ELSWICK’S Ryan McLeod strode to an emphatic victory at yesterday’s annual Pre-Christmas Saltwell 10km Road Race.
McLeod followed in the footsteps of father, Mike, who won the event 16 times.
In the bitterly cold conditions, the Loughborough University student, recently 18th in the European Under-23 Cross Country Championship, soon headed the 260-strong field on the new three-and-a-half lap course on the outskirts of Saltwell Park.
He was closely followed by Jon Taylor of Morpeth and Chester-le-Street’s Chris Lamb, but they soon lost contact approaching the end of the first lap.
McLeod’s winning margin was 43 seconds from Taylor, with former winner Stewart Bell moving through to third position, and taking the first veterans’ prize. McLeod’s winning time broke the inaugural course record of Gateshead’s Chris Parr by 32 seconds.
Bell broke the veterans’ record by 1min 28secs, while Taylor led Morpeth to the team title, ahead of Elswick.
Wirral’s Helen Lawrence also set new figures in the women’s race, finishing in 25th position overall.
Lawrence took 44 seconds off the 2006 winning time, coming home with 24 seconds to spare.
Maxine Czarnecka and Tracey Laws took the minor awards, leading Chester-le-Street to the team title.
Elswick’s Yam Thiru was the leading veteran in sixth.
Morpeth’s Marcus Cram (Under-15 Boys), Barry Maskell of Gateshead (Under-13 Boys) and Sophie Taylor of Birtley (Under-13 Girls) set records in their respective events, while Gateshead’s Sigourney Bell matched her 2006 winning time in the Under-15 Girls’ race.
Greg Ritchie, of Jarrow and Hebburn, and Blaydon’s Helen Gertig were successful in the Under-17 races.
Special mention goes to South Shields Harrier Dave Whitmore, who has run this race every time for the last 31 years. Dave, wearing No 1 for the occasion, finished 209th in 53min 44secs and was the second Over-65 home.