Athletes from Morpeth Harriers produced no fewer than six medals at the first day
of the North Eastern Counties Indoor Track and Field Championships,
held at the Gateshead College Indoor Facility on Saturday 18th February 2017.
The first day was for Field eventers, and Under 15 athlete Ethan Stephenson helped himself
to two individual Gold medals in the High Jump and Long Jump respectively.
His High Jump was particularly significant, as not only did he produce a lifetime best,
when he cleared 1.72m, it was also a Championship best winning performance.
Although his Long Jump performance of 5.43m proved to be a winner,
it was still around 20cm adrift of his lifetime best.
Another Morpeth medallist in this event was Alfie Ward,
who produced a best of 4.76m, which was a personal best by 10cm.
There was another Championship Best performance from a Morpeth Harrier however,
and that came in the Under 17 Woman’s Shot, where Charlotte Pickering – Pruvot
produced a lifetime best of 12.68m, adding a whole metre to her previous best to take a well-deserved Gold Medal.
Fellow Morpeth Harrier Bobbie Griffiths was agonisingly just 6cm adrift
of a Bronze Medal in this event, when she produced a best of 9.51m,
which was around 26cm adrift of her best.
In the Under 17 Men’s Shot Putt, Morpeth’s Andrew Knight proved to be a clear winner
by nearly two and a half metres, with his best effort of 13.47m, which was a new lifetime best by 8cm.
Naomi Arkle of Morpeth won a Gold Medal in the Junior Women’s Triple Jump,
with her best effort of 9.55m, which was also an excellent lifetime best by all of 60cm.
Another Women’s Triple Jump performer from Morpeth was Katie Hilton,
who jumped a best of 9.92m in the Under 17 competition,
this gave her fourth place, and only 7cm adrift of the medals.
It was also nearly 70cm adrift of her lifetime best.
Another Morpeth Triple Jumper was David Thomas, whose 11.97m
was only good for fifth place in the Under 20 Men’s competition.
He was also nearly a metre adrift of his lifetime best.
Thomas also competed in the Long Jump, where again he finished fifth,
producing a best of 5.69m in a very tight competition.
This again showed a shortage from his best, by around 50cm.
The second day of the Championships on Sunday 19th February,
which was for Track events, saw two more medals won by Morpeth Harrier athletes.
Ellie Longstaff, who had her first experience of serious Championship competition
in Sheffield two weeks ago, won a well fought for Gold Medal in the Under 13 Girls 60m,
in a new personal best time of 8.39s, having earlier won her heat, almost equalling her previous best.
Longstaff can feel well pleased with this superb achievement.
Another Morpeth athlete who can feel well pleased is Amy Lott, who won her first Championship
Gold Medal exactly a year ago, in the Under 13 Girls 60m Hurdles at the same venue.
This time round she was competing in the Under 15 Girls 60m Hurdles,
and over slightly higher obstacles, and she finished third to take
a much-prized Bronze medal, posting a new personal best time of 9.84s.
She was only 0.2s away from Silver, and 0.4s off the Gold.
Lott qualified for the final by finishing third in her heat in 10.11s,
so her improvement in her final was very formidable.
She also ran in the 60m flat, finishing second in her heat in 8.63s,
which was almost equal to her personal best, but went out in the Semi Finals,
despite posting an identical time.
Having finished second in her heat in the Under 20 Women’s 60m in 8.46s, a new personal best,
first day Gold Medallist Naomi Arkle could only finish fifth in her later run final, despite running a time of 8.47s.
Morpeth newcomer Phil Pitt finished second in his heat of the Senior Men’s 60m,
posting a time of 7.5s, and finished fifth in the later run final in 7.58s.
Katie Hilton just missed out on a place in the Under 17 Women’s 60m final,
when finishing fourth in her heat in 8.42s, which was fractionally adrift of her personal best.
A totally outstanding weekend for the Morpeth Harriers Indoor Track and Field specialists,
who did themselves and their hard-working coaches proud.
Morpeth Harriers were particularly well represented at the annual Royal Signals Road Relays,
held at Hetton Lyons Country Park on Saturday 18th February, which incorporated the
North-Eastern Counties Athletics Association Championships,
where they superbly managed to retain two titles,
and took much prized Silver Team medals in another.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Men retained their title for the third successive year in their 6x2.2mile Relay,
and not to be outdone, the Senior Women retained their title
for the second year in succession in their 4x2.2mile Relay.
In addition, the clubs Over 50 Men superbly took Silver medals when
finishing second to North Shields Poly in their 4x2.2mile event.
Posting a fourth leg finishing time of 10m29s, Under 20 Northern Cross Country Champion Scott Beattie,
was very easily the fastest on show in the Senior Men’s event,
and he firmly turned the tide for the Morpeth Men’s A team,
as they went into an unassailable lead that was never relinquished.
In the end, they won by a clear two minutes and sixteen seconds from New Marske,
who just pipped the Morpeth Senior Men’s B team into second place by a mere two seconds,
who had got off to an excellent first leg start, coming home in poll position, albeit by a mere
three seconds ahead of Birtley, courtesy of Ross Floyd’s sixth equal fastest clocking of 10m49s.
Other performances in the Senior Men’s A team came from Robert Balmbra (11m05s),
Ian Harding (10m59s) (16th = Fastest), Sam Hancox (11m05s),
Nick Swinburn (10m40s) (3rd Fastest), and Carl Avery (10m42s) (4th Fastest).
The Senior Men’s outstanding victory was just the icing on the top of an already well baked cake,
as earlier in the day Morpeth Harriers Senior Women had achieved a superb win in their 4 x 2.2mile Relay,
which gave them their second North East title in succession in the event.
Posting what was the second fastest time of the day of 12m18s, which was only surpassed by
Sunderland Stroller Marathon International Alyson Dixon, who managed an excellent 11m53s on second leg,
final leg runner Emma Holt brought the club home to victory
by a margin of thirty seconds over second placed Jarrow and Hebburn.
Earlier legs by Josie Cram (12m48s) (5th Fastest), Jane Hodgson (12m51s) (6th = Fastest),
and Gemma Floyd (13m33s), had seen them always in a very challenging position
throughout a tense battle with eventual Silver medallists Jarrow and Hebburn,
Bronze medallists Gosforth Harriers, and North Yorkshire guests Richmond and Zetland.
What was very clear to see here was the superb team spirit which engineered a most formidable victory.
Morpeth Harriers were also medallists in the Over 50 Men’s event, run alongside
the Senior Women’s event, and also over four legs of 2.2mile distance.
They took well-earned Silver medals in a very tough battle alongside
early leaders Sunderland Harriers, and eventual winners North Shields Poly.
Rob Hancox came home in third place on leg one, posting a time of 12m46s,
which was to be the third fastest overall Over 50 Men’s time, and only a mere
twelve seconds adrift of leaders Sunderland Harriers,
with North Shields lodged into second place, only ten seconds ahead.
This all changed for Morpeth on leg two, courtesy of a fine performance by Phil Walker,
whose clocking of 13m03s was the fastest of the leg, and took his squad into poll position
ahead a deposed Sunderland Harriers, who were now nineteen seconds adrift,
with North Shields Poly bearing down on them as the halfway stage was reached.
It was all change again on leg three, as North Shields Poly went into the lead,
courtesy of an excellent 11m19s by Guy Bracken, easily the day’s fastest Over 50 time,
however Alistair MacDonald managed to hold on to second place, posting a personal time of 13m16s,
which gave him a twenty-four second margin over Sunderland Harriers going into the final leg,
which was run by Tim Miley.
Miley got around the 2.2mile leg, posting an excellent 13m05s, which maintained
the margin over Sunderland Harriers, however in doing so, he had also severely
eaten into North Shields Poly’s seventy-five second lead, having whittled it down
to a mere thirty seconds at the death, and fully deserved the Silver medal team award.
In addition to the medal winning performances, Morpeth Harriers can also
be very proud of some of the other performances,
which saw them achieve some highly-placed performances,
both on a team, and individual basis.
Earlier in the report, we highlighted that the Senior Men’s B team
were just run out of a runners up spot by New Marske.
In the end, they finished third, however could not claim a set of medals, as championship rules
clearly state that B team performances cannot count in terms of medals,
so Bronze went to fourth placed Gateshead Harriers, who had finished three seconds adrift.
Following Ross Floyd’s excellent first leg performance, other B team performances came from
Andrew Lawrence (11m28s), Thomas Straughan (10m54s) (11th Fastest), Taylor Glover (11m15s),
Chris Smith (11m16s), and Mark Snowball (11m36s).
Completing a truly excellent day for Morpeth’s Senior Men, was the performance by their C team,
which saw them finish a superb ninth, courtesy of Alistair Douglass (12m01s),
James Young (10m59s) (16th = Fastest), Joe Ramshaw (11m29s),
Tony Lewis (12m39s), Steve Patterson (12m24s), and Tom Innis (12m41s).
Particularly pleasing performances were by James Young, still an Under 20 athlete,
Joe Ramshaw, and Taylor Glover, who are still Under 17’s, and Tom Innis,
who was making his debut in this level of competition.
There were also some superb performances by the non-medalling Senior Women’s squads,
who finished in sixth and twenty sixth places in strong fields respectively.
The Morpeth B team performances came from Alison Brown (14m37s), Lorna MacDonald (13m20s),
Gracie Hufton, an Under 17, making her debut in Senior competition (14m48s),
and Catriona MacDonald (13m49s), which took them from seventeenth to their final ninth placing.
There were some excellent and very pleasing performances
from the Morpeth Women’s C team, and they were as follows
Jane Kirby (15m53s), Susan Smith (17m15s),
an excellent debut run from Frankie Wilson (15m46s),
and Lindsay Turnbull (15m34s),
which saw the squad rise from their early placing of 32nd.
Overall, a truly excellent day on the road by the club.
Fresh from her month long warm weather training stint in South Africa,
Morpeth Harrier Laura Weightman certainly showed that she had lost none of her zest for competition,
when she won the Women’s 3k Road Race, at the annual Armagh International,
on the evening of Thursday 16th February 2017.
The newly crowned North Eastern Cross Country Champion, won with three seconds
to spare over Epsom’s Rosie Clarke, by posting an excellent finishing time of 8m59s,
with Chelmsford’s Jessica Judd a further eight seconds adrift in third place.
This was Weightman’s first ever individual run over 3k on the roads,
having only run that distance on country, however her finishing time
was very creditable in terms of quality against such a formidable opposition,
and in addition, and by way of a bonus, she now holds the Women’s 3k Course Record.
Armagh International 2017 Race Video........
Posting an excellent season’s best of 71m43s,
Morpeth Harrier Ian Harding finished a close second
to Leeds City’s Jason Cherriman in the annual
Liversedge Half Marathon, held at Roberttown,
near Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire,
on Sunday 12th February 2017.
Harding only missed out on victory by a mere thirteen seconds.
Morpeths Peter Newton finished second in the Wokingham Half Marathon, on Sunday 12th February 2017
posting a finishing time of 66m29s, which was ironically two seconds outside his 2012 Great North Run time,
the last time that Newton had covered the distance, when he had finished 29th.
The event was won by Coventry’s Toby Spencer,
who posted a finishing time of 65m48s.