RUNNER Ben Heathcote flew the flag for the district with a top 20 finish at a popular regional event.

The Tynedale Harrier was 18th out of more than 100 competitors in the North East Masters Athletics Association’s (NEMAA) Open Cross Country Championships, on Saturday.

His run of 31m 34s earned Heathcote eighth place in the M35 (over 35) category, which was won by Conrad Franks, of Gateshead Harriers, with Sunderland Harrier Michael Barker second.

Franks and Barker were also the top two runners overall, with Franks crossing the line in 28m 45s.

The runners took on snowy conditions during Saturday’s 5.25m run, at the Rising Sun Sports Ground in Wallsend.

Heathcote has been a consistent performer this winter, and was fifth in the men’s race at the Hexham 10k last October, and seventh at the Hexhamshire Hobble in December.

He has performed impressively for Tynedale Harriers’ cross country team, and recovered from a virus to record a respectable finish at the North of England Cross Country Championship at Pontefract Racecourse, at the end of January.

Tynedale were well represented in North Yorkshire, with impressive performances in various age categories against opposition from across Northern England.