For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Sunderland storm to victory
ERITREAN asylum seeker and Northern junior cross country champion Weynay Ghebresilasie lifted Sunderland Harriers' hopes of a grandstand finish to the Start Fitness North-East Harrier League with a storming victory at Alnwick - but newly-crowned double English National team champions Morpeth are still in pole position before the sixth and final fixture.
The 18-year-old former soldier, who carried his nation's flag before competing in the London Olympics, has blossomed since settling on Wearside while his application to stay in the UK is decided, and his third placing in the previous weekend's National Championships was his first defeat in five races for his adopted club.
In totally different conditions to the mud and slush he endured at Herrington Country Park, Ghebresilasie revelled in the firmer going at The Pastures alongside Alnwick Castle and he made light of a five-minute handicap from the fast-pack, overtaking everyone receiving start to win the 10K test by 47 seconds.
It was one of the best individual performances in the League's history, and while the African led Sunderland to an equally emphatic victory - they won the Division One team race by 28 points from table-topping Morpeth - the Wearsiders are still paying for earlier disappointing results this season and go into the final fixture at Prudhoe on March 23 three points behind the Northumbrians, who increased their lead over second-placed Gateshead to two points.
Sunderland's six counters finished in the top 22, while Morpeth's six were in the first 25.
Durham City's Dan Jenkin strengthened his place at the top of the grand prix table, but his club, which had started in joint third place with Sunderland, finished a disappointing seventh.
New club Tyne Bridge, which won all its races in its inaugural season last year, continued its relentless climb towards Division One by notching up its fifth consecutive Division Two victory.
Heaton Harriers, who won the women's team title for four consecutive years before losing out to Tynedale last season, strengthened their position at the head of Division One, moving five points clear of the defending champions, who finished fourth.
Results - Senior Men (10K approx): 1 W Ghebresilasie (Sunderland, Fast Pack scr) 38.24; 2 P Caldwell (Morp, Slow Pack +5 mins) 39.11; 3 A Graham (Wallsend, SP) 39.21; 4 D Jenkin (Durham City, FP) 39.47; 5 M McLeod (Elswick, SP) 39.52; 6 M Hood (Sund, SP) 4014. Fastest times: 1 W Ghebresilasie 33.24; 2 D Jenkin 34.47; 3 M Hood 35.14. Div 1 teams: 1 Sunderland 56 pts; 2 Morpeth 84; 3 Gateshead 119. Positions after 5 fixtures: 1 Morpeth 14; 2 Gateshead 16; 3 Sunderland 17.
Div 2: 1 Tyne Bridge 57; 2 Alnwick 125; 3 Elswick 169. Div 3: 1 Jarrow & Hebburn 81; 2 Jesmond Joggers 103; 3 Blyth 105.
Senior Women (6K approx): 1 C Price (Durham City, FP scr) 28.06; 2 L Young (Heaton, SP +2 mins) 30.57; 3 M Avery (Sund SP) 31.12; 4 J Lee (Tynedale, SP) 31.21; 5 C Cervenak (Gates, FP) 31.42. Fastest times: 1 A Dargie (Elswick) 28.03; 2 C Price 28.06; 3 E Leslie (Jarrow & Hebburn) 28.12. Teams - Div 1: 1 Heaton 16; 2 Gateshead 33; 3 Blackhill Bounder 36; 4 Tynedale 40; 9 Tyne Bridge 92. Div 2: 1 Elswick 22; 2 South Shields 28; 3 Low Fell 40.