by Sam Hancox, ninth in 34m 51s, Jordan Scott, tenth in 34m 54s, Matty Boyle, 14th in 35m 48s, and Mick Thomsen, 15th in 35m 58s and second Over 40 male, though like everyone else, their times were adversely affected by the conditions.
Other Morpeth finishers who battled through to the finish were: Paul Waterston, 22nd in 36m 24s and 3rd O/50; Mike Winter, 68th in 40m 4s; Paul Banks, 27th in 41m 55s; Chris Waugh, 111st in 42m 18s and 2nd O/55; Peter Scaife, 121st in 42m 43s; Richard Kirby, 112th in 42m 44s; Mike Steven, 148th in 43m 44s; Jane Briggs, 151st in 43m 56s and 2nd female O/45; Richard Sill, 189th in 45m 18s and 3rd O/60; James Mcfetrich, 238th in 47m 23s; Lesley Chapman, 257th in 47m 51s and 2nd O/60; Lucy Fenwick, 319th in 50m 22s; Rob Hancox, 349th in 51m 53s; Carol Parry, 409th in 54m 34s; Jacinta Wake, 418th in 55m 4s; Sarah Hunter, 468th in 59m 13s; Jane Blackett, 469th in 59m 13s; Jane Dungate, 510th in 64m 31s and Pam Woodcock, 513th in 65 minutes.
Clearly in some distress from the oppressive conditions, Rob Hancox had battled through to the end despite suffering greatly with heat exhaustion, but then collapsed over the line.
Thankfully, he was back in feet after an hour or so with no serious damage caused and he thanked all those at the race who helped him at the finish.