HANDS up, who says age is a barrier?
If your hand is rising, you’re wrong. Very wrong.
Just ask the Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers Marina 5-mile race champion Paul Marchant, who at the grand young age of 40 shocked the field of 350 to win.
Marchant’s win with a personal best time of 25 minutes, 53 seconds surprised himself as much as his fellow competitors and spectators.
But the Rothwell Harriers runner thoroughly deserved his win, finishing 19 seconds ahead of his nearest challenge, New Marske’s James Bulman.
“I’ve never ran a mile that fast in my life!” a chuffed Marchant told SportMail, recalling his first mile.
“You never expect to win, not at my age anyway!
“It’s my best 5-mile time as well.
“The conditions were really good.
“Because it’s so open the wind affects you but you can’t complain because it wasn’t a particularly windy day.
“The London Marathon’s my next race so this a good start to that.”
Taking third spot on the podium was Middlesbrough and Cleveland Harriers’ Greg Jayasuriya, with a finishing time of 26.28.
The hosts’ top-placed runner was the ever-reliable Mick Lamb who powered himself to 12th position with a post-injury time of 28.25.
“I’ve just came back from injury, so, yeah, I’m well pleased with that time,” Lamb said.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day, no wind on the front and top weather
“I’m just getting into the summer season really because all the road races are coming on the back of the cross-country season so this is a strong start.”
Lamb was joined in the top-20 by team mates David Lake (19th, 29.32) and Darren Armstrong (20th, 29.45)
The first woman to cross the line outside Wingfield Castle was Middlesbrough Mandale’s Kerry Mathews, with a time of 30.16.
Yet it was also a good day for the Burn Road women as the club’s first female team, consisting of Sarah Black, Lesley Strickland and Jane Wistow, were the fastest team around.
The second team were also quick, the trio of Claire Salvin, Jo Beddow and Alice Simpson the fourth fastest team.
Strickland said following the race: “It was another successful race with 348 finishes.
“The weather was kind and there was some top runners out there and as a club we’ve done very well.”
l See Wednesday’s Mail for full results and more pictures