Byline: By Bill McGuirk
Inaugural North Tyneside 10km race winner Ivan Hollingsworth was in high spirits after the race yesterday.
For the Morpeth Harrier was having his first serious competitive race since the North Eastern Track and Field Championships last May after a serious Achilles injury curtailed any action for eight months.
However, he made light of the awful conditions yesterday to spreadeagle a 800-strong field and win by over a minute.
"It's just great to be racing again," said Hollingsworth.
"I wasn't sure what to expect after being out for so long but I was pleasantly surprised at the way I ran.
"I felt good all the way and knowing the course made it quite a comfortable victory in the end."
The huge field was sent on its way from the Parks Leisure Complex at North Shields and Hollingsworth quickly settled into the leading group which included Chester-le-Street duo Stewy Bell and Matt Tomlinson plus Kielder-based David Kirkland.
Tomlinson was the first to drop away and by the two-mile mark, entering Tynemouth, Hollings-worth only had Bell for company.
However, Bell, who had competed in the Elswick Relays on Good Friday, also had to give way before the half-way point of the race.
"I don't think the pace increased in any way but I found myself out on my own and just eased away," added Hollingsworth.
"Stewy, as usual, had made sure that we didn't hang around in the early stages but once he dropped off I knew I was on the way to victory providing I had no problems with my Achilles. …