BAD news for any athletes who have designs on winning the Hartlepool Marina 5 mile road race.
Ricky Stevenson has no plans to abdicate as king of the Marina.
The fastest thing on two legs in North-East England clinched victory for the third successive year.
Unfortunately for the 22-year-old, he did not threaten the record he set when winning in 2009.
Stevenson clocked a very rapid 23 minutes 52 seconds – 30 seconds slower than his course best.
The New Marske Harrier did beat last year’s time of 24-24 and he was happy with his morning’s work in the spring sunshine.
“It was all right,” he said.
“I’m not too bothered about the record – a win’s a win.
“I’m definitely fitter than I was two years ago when I set the record but as soon as you get a bit of wind around here it makes it hard work.
“Hartlepool always puts on a great race, it’s a great day and I always like to come along to support it.”
Twelve months ago, Stevenson ran in tandem with New Marske team-mate Andy Wiles before leaving his pal in the closing stages.
Yesterday, the University of Teesside student did not mess around – he bolted off from the start at Jackson’s Landing.
He blazed a trail all the way along the front before crossing the finish line between Mecca Bingo hall and the Wingfield Castle by over a minutec and a half from New Marske colleague Russ Best.
Best clocked 25-34, over a minute in front of another Harrier, Elliott Jackson (26-54).
Hartlepool did have a runner in the top five – Alan Piggford, representing New Marske (who else?!) finished fifth in 27-10.
The Hartlepool school teacher edged out Billingham Marsh House’s Mike Jefferies by just three seconds.
Kevan Stephenson was the first runner home from host club Burn Road Harriers, clocking 28-50 in a fine run to finish 13th.
Dave Edwards was the second Harrier over the line, taking 39th place in 32-05.
Burn Road team-mates Keith Galbraith (32-37) and Neil Simon (32-42) were also in the top 50 in 44th and 46th places.
First female home was Chester-le-Street’s Tracy Millmore in 15th in 29-26.
l SEE Wednesday’s Mail for full result and more pictures and log on to www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk for footage and inteviews from yesterday’s race.