attracted a total finishing field of 475 finishers, who were led home by Adrian Bailes of Birtley AC,
who won by a whisker from Sunderland Harrier Oliver James, in a time of 32m06s.
Only two seconds divided the pair, with North-Eastern Cross-Country Champion
Greg Jayasuriya of Middlesbrough and Cleveland, coming home third in 32m18s.
The field also included five runners from Morpeth Harriers, whose Festive charge
was led home by Thomas Straughan, who finished fifth in a time of 32m55s.
It was good to see Lewis Timmins back in competitive action following a
serious injury sustained, when out on his bike several weeks ago.
Timmins will certainly feel encouraged by finishing twelfth in 33m29s,
and not far adrift of the leading protagonists.
Third home from the club was Alistair Douglass, who finished 21st, posting a time of 35m00s.
Morpeth’s other two finishers were Paul Bellingham (144th) (9th O/55 Man) 44m38s,
and Kevin Bray (155th) (3rd O/60 Man) 45m14s.
The combined performances of Straughan, Timmins and Douglass, secured an
excellent team victory for Morpeth Harriers, thus ending Tyne Bridge Harriers
five year run of consecutive wins.
The dry sunny conditions, and a slight cold breeze, proved to be a welcome change
from those usually experienced by runners of this popular annual event,
held within Saltwell Park, in Gateshead, and organised by Saltwell Harriers,
and continuing to honour Walker, who was a well-known long service member of the club,
before passing away a few years ago, who also continued to run in the event, well into his eighties.