Course record holder Ian Hudspith of Morpeth Harriers returned to the scene of his triumph of 20 years previous to claim again a handsome victory in the annual Morpeth 10k Road Race.
He posted a winning time of 31m16s, just over two minutes adrift of his 1997 record time, to clinch victory by a margin of four seconds from club colleague Carl Avery, who was seeking a hat-trick having won in 2015 and 2016, after finishing second in 2014.
Ironically, Hudspith posted an identical time to Avery’s 2016 victory as he crossed the line after twice attempting to break his rival during their close contest.
The winner’s first attempt had been just after the 4k mark, however, Avery managed to get back on level terms after succumbing to a two-metre deficit, and maintained his determined challenge as they approached the 9k mark, and it was only in the final run-in that he lost ground to the determined veteran.
Viewing all of this by some distance was North Shields Poly athlete Graeme Cook, who came through to make the podium in third place, posting a finishing time of 33m45s.
Only 48 seconds divided the next six chasing runners, some of whom had been well in contention during the early miles.
In fourth was David Milne of Alnwick Harriers, who clocked 34m10s, followed closely in fifth by Morpeth Harrier Andrew Lawrence (34m15s).
Next home in sixth was Elswick Veteran Lee Bennett, who posted a time of 34m29s.
Seventh place went to Blackhill Bounder Gary Wallace, in a time of 34m33s, followed by Houghton Harrier Lee Dover, who had been one of the early leaders. Dover posted a time for eighth place of 34m55s, three seconds ahead of ninth placed Dan Turnbull of Alnwick Harriers.
The top ten finishers were completed by John Clifford of Evenwood Road Runners, who posted a time of 35m08s, and was third Veteran Man, behind race winner Hudspith, and sixth placed Bennett.
The Women’s race was won by Morpeth Harrier Jane Hodgson, recent winner of the Northumberland Coastal Run, who finished 26th overall in 37m21s, eight places and just under a minute ahead of second placed club colleague Gemma Floyd, who had a truly brilliant run, finishing well clear of third placed woman Jo Gascoigne-Owens of Alnwick Harriers, who was 50th in 39m51s.
A total of 250 finishers took part in the event, and Morpeth Harriers & AC thanked all runners who took part in the annual event, along with Paramjeet Pahdi, site director from sponsors Coca Cola, who kindly attended to make post-race presentations.
In addition, the club thanked additional sponsors Phil Walker Wealth Management and Chris Dentice of Stanton Hall Nurseries.
Thanks also went to Morpeth Town FC for the use of their premises at Craik Park for Race HQ, and post-race presentation and catering, Piramal Health Care, for race parking, Pegasus Riding School, for the use of their toilet facilities, Start Fitness for prize vouchers, and members and friends for their race marshalling on the night.
Also, thanks went to Dave Todd and Tees Valley Event Safety for the provision of first aid.
Prizes for those due, who were unable to be present at the post-race presentation, are currently in the process of distribution.
Full race results can be found on the Morpeth Harriers & AC website at www.morpethharriers.com
Immediately prior to the event, a minute’s applause was held in respect for Tony Ward and Les Thain, who had both recently passed away.
They had worked at the race on behalf of Morpeth Harriers for many years and the club thanked all of those who joined in with this mark of respect.
The race was again sponsored by Glaceau Smartwater, part of Coca Cola.