BY Archie Jenkins
Elswick Harrier Judith Nutt (W40) led from the gun to win her first BMAF title. Nutt was initially followed by David Oxland (Notts AC) who comfortably won the M70 race in a successful first season in his new age category. Annette Hamer (Welsh Masters) successfully defended her 2019 title at the same venue. Host area club NEMAA`s Heather Christopher (W50), Kelly Bentley (W55) and Carolyn Gale (NYM) added to NEMAA`s overall ten gold medal tally on the day – Gayle also breaking the NEMAA record. In the M75 race Paul Bentley and Phil Brennan were locked together for 24 laps before Brennan made the long journey on the day from Stratford upon Avon worthwhile. Darlington`s Laurie Cummings, who earlier in the season broke the BMAF 3000m record took M80 gold.
In a day of ideal racing conditions, the temperature noticeably increased just before the start of the M55/60/65 race. Rob Andrew who recently moved to the north east took an early lead, to be caught and passed by Tynedale`s John O`Reilly mid race. O`Reilly third 2019, was caught by Andrew`s strong closing laps. Greg Penn (NSP) winner in 2019 dropped to the bronze position. Cambridge runner Peter Thompson taking the opportunity to visit the NE took M60 gold. Running strongly throughout Anthony Whitehouse (Totley AC) finished third overall and M65 winner.
On home ground Conrad Franks (Gateshead), the European Masters Non-Stadia Road 10k Champion from Madeira in 2020 successfully defended his M35 title. Franks had company all the way from M45 winner Mike Burrett (Leeds AC), but opened up a four second gap on the final lap. In the M40 age group Sunderland`s Michael Barker held off the local challenge from Andrew Heppell (Gosforth) – third in 2019. Mick Hill made it a M45 Leeds one two taking silver behind club mate Burrett.
Archie Jenkins (NEMAA)