It was certainly a superb weekend for athletes from Morpeth Harriers & AC competing at the by the annual North Eastern Counties Athletics Association Track and Field Championships, sponsored once again by Start Fitness, and held at Gateshead Stadium, over Saturday and Sunday 13th & 14th May 2017.
Over the two days of competition, the club managed a total of no less than 26 championship medals, with an equal proportion of thirteen each being achieved in both track and field events.
Thirteen may be viewed as being an unlucky number, however this was exactly the number of Gold medals won by the club, with nine Silver, and four Bronze being added to the clubs’ total tally for good measure.
One athlete was particularly outstanding, and that was Under 17 Woman thrower Bobbie Griffiths, who won no less than five individual titles in the Javelin, for both her own age group, and the age above her, (Under 20), with respective throws of 34.59m, and 37.19m, the latter with the heavier implement, plus the Discus (26.60m), Hammer (35.70m), and Shot Putt (10.34m), ironically, none of these were achieved with personal bests,
mainly due to breezy conditions which prevailed throughout, especially the first day of competition on Saturday.
Nevertheless, Griffiths can feel justifiably proud of her achievements, which were the end result of nearly a whole month of intense competition, involving journeys to various parts of the country in addition to her home patch.
Other Morpeth Gold medallists in the Field Events were Ruaridh Lang, who on Saturday produced a championship best performance of 45.65m to take the Under 17 Men’s Discus title, Andrew Knight, also coached by Paul Reed, who won the Under 17 Men’s Shot Putt title with his best of 14.29m, and Alfie Ward (Under 15 Boys Triple Jump) (9.56m).
On Saturday, three track Gold’s were added to the clubs tally, courtesy of Holly Peck, (Under 15 Girls 800m),
in a personal best time of 2m21.0s, Matthew Waterfield (Under 17 Men’s 400m),
also in a personal best time of 52.03s, and Ellie Longstaff (Under 13 Girls 200m),
also a personal best of 28.60s.
Peck superbly added a second Gold medal to her tally on the Sunday in the Under 15 Girls 1500m,
which secured by producing another outstanding personal performance of 4m50.46s,
winning by two seconds from Gosforth Harrier Olivia Katory.
Rory Leonard of Morpeth Harriers produced a massive new personal best of 9m00.53s on Sunday,
to take the Under 17 Men’s 3,000metre Gold Medal, ahead of his second placed club colleague Taylor Glover,
who also produced a new personal best of 9m04.38s, to add a second Silver to the one he had won the previous day in the 1500m, again a new personal best of 4m08.04s,
when he had finished ahead of Leonard, who had hung on to take Bronze in 4m09.14s.
Unfortunately, Morpeth’s Ellie Longstaff just missed a second Gold medal in a blistering Under 13 Girls 100m,
just losing by a whisker to Shildon’s Cody Hall, with her time of 13.78s.
Another Morpeth athlete just missing out on Gold was Senior Man James Young,
who won Silver in the 800m Final on the Sunday, losing to Newcastle University’s Cameron Cutts.
Young’s time of 1m56.52s was outstanding, and was only around a second adrift of his lifetime best,
and he can be justifiably pleased with his performance.
Another Morpeth track Silver medallist was young Alice Geoghegan, who posted a new personal best of 13.01s
in the Under 13 Girls 70m Hurdles final, one of the early events on the first day of competition.
Under 20 Men’s Jumps specialist David Thomas won a Silver medal on Saturday in the Triple Jump, by producing an on the day best of 12.03m, and returned to the stadium 24 hours later to collect another Silver in the Long Jump, producing a best of 5.34m.
Two other Silver medallists in the Field Events were Senior Man Craig Charlton,
who managed an on the day best of 12.68m in the Shot Putt on Saturday,
and Under 13 Boy Fintan Ward, younger brother of Alfie, who threw a best of 4.58m in the Shot Putt.
Including Rory Leonard’s third place in the Under 17 Men’s 1500m,
Morpeth Harriers had another three Bronze medallists on the podium.
Amy Lott ran excellently throughout her heat and final of the Under 15 Girls 75m Hurdles,
to win Bronze behind Houghton’s speedster Phillipa Ellis, producing a time of 12.86s.
Also on Saturday, Kieran Hedley, who has been struggling with a back injury, worked his way well, to take a well-earned Bronze in the Under 20 Men’s 1500m, posting a time of 4m16.87s.
His Morpeth Harriers club colleague Joe Ramshaw, produced a superb new personal best performance
of 2m01.1s in the Under 17 Men’s 800m on the Sunday.
Alfie Ward came very close, when finishing fourth in the Under 15 Boys Hurdles in 16.02s, and also finished a very close fourth in the Long Jump, where he produced an on the day best of 4.71m.
Rhiannon Hedley, who finished fourth in the Under 15 Girls 800m final behind her club colleague Holly Peck, posting a time of 2m25.89s, which was marginally adrift of her personal best.
Phillip Winkler, who ran well in two events over the weekend, producing new personal bests in both, but finished fourth and fifth respectively in the Senior Men’s 1500m (4m04.99s), and 800m (2m00.27s), having earlier produced a new personal best in his heat of 1m58.82s, where he was second.
Mia Belton, who in her very first championship, finished fourth in the Under 13 Girls 200m final behind her club colleague Longstaff, posting a time of 31.04s.
Naomi Arkle, who finished fourth in the Under 20 Women’s 200m final in 28.07s.
Rosie Winter, who finished fourth in the Under 15 Girls Javelin, producing new figures of 21.41m.
Older Sister Megan, also competing for the first time over the distance,
who finished a close fifth in the Under 17 Women’s 100m, posting a time of 13.89s.
She also finished fourth in the Under 17 Women’s Hammer, producing a personal best performance of 23.16m
Matthew Waterfield in attempting to add to his 400m Gold, finished a close fourth in the 200m in 23.99s.
Steven Appleby, who finished fourth in the Senior Men’s Discus, with a best throw of 33.54m.
Overall, some superb performances from the club’s athletes, 36 in all,
some of whom were gracing a championship stage for the very first time in their lives,
you all did very well, and wore your Blue and White Vest with pride.
Photos courtesy of David Thomas
Videos courtesy of John Charlton