It’s gold for Holt and silver for Hancox at championships

Morpeth Harriers


Emma Holt in action at South Shields
Morpeth Harriers Emma Holt in action at South Shields

Emma Holt was a gold medallist and Sam Hancox a silver at the annual Sunderland 5k road race, which this year also incorporated both the North East and Northern Athletics Championships.

Held over its traditional course at the Silksworth sports complex and hosted by Sunderland Harriers, Morpeth Harriers men were also winners of the Senior Men’s team prize.

The earlier Senior Women and Male Vets race saw Holt maintain her commanding form of this year in winning by a margin of over 18 seconds from Alex Sneddon of Jarrow and Hebburn, with Tracy Millmore, of Birtley AC, in third.

Meanwhile, Vicky Gibbs continued her comeback from long-standing injury problems when finishing in 28th place and third Over 35 woman in a time of 20m 23s.

In the Over 50 and above Male Veterans’ race, run at the same time and won by Keith Smith, of Tyne Bridge, in an impressive time of 17m 09s, Rob Hancox had a strong run to finish in overall third in a time of 17m 33s.

Despite some twinges in the last kilometre which threatened to cause him to drop out, Morpeth’s Dave Nicholson was ninth overall, but first Over 60, in a time of 19m 1s. Behind Hancox and Nicholson, Peter Scaife was 13th and fourth Over 55 in 19m 45s, Paul Bellingham 17th and sixth Over 55 in 20m 2s, and Paul Bentley 33rd and third Over 65 in 22m 52s.

The Senior Men’s race, held over the same course 30 minutes later, saw a small pack of leaders establish itself quickly, including Chris Parr and Jed Marshall of Gateshead Harriers, Greg Jayasurriya of Middlesborough AC, and Sam Hancox, Ross Floyd and Tom Straughan of Morpeth.

By the start of the second lap Parr was starting to push the pace till only Hancox was able to stay with him, but by 4k he had established a lead of several seconds, with Hancox now a clear second.

In the final kilometre Parr stayed clear to win in a time of 14m 55s. Hancox had to dig deep to fight off a quick finishing Marshall, beating him in the end by a margin of a single second (15m 8s).

Morpeth’s Ross Floyd was a few seconds behind in fourth (15m 12s) and Tom Straughan seventh (15m 22s). With Gateshead’s third place runner only able to finish in 17th, Hancox, Floyd, Hancox and Straughan picked up a team gold.

Another runner returning to his best was Jonnie Nisbet, 13th in 15m 38s. Behind Nisbet, Rob Balmbra was 24th in 15m 56s and Mark Snowball 36th in 16m 20s.