**NEWSFLASH – Handicap runner heading for Olympics!**
Will Clark, teaching assistant & ex member of Epsom & Ewell Harriers in Surrey has found his form transformed since he moved north and joined Morpeth Harriers. He puts this transformation down to being regularly ‘hollered’ by Coach Gordon every Monday & Thursday night and the support of an ‘exceptionally talented group of athletes’..........???
Since signing up for the ‘Lockdown’ Handicap’s at Morpeth, Will has improved his 5k time by 24sec week on week!
He proudly pointed out to me that all he has to do is keep this going and he will be on the plane to Tokyo next summer... Sadly I had to point out to Will that I think there are a few people taking part in this series who are ahead of him in the queue – that doesn’t include me!
I need to be off the cake, off the drink and begin living the life of a monk if I am going to have any chance of competing with some of you lot!
Thanks to the 32 of you who took part this week – great turnout again.
Welcome to Rob Hancox and Gavin Bayne who have both made their mark in their first run of the series. More of that later!
Commiserations to Claire Calverley who has picked up a calf injury which I know can be troublesome to sort so best wishes for a speedy recovery Claire.
Missing after their epic journey around the L..o..n..g Mc Williams Round in the Cheviots on Saturday gone (43 miles plus goodness knows how much climbing) are Richard Kirby and Paul Banks – couldn’t manage 5k yesterday. Honestly!
To the best of my knowledge we had 4 PB’s this week so congratulations to Pieter Vermaas, Stephanie Purvis, Peter Reed and yet again Lindsey Quinn who after reading Ed Hillier’s comments about Stobhill Grange decided to head up there and managed to take yet another 25secs off her best!
I also have to mention Peter’s effort in a bit more detail.
Peter, who is 70 in January is an out and out fell runner (if you ever visit The Sill visitor centre on Hadrian’s Wall, Peter is the guy on the interactive display talking about Fell Running) and over a long career including 500 plus races, a marathon on every continent, and various epic challenges including 2 x Everest Marathons, the only 5k’s he has ever run have been 25 Parkruns mainly on his favourite course at Whinlatter near Keswick. Yes, you’ve guessed, it is the hilliest Parkrun in the country! So, on Saturday at Druridge he got a new PB and maybe we will see him on the track next summer................?? Yeah, fat chance of that!!
As for Mr & Mrs Vermaas, well Mrs V was apparently a ‘sore loser’ after Mr V won last week’s handicap! However I did have to remind Mr V that he was well and truly thrashed by Mrs V in the %age effort stakes, which, once you reach a certain age is what really matters!
My meagre effort this week was on the ‘traditional’ route at Lancaster Park, where, as I was warming up, I met Mr and Mrs Bennett unloading new kitchen units from a van. We had a chat and it transpired (and they should know as its about 400m from their front door) that if you start at Curlew Hill / Pinewood Drive junction and run anti clockwise for two laps to finish at the post box you only have to do the ‘dip’ TWICE!!
As I have mentioned Stobhill has been popular, Loansdene too, and Jill Bennett told me lots of runners had been going past her front door! Neil Mcanany decided to thrash himself up and down the Fulbeck dip (?!), Margaret went to Hepscott, Laura ran at Ashington, Eric at Great Park, Alex at Blyth Parkrun route and Druridge for Liam and Peter – opposite ends of the age range there!
Haven’t heard from Adam in Regents Park so far this week but for creative thinking we go to Gavin Bayne for his Tranwell route and Frances Naylor who started west of Mitford and ran back towards the rugby club. She said it was a bit dicey dodging the traffic but boy it was worth it as she took 3.47 off last week’s time!
Frances along with Ed Kirby and Gary Mason are the people who ‘bust’ mine & Mike’s handicap system this week! Without these 3 delinquents we would have had 29 of you finishing inside 2min 35secs which isn’t bad is it especially as of the 33 starters this week, 24 have improved on your time from last week so good effort! If that’s not you don’t get down about it – you’re out there running which is the main thing! See if you can buddy up with someone of similar pace or get someone to pace you on a bike – it all helps!
Mention in despatches for some exceptional runs. Gavin Bayne – incredible 85.02 %age effort from Gavin who was 65 back in June. John Butters was quickest again with an absolutely outstanding 16.45, Rob Hancox blasting round Lancaster Park (the proper way or the Bennetts way?!) for an 82.96 %age, and Lee Bennett’s 80.14% on the 2 dip route all while fitting a new kitchen – is there no end to the man’s talents!
Lindsey (what does a girl have to do to break the 80% barrier?), Tim, Liam & Neil all pushing the 80% mark, and a lot of people in the 70%’s so some really good runs across all age groups!
Now – for those that haven’t heard, Lorna MacDonald is raising money for St. Oswald’s Hospice and is going to set off on Wednesday at 4pm to try and run 100 miles around by doing laps around Morpeth. She hopes to complete inside 24 hours which will be some challenge!
I’m sure we all wish her the very best of luck and kind weather!
Her just giving page is here; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/LornaMac13 if you wish to sponsor her!
Prizes for first 3 in the handicap, Frances, Arjan & Peter, plus top %age male, Gavin and female, Lindsey. Lots of candidates for * runner this week but we have decided that Sarah Routledge gets the prize. She’s on the up and she has never missed lockdown handicap run – well done Sarah!
Got another week of the current restrictions but then things might ease a little – keep an eye on the Harriers website and facebook page for updates once we get guidance from UK Athletics if things change. In the meantime stay safe and thanks for your interest and support.
Kevin & Mike