James Buis wound down his preparations for the London Marathon by sprinting home to win yesterday's North Tyneside 10km Road Race.
The 29-year-old Heaton Harrier showed no signs of weariness after finishing an excellent sixth in last week's Edinburgh Half-Marathon and managed to pull clear in the final 200 metres to win by four seconds from Midlands visitor Mike Griffiths.
Buis said: "There were doubts in my mind whether I could find a sprint finish with the Edinburgh race still in my legs.
"There were two of us clear as we turned into the finishing straight and somehow I managed to find something extra to win.
"I am absolutely delighted to win. It is my first major road race victory since I moved to the North East three years ago."
More than 1,500 competitors lined up in North Shields for the third running of the event, and once the race got under way Buis was always in the leading group as the course wound its way along the Fish Quay, through Tynemouth and Cullercoats and on to the finish near St Mary's Lighthouse at Whitley Bay.
Despite running into a headwind, the lead changed on numerous occasions as a group of five started to ease away from the field after the first mile.
The group of Tim Field (Sunderland), Ian Twaddle (North Shields Poly), Griffiths (Newcastle (Staffs), Mark McLeod (Elswick) and Buis were still together at the halfway point when McLeod, who had competed in the Elswick Road Relays on Good Friday, was the first to drop away.
Back on the links opposite the Spanish City the wind was at its strongest and Twaddle and Field started to become detached, leaving Griffiths and Buis to fight it out for supremacy.
The last time the two athletes locked horns was in the Great North Run last year and on that occasion Buis held the upper hand by nearly two minutes.
However, this time round, albeit on a course less than half the length of the GNR, only four seconds separated the pair as Buis broke the tape in 33min 18sec.
Five seconds further back came Field to pick up the major veterans award, while Twaddle held on to fourth ahead of McLeod.
Nathan Shrubb continued his comeback after injury to finish in seventh place to lead Morpeth to yet another team victory.
North East-based Merseysider Helen Lawrence convincingly retained her women's title after finishing in 21th position overall in 36:17.
The former North of England Cross-Country champion finished nearly two minutes clear of second-placed Louise Noble, with Heaton's Helen Astley completing the one-two-three.
Blaydon Harriers were surprise winners of the women's team contest after being led home by Glynis McKernan.