THE Great North Air Ambulance was called to a cross country event in County Durham, after a runner collapsed.

The Birtley Cross Country Race, incorporating the North-East Masters Open Relays, took place on Sunday morning at Lord Lawson School in Birtley.

The three-man team event started a 10 o’clock. One male runner, the first runner for his team on his second lap of the 1,500 metre course, collapsed and fell to the ground shortly before 10.10.

Medics at the event carried out CPR and the Air Ambulance landed on the astroturf football pitches at the school at 10.55am.

The race continued while the runner was receiving treatment on the course, with the women’s races and senior men events following.

The runner, a member of Derwent Valley Trail Runners, was admited to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and is understood to be awake this morning after an operation to have a number of stents fitted.