Leeds suffer shock loss of their crown

athletics: Leeds City suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of Morpeth in the Northern Road Relay Championship at Catterick yesterday and Wakefield Harriers caused an upset by winning the women’s six-stage relay.

Holders Leeds were never on terms with a powerful Morpeth squad who led from the second stage. Leeds were almost eight minutes ahead of bronze medallists Derby.

The fastest Leeds runner on the long (8km) leg was James Wilkinson (22:10) but he was well down on triathlon star Alistair Brownlee who brought Bingley from 12th to third on the fifth stage with 21:45, fifth fastest of the day.

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Nick Hooker, third fastest of the day with 11:07, was Leeds’s fastest short stage (4km) runner.

Leeds City’s B team finished eighth.

Wakefield started modestly in the women’s race, Sharon Marshall finishing 23rd before Charlene Thomas took them up to ninth place. 1,500m specialist Thomas ran a superb 12:11 for the 4km course, missing the fastest time of the day by just two seconds.

Katie McHale advanced a further place before a fine run by Helen Singleton took them into the lead. Sarah Bostwick slipped back to third it but did not matter as Julie Briscoe stormed past Leigh and Salford to finish with a 14-second winning margin.

Jenny Walsh (West Yorkshire) and Bronwen Owen (North Yorkshire) won individual titles at the English Schools Cross Country Championships at Nottingham on Saturday.

Walsh dominated her race to win with something to spare.

Owen (North Yorkshire), junior girls’ winner, took yet another title in an almost unblemished season which has seen her win the Yorkshire, Northern and National races.

Spearheaded by Leeds duo Gordon Benson, 7th, and Michael Wood, 8th, West Yorkshire were bronze medallists in the senior boys’ team race.