NEW Marske’s Ricky Stevenson gained his first senior title at the 106th North Eastern Counties Cross-Country Championships at East Cramlington Nature Reserve.
Durham’s Rosie Smith regained the senior women’s title, having previously been successful in 2005 and 2009.
The event was hosted by Blyth Running Club and supported by Start Fitness.
The 2009 champion, former Sunderland Harrier Patrick Martin – now running for Stockport – soon headed the 300-strong field, closely followed by Stevenson.
The pair had opened up a 50-metre gap over Andy Wiles of New Marske and Jack Martin (brother of Patrick) after the first of the three laps. Patrick Martin still held a slight lead after lap two, with Jack having now moved into a clear third position.
Stevenson overhauled his rival 800m into the final lap, pulling away to an 18secs advantage at the finish line.
Stevenson had previously won the under-20 title in 2008 and 2009. Patrick Martin took second place ahead of Jack, with Wiles occupying fourth position. Matt Nicholson of Morpeth finished fifth.
In eighth place, Marc Elliott led Gateshead to the team title, with champions Morpeth second and Durham City third.
Smith, second last year, soon dominated the record field of 109 runners in the women’s race holding a 100m advantage over defending champion Kirsty Legg of Middlesbrough Mandale after the first of the two laps.
Morpeth’s Ashley Gibson occupied third ahead of clubmate Jane Hodgson.
There was little change in the positions on the final lap as Smith came home 25secs clear of Legg, with Gibson in third place and Hodgson fourth.
With Sarah Wilkinson sixth, Morpeth easily retained the team title ahead of Durham City, who reversed last season’s placings with third-placed Heaton.
Shildon’s Cameron Boyek won a close under-20 race from Gateshead’s Lewis Hogg and Callum Johnson, Gateshead taking the team title. The combined women’s junior race was won by Shildon’s Amy Etherington from clubmate Zoe Hewitson.
They occupied the first two places in the under-17 competition, while third- placed Sarah McDonald of Jarrow and Hebburn took the under-20 title. Shildon took the team honours.
New Marske gained another individual winner when Wayne Parker took the under-17 title from Gateshead’s Barry Maskell and Morpeth’s Jonny Nisbet. Gateshead gained another team victory.
Philip Winkler sprinted to victory in the under-15 boys’ race overhauling Jarrow’s Thomas Coyne in the final 10m. Winkler led Morpeth to a second team title.
Lydia Turner of Birtley successfully defended her under-15 girls’ title, leading all the way. Markhim Lonsdale justified favouritism to win the under-13 boys’ title.