Jarrow ace Sarah McDonald shines on international stage

Mark Hodgson, left
Mark Hodgson, left

Jarrow’s Sarah McDonald made significant progress in her fledgling international career with a magnificent victory in the Loughborogh International meeting.

Representing England in the Paula Ratcliffe Stadium, Sarah, in the 1500m, gained control from the gun with Loughborogh’s Bobby Clay, the European Junior champion, her nearest pursurer.

However, increasing her lead into the final lap, McDonald cruised past the line with 4:12.44, as Clay recorded 4:15.78.

Line Schultz, of Denmark, was third in 4:16.61.

Starting at Jarrow and Hebburn AC as a junior, Sarah moved to South Shields Harriers then left to study medicine at Birmingham University and joined the renowned coach, Bud Baldero, at his Loughborogh University base

Now a member of Birchfield Harriers, she progressed during the winter indoor season, winning the UK title at 1500m and surged to the gold medal in the BUCS Indoor Championships.

Returning from altitude training at Fort Romeu, Sarah lined up in the British Milers Club’s Grand Prix meeting for the 1500m at the Sports City Stadium in Manchester.

With one of the country’s brightest prospects, Jessica Judd of Chelsmford, leading through 800m in 2;11, Sarah was in contention on her shoulder.

Judd made a decisive move into the final lap, but McDonald surged into the lead 200m out finishing with a tremendous time of 4:10.81.

This was a staggering five seconds off her previous best time for the Metric Mile and a major breakthrough for her. Judd was second in 4:12.45.

McDonald said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect afer coming back from altitude training at Fort Romeu.

“To race like that and win with a huge PB was unexpected but very welcome.

“To be honest, the time has exceeded my expectations for the year and so I’ll have to re-evaluate my aims for the season.”

Sarah now looks towards the Diamond League Grand Prix meerting at Birmingham on Sunday where she will race over 1500m with her training partner Hannah England, the established international.

Jonny Evans, from Jarrow and Hebburn AC, had to settle for second in the South Shields Park Run on Saturday.

Lucas Longman, of Heaton, was first with 17:26 for the 5km over the Leas, with Evans, aged 18, some 10 seconds behind.

Mark Hodgson, from South Shields Harriers, was fourth in 18:27, with Anthony Grey eighth in a personal best time of 19:28.

Will Crossley was ninth in 19:30, with Jonathan Page 17th in 20:44 and Graham Aldus 18th in 20:48.

Jeff McGurty was 19th in a PB of 20:52, with Jarrow’s Mike McNally 20th in 20:55 and fourth over 50.

Shields’ Adam Walker, aged 16, was 25th in 21:20, with Ian Stephenson 29th in 21:44 and Andew Walker 30th in 21:48 and fifth over 50.

Ian Maughan was 40th in 23:14 and third over 45, with Geoff Newman 47th in 23:44.

Scott Wilson was 56th in a PB of 25:01, with Lee Baldwin 63rd in 26;00 and Jarrow’s Brian Taylor 69th in 20:54.

Shields’ George Henderson was 77th in 27:27, with Jarrow’s Joe Prudham 83rd in 28:00 and first over 75 and Shields’ Colin Robson 85th in 28:06.

Mark Wood was 86th in 28:07, with Mark Hazell 87th in 28:07 and James Cole 91st in 28:12.

Heaton’s Rachel Barnes was 16th overall in the mixed field of 183 taking the women’s title in 20:28.

Shields’ Jacky Murdy was fifth in 22:04, with Kim Lancaster ninth in 23:32 and Chloe Smith 12th in 24:32.

Susan Burgess was 14th in 25:10, with Angela Charlton 15th in 25:26 and Lesley Downey 19th in 27:03 and first over 55.

Jarrow’s Tracey Emmett was 20th in 27:54 and second over 45, with Suzanne Conner 25th in a PB of 28:58 and Julia Walton 26th in 28:58.