Regional athletics round-up

It was a day of double victory for the North-East at yesterday's North of England Road Relay Championships at Silksworth.

It was a day of double victory for the North-East at yesterday's North of England Road Relay Championships at Silksworth.

Morpeth Harriers won the men's 12-stage event for the seventh time since 2000, while Chester-le-Street retained the senior women's six-stage title.

Morpeth had an indifferent start, with Nick Swinburn finishing in 13th place. Ivan Hollingsworth (12th), Neil Wilkinson (6th) and Martin Scaife (5th) moved through the field, before Michael Morris on leg six, lifted them into second position.

At this point, Leeds City were holding on to a lead they had gained on leg four. Chris Sampson dropped to third on leg seven, before Dan Samuels regained second on leg eight.

Great Britain's world championship 1,500m representative Nick McCormick cut into the lead of Leeds on leg nine. Ian Hudspith quickly cut the deficit on leg 10 before passing his rival near halfway.

The advantage for Morpeth was now over a minute as club captain Dave Swinburne began leg 11. With Mark Hudspith on the final leg, Morpeth claimed victory ahead of a revitalised Leeds team who finished 21 seconds behind.

Sunderland finished in 11th position, with Gateshead (13th), North Shields Poly (18th), Chester-le-Street (25th) and Elswick (27th) all qualifying for the national event at Sutton Coldfield in two weeks. Morpeth's second string athletes, in 15th place, also just defeated Leeds to take the B team award.

In the women's event, Chester-le-Street finished fourth on leg one through Kathryn Waugh. Tracy Laws dropped to fifth on leg two, with Scottish international Freya Murray taking the lead on leg three with the day's fastest time.

Sarah Wilkinson lost the advantage to Leeds on leg four but Emma Waterhouse regained the lead on the next leg, with Alyson Dixon pulling away to a 49-second victory on the final leg.

Meanwhile, Wallsend Harriers smashed the World Record for the 10-Man, 100-mile Relay at Churchill Playing Fields on Saturday.

The North Tyneside club bettered the two-year-old record set by Dulwich Runners by a massive 63 minutes.

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