Derek Hawkins continued his preparations for Glasgow 2014 with an impressive second place showing at yesterday’s Sunderland City Half Marathon. The race, which included a 10K event and drew in almost 3,000 runners, saw Hawkins finish 20 seconds behind Yared Hagos with a time of 65:25.
Starting and finishing at the Stadium of Light, both races followed routes around the city centre, with thousands of people cheering them on. Yared Hagos continued what has been a successful 2014 by winning his third half marathon of the year in 65:05, with Kilbarchan’s Hawkins closely following. Hawkins seemed happy with his time on what was a fairly challenging route: ‘Much better performance today on a breezy, undulating, long half marathon course to what I've been doing.”
Pre-race favourite Aly Dixon, who was looking for a strong performance to increase her chances of qualifying for he Commonwealth Games, finished in 1:14:31, more than 10 minutes ahead of second placed Suzanne Thew (1:25:43), with Michelle Nolan in third (1:29:37). Dixon later tweeted: "74.31 happy with that was aiming for marathon pace. Loved it had some good banter with the crowd on the way round."
Prior to the half marathon, Morpeth Harriers’ Ian Hudspith, 43, secured top place in the Sunderland City 10K. Ross Floyd, Hudspith’s club-mate, took second in 33:28, with Craig Isherwood of Sunderland Harriers in third (33:47). First lady was Danielle Hodgkinson of Wallsend Harriers (36:19), with Joanne Brown of Ponteland Runners (41:20) in second and Yamuna Thiru of Elswick Harriers (42:01) in third.
Steve Cram commented: “It’s been a great day. The weather behaved and gave us great conditions for running and the people of Sunderland provided enthusiastic support for all of our runners. There were lots of smiles on the course and at the finish. Congratulations to everyone who took part and thanks to Sunderland City Council, all of the sponsors and the people of Sunderland for making this into such a special event.”