Nearly 4,200 runners took part in the annual Blaydon Race, run for the 37th occasion,
and sponsored for the first time by local recycling company J & J Stanley Ltd, on Friday 9th June 2017.
Glorious sunshine, plus a strong headwind, made conditions extra tough for leading contenders,
however, for the second year in succession, Morpeth Harrier Peter Newton led the field home,
to retain the title of first Senior Man, that he had won for the first time in 2016.
Posting a finishing time of 27m50s at Shibdon Pond, which was around forty seconds adrift of his 2016 time,
he finished fourteen seconds ahead of club colleague Carl Avery,
with early leader Abraham Tewelde of Saltwell Harriers, coming home third in 28m07s.
Fourth place went to former Morpeth Harrier Lewis Timmins,
now back with Gosforth Harriers, who clocked 28m18s.
Fifth and Sixth places went to Salford Harrier Marc Brown,
and Morpeth’s Ian Hudspith, who clocked 28m21s and 28m22s respectively.
Hudspith was first Over 40 Man, which gave him the traditional Blaydon Race title of First Gadgee.
Two seconds, and one place behind Hudspith, was another Salford Harrier Thomas Cornthwaite,
who had also been prominent in the early stages, who just held off Thomas Straughan of Morpeth Harriers,
who finished eighth in 28m24s.
Next home was Daniel Johnson of Gateshead Harriers (28m33s),
and another Morpeth Harrier Ross Floyd, closed the top ten placings in a time of 29m19s.
With Ian Hudspith being declared as a Veteran finisher, Morpeth Harriers may still have
retained the Senior Men’s team title, courtesy of race winner Newton, Avery, Straughan and Floyd.
The Women’s race, was won by Sale Harrier Sonia Samuels, formerly with Wallsend Harriers,
who finished 20th overall in 29m48s, thirteen places ahead of 2016 Women’s Champion
Alyson Dixon of Sunderland Strollers, who posted a finishing time of 30m45s.
Third place in the Women’s event went to another former Wallsend Harrier Danielle Hodgkinson,
now running for Birchfield Harriers, who was 41st overall in 31m31s.
Fourth place in the Women’s event went to Morpeth’s Emma Holt,
who was 74th overall in 32m45s, who is in the early stages of a running
comeback following an unfortunate injury sustained in March.
Other prominent Morpeth finishers in the event were
Chris Smith (21st) 29m54s,
Ian Harding (25th) 30m14s,
John Butters (28th) (3rd O/40 Man) 30m19s,
Andrew Lawrence (29th) 30m37s,
Lorna MacDonald (21st Woman) 36m59s,
and Gemma Floyd (33rd Woman) (12th O/35 Woman) 37m51s.
A total of 34 runners from Morpeth Harriers took part, which also included
Matthew Boyle (77th) 32m52s,
Tony Lewis (83rd) 33m01s,
Rob Hancox (93rd) (2nd O/50 Man) 33m19s,
Tim Miley (148th) (5th O/50 Man) 34m42s,
Paul Banks (246th) (55th O/40 Man) 36m44s,
Paul Brown (344th) (29th O/50 Man) 37m55s,
Steve Haswell (362nd) (34th O/50 Man) 38m10s,
Jim Alder (400th) (42nd O/50 Man) 38m44s,
Peter Scaife (445th) (46th O/50 Man) 39m22s,
Mark Crosby (473rd) (49th O/50 Man) 39m39s,
Ryan Shiel (546th) 40m14s,
Mike Steven (634th) (72nd O/50 Man) 41m00s,
Eric Adams (676th) (191st O/40 Man) 41m19s,
Richard Sill (713th) (14th O/60 Man) 41m38s,
Norman Clark (821st) (16th O/60) 42m32s,
Jane Kirby (955th) (54th O/35 Woman) 43m38s,
Frankie Wilson (1,160th) (211th Woman) 45m09s,
Carol Parry (2,059th) (119th O/45 Woman) 51m16s,
Jacinta Wake (2,060th) (120th O45 Woman) 51m16s,
Damian Foster (2,204th) (529th O/40 Man) 51m59s,
and Jane Blackett (2,386th) (159th O/45 Woman) 53m06s.
In speaking afterwards, winner Newton said that he had been very pleased,
and somewhat relieved by his victory.
He had not raced, and had not even trained properly since March because of injury,
and fully knew that he was up against it in attempting a second victory,
but had to put himself on the line, because he would not be in the
position to compete as regularly in the near future, as he and his Wife
are expecting their first child sometime in August.
In conclusion, many thanks go to Lynn Craig and her superb team of workers
at Blaydon Harriers for once again staging a tremendous and most
important event on the region’s road running calendar.