Teenage tornado Hassan Ben-Tiba maintained East Cleveland’s domination of the Hartlepool Marina 5-mile road race with an impressive victory.
The New Marske Harrier clocked an unofficial time of 25 minutes, 42 seconds to triumph around the seaside route, finishing in front of the Wingfield Castle near Hartlepool’s Historic Quay.
It’s the second year I’ve run here and it’s a big improvementHASSAN BEN-TIBA
Ben-Tiba commanded the race, beating team-mate Lewis Gamble-Thompson in to second with 2015 Hartlepool Marina 5-mile winner Greg Jayasuriya, from Middlesbrough & Cleveland Harriers in third.
Quakers Running Club’s Mike Joyeux, third last year, was just off the podium, finishing a close fourth.
Paul Wilson, tuning up for the London Marathon, was the lead Burn Road Harrier home in eighth place, in a time of 27-17.
Middlesbrough & Mandale’s Jo Stone was the first female finisher with Cheryl Laycock the first Burn Road Harrier lady with a sub 35-minute time for the second year on the trot.
Ben-Tiba was following in the footsteps of a succession of New Marske stars to clinch gold in Hartlepool.
Ricky Stevenson famously had ownership of the race at the end of the noughties and the start of this decade with a string of commanding displays.
New Marske’s Dominic Shaw dominated last year’s race to win in a new course record.
Hartlepool’s popular race was again full to capacity with a 550-strong field, with its customary mix of the elite from North East running and those who enjoy running the excellent Burn Road Harriers-staged event at a less hectic pace.
But all had to trail in the wake of brilliant Ben-Tiba, the 18-year-old taking a grip on the race from the 1.5mile-mark, a grip he refused to relinquish.
“I felt quite comfortable but the pace was maybe a bit too slow so made the move to go for it,” he said.
“I made the decision to pick up the pace and kept it going.
“It’s the second year I’ve run here and it’s a big improvement.
“I’m probably a minute quicker than I was last year, so that’s not bad, is it?”