Some excellent performances, particularly from two of their squads,
saw Morpeth Harriers and Athletics Club emerge as the regions sole
medallists at the Northern Athletics 6 and 4 Stage,
and Young Athletes Road Relays, held at a very warm
and sunny Stanley Park, Blackpool, on Saturday 19th September 2015.
Morpeth Team Manager David Swinburne was in high spirits
after his particular squad’s performance
whose army of Senior Men ended up winning Bronze medals
behind Derby AC and Liverpool Harriers.
Whilst Derby AC had led for five of the six legs, Morpeth had a long running battle
throughout with the Merseysiders for the minor placings,
and an early challenge also from Salford in the medal quest was carefully extinguished.
Morpeth Harriers A team began their challenge courtesy of
Lewis Timmins on Leg One, finishing tenth in 20m33s.
Ironically at that stage, he was two places and five seconds
behind the Morpeth B team first leg runner Ryan Stephenson,
who produced an excellent run to say the least.
Morpeth A team second leg runner Ross Floyd re-addressed
the situation as he got by his B team colleague Karl Taylor.
Floyd’s 20m46s for the 6k course took him up to eighth place,
whilst Taylor’s 21m02s saw him drop one place to ninth.
The Morpeth A team however on third leg courtesy of Carl Avery’s excellent 19m53s,
got up to third place, a position they were to hold over the final three legs.
Avery’s clocking was easily the fastest over the leg, and also ninth fastest overall on the day.
Meanwhile Sam Hancox’s excellent 21m05s on the third leg for
the Morpeth B team, saw them maintain ninth place.
The final three legs for the Morpeth A team saw excellent performances being
achieved by Thomas Straughan (20m34s),
Ady Whitwam (20m42s),
and Ian Hudspith (19m38s).
Hudspith’s clocking was third fastest overall behind Daniel Cliffe
(19m28s) of Liverpool Harriers, and Hallamshire’s Andy Heyes (19m32s).
Ian was very unlucky not to snatch Silver, finishing only a second adrift
of Liverpool Harrier Harry Harper in a nail biting finale.
They were also only forty two second adrift of winners Derby AC.
The nearest rivals behind the Morpeth A team were Sale Harriers,
who were 49 seconds adrift in fourth place.
Meanwhile the Morpeth Harriers Men’s B team continued their fight,
by finishing 28th in 2hrs 14m 20s, and they were fourth B team.
Further performances came from Elliot Kelly (22m30s),
Steve Haswell (26m00s), and David Swinburne (23m15s).
To gain qualification for the National 6 Stage Road Relays,
to be held at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, on Saturday 3rd October 2015,
clubs had to finish within the top 25.
On that basis Morpeth Harriers will be joined in that competition by
fellow North East rivals Gateshead Harriers, who finished tenth,
and Tyne Bridge, who were twenty second.