Pipping his rival by the narrowest of one second margins, Sam Hancox had his revenge over Bristol and West athlete Jarlath Mckenna – who had got the better of him in the previous week’s Bridges of the Tyne race – at the annual Sunderland 5k races last Thursday (11th July).
The fast two lap course round the fishing lakes at the Silksworth Sports Centre usually attracts a good quality field for men, women and veterans alike and this year was no exception, although the torrid early evening conditions clearly had an adverse effect on many competitors.
In the first race, for women and male veterans Over 50, World Masters Over 55 multiple record holder Guy Bracken of North Shields Polytechnic Harriers had an expected victory with a time of 16 minutes and 18 seconds. Morpeth’s Lee Bennett, however, was less than a minute back in second place with a clocking of 17m 3s and picked up the 1st O/50 prize. An out of sorts Rob Hancox finished in 19m 22s and Alistair Macdonald returned to competitive action with 21m 2s. Paul Bentley was 4th O/70 with 26m 23s.
In the women’s race, run at the same time, Robyn Bennett was 1st Morpeth home in 5th place overall in 18m 22s behind race winner Charlotte Penfold of NSP’s 17m 40s. Not far behind Robyn were Rachelle Falloon, 7th in 18m 54s and Helen King, 1st O/40 in 19m 4s in 8th place overall.
It was a busy night for the clan Macdonald with all three sisters running. Lorna took the bragging rights this time, finishing in 10th place in 19m 6s ahead of Cat in 13th with 19m 27s. Continuing to make steady improvements meanwhile, Lindsey was 48th in 23m 6s.
In the men’s race, Sam Hancox led from the off with the intention of making it hard for his rivals and for most of the first lap had Jordan Bell of Blackhill Bounders on his shoulder. With Bell fading after two kilometres, Mckenna and Kieran Walker of Middlesbrough Mandale took up the chase, and with one kilometre to go, Hancox and Mckenna were shoulder to shoulder. Unfortunately for the Bristol and West athlete, he had not run the race before and so misread the finish, and this gave Hancox just the opportunity needed to seal a fine victory in a race where he had finished second on two previous occasions.
Tommy Straughan had a good run to finish 7th (15m 28s) and behind him, Karl Taylor was 9th (15m 40s), young Rowan Bennett 13th (15m 50s), Mark Snowball 26th (16m 19s), Richard Johnson 27th (16m 22s) and Tom Innes 38th (16m 38s).