The sudden cancellation of major sporting fixtures across the country failed to stop the latest round of the North East Harrier League, held for the first time in the grounds of the Lambton Estate in Washington,
although the fixture itself had been rescheduled following the heavy rains of the Winter period.
While overall numbers were down – many of the better Juniors competing, of course, in Liverpool – most athletes enjoyed the chance to test out a new course on what may prove to be a regular venue,
and there was one individual 1st place, two 2nds and two team wins for the club.
The individual win came courtesy of Ollie Calvert in the Under 13 Boys, who ran the 2nd fastest time of the day from Slow Pack. Ollie was supported by Oliver Tomlinson, 8th from Fast Pack, who also ran the day’s fastest actual time. With Conner Philips 14th, Zack Cousins 22nd and Sam Livingstone 28th, the team had a resounding victory ahead of rivals Birtley AC and are now placed second in the team Grand Prix behind North Shields Polytechnic Harriers with the final fixture still to come – if it takes place, of course.
The second team victory came courtesy of the U/15 Boys who were led home by a flying Bertie Marr, 2nd on the day from Fast Pack but recording the fastest time by some distance. After injury sustained in the Sherman Cup back in January, it is good to see Bertie getting back to his competitive best. With Sam Tate in 4th, Liam Roche in 9th, Matthew Walton 11th, Adam Howliston 22nd and James Tilley 24th, the team victory was even more pronounced and kept the U/15s at the top of the table in a position they should now hold on to.
New recruit Caitlin Flanagan made an impression in her first outing in a Morpeth vest in the U/15, coming home in in 2nd place. She was supported by Olivia Carruthers in 16th from Fast Pack, although sadly the team missed a third counter and are now placed overall in 9th.
First event of the day the U/11 races also saw some good performances, with Rob Walton 3rd, Dan Scott 25th
and Harry Hague, another athlete competing in the blue and white for the first time, 32nd in the Boys. Emma Tomlinson was 11th and Iris Dungait 17 th in the matching Girls race.
Smallest fields of the day came in the U/17 Boys and U/17 Girls/U/20 Women’s, with barely double figures and no complete teams from any club. Euan Duffin ran the U/17’s fastest time from Fast Pack, coming home 6th in the Boys race with Sophie Coaker 6th from Medium and Kate Gaffing 10th from Slow in the Girls. The U/17 Boys Grand Prix looks headed for an exciting finish at Druridge Bay, with Morpeth only one point behind Houghton Harriers.
Penultimate race of the day and the second largest field came in the Senior Women. Jane Hodgson once again led by example, coming home 4th from Fast Pack and recording the day’s second fastest time. Sarah Lawson was next counter, 67th from Medium, but with Lindsey Quinn being promoted to Fast Pack at Alnwick and so finishing in 102nd here, and Claire Calverley on her way back from injury finishing 132nd, the team finished down in 8th place. Sarah Routledge also ran in 160th.
The team dropped five points behind Tyne Bridge Harriers in the Grand Prix,
with the Newcastle outfit now looking out of sight.
A good turn out at Druridge should still bring a decent silver medal.
Final race of the day, the Senior Men’s, was won individually by Liam Taylor of Sunderland Harriers
out of Slow Pack, with Luke Pickering of Houghton recording the day’s fastest time out of Fast Pack in 2nd.
Tom Innes showed the month off from training hasn’t had too much of an effect on his fitness as he came home as 1st counter for Morpeth in 9th place out of Medium Pack. He was supported by Ricky Stafford, who continues to make great strides over the country, 37th out of Slow Pack with the reliable Gary Jones 80th from Fast.
Eric Adams, enjoying his second Harrier League outing of the season, was 93rd from Slow with Shaun Land 5th counter in 109th from Slow. The team’s final count was veteran Paul Brown, 175th, with further supporting runs by Gary Hall, 196th, Bill Tilley, 222nd, and Andrew Dippie, 244th, all from Slow.
Special mention also for Chris Waugh, who trotted round two laps as
back up having been concerned about low numbers and bringing his vest.
The team finished in 5th place overall and stayed 5th in the Grand Prix,
although the gap to 3rd is a not insurmountable three points.
While the application showed by all those who ran was commendable,
as Paul Brown himself remarked afterwards the team count should not be
being made up by a runner in his mid fifties, and the story of the season
as a whole for the men remains one of missed opportunities and
a disappointing lack of commitment by some athletes.
The 60th English Schools’ Cross Country Championships, sponsored by New Balance, took place at Sefton Park in Liverpool on Saturday 14th March 2020, with hundreds of the best young athletes from all over the country competing for their counties. The event is the culmination of several local and regional selection races held over the Autumn and Winter, and athletes who make it to these championships are clearly the best in England.
Held on a dry and bright afternoon over a rolling but inevitably muddy course that suited faster athletes, the numbers included some thirteen runners from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers, most from KEVI High School, who proudly wore the yellow and red vest of Northumberland for the six age group, six to score for a team competition. (In fact the Northumberland tag is something of a misnomer, as the team also includes pupils drawn from schools in Newcastle and North Tyneside)
The county’s Junior Boys placed 6th overall but first from the North of England, with Morpeth Harriers Ryan Davies (20th and 1st counter for the team), Joe Dixon (28th and 2nd counter) and Will De Vere Owen (106th and 4th) all running. It was another fine run by Davies but mention should also be made of Dixon who, having been spiked on the first lap, gritted his teeth for the team and held on to a decent placing.
Kate Kennedy was the club’s sole representative in the matching Junior Girls, although she had the distinction of being 1st team counter in 91st place, the team coming home 39th.
Both Dylan Gooding and Dylan Davies ran in the Intermediate Boys race, finishing as 4th and 5th counters in 69th and 95th place respectively, the team in 5th providing Northumberland’s highest overall finish of the day, just behind local rivals Durham.
Ponteland High School pupil Abi Leiper, another committed athlete who has raced hard over the country this Winter, ran in the Intermediate Girls, finishing in 68th place as 3rd team counter, the team finishing in 19th.
One of the best individual performances of the day from a Morpeth perspective came from modern pentathlete Ross Charlton, who was 2nd counter in 21st place for the Senior Boys. Supporting him and providing the bulk of the team were KEVI pupils and club colleagues Dan Melling, 31st, Dan Dixon, 96th and Tom Balsdon, 219th, the team making the top ten in 6th place and 2nd from the North of England behind winners Lancashire.
Both Holly Peck, 183rd and 2nd counter, and Ella Duffield, 262nd,
ran for the Senior Women, who finished in 36th place.
With individual counties also placed in four team divisions based on the size of the number of eligible pupils in each county, Northumberland Boys won the John Hedge Trophy by a margin of over 1,000 points from their nearest rivals, Cumbria. The county’s girls placed 4th in the corresponding Nottinghamshire Trophy,
won this time by Cumbria.
Some of our athletes were not able to compete last weekend,
as cancellations hit a number of high profile scheduled fixtures.
Gavin Bayne was all set to win his first England Masters vest in the
Fleet half-marathon in Hampshire on Sunday only to find it was cancelled at the last minute.
Carl Avery was due to run the Prague half at the end of the month and had
chosen to miss the Inter Counties XC as a result. Sadly that’s now been cancelled.
Worst of all, perhaps, spare a thought for poor Gary Hall, who has been training
rigorously up and down Druridge Bay for April’s Marathon des Sables - only to find that too now
rescheduled till September.
With park runs cancelled across much of Europe, it looks as though these too will go by the weekend,
with the organisers saying they will make a decision for the UK by the end of the week.
The North East Counties Athletics Association held their annual Open Indoor
Pentathlon Championships at Gateshead College on Sunday 15th March 2020.
Although attendance was down as expected, mainly due to the ongoing Coronavirus fears, however,
at the end of the day, a total of sixty athletes took part over the ten age groups, who all participated in the five events, which included two track (60m and 60m Hurdles), and three field, (High Jump, Long Jump, and Shot Putt).
One Morpeth Harrier took part, in the form of Saveena Mullin, who is a very promising Under 13 Girl,
who is being guided through Multi Event activity by her Coach Dave Thomas.
Thomas was on hand himself to witness her finishing as seventh fastest in the 60m Hurdles (11.04s),
eighth in the 60m Sprint (9.16s), seventh in the Shot Putt (6.27m), eighth in the High Jump (1.22m),
and eighth in the Long Jump (3.83m).
Mullin’s respective performances saw her eventually place seventh in the overall North Eastern Championship
for her age group, and eighth in the accompanying Open Championship, out of sixteen in the competition.
She amassed a total of 1945 points cumulatively, establishing some good personal bests into the bargain,
so overall a good days performance, despite being adrift of the medals, which were hard fought for,
especially in Saveena’s age group, where North Shield’s Poly’s Emily Bond established
a meeting record, when securing both Championships.
The fifth and final meeting in the series of Indoor Standards Meetings,
hosted by Gateshead Harriers at Gateshead College, was held on Thursday 12th March 2020.
Seven Morpeth Harriers were amongst those in action, the busiest being Under 13 starlet,
Saveena Mullin, who took part in two track and one field event, gaining very satisfactory results.
She tackled 60m Hurdles for the very first time, finishing as third fastest in her age group,
with her clocking of 10.74s.
In the 60m sprint, she was seventh fastest, posting a new personal best of 9.13s.
She also took part in the Shot Putt for the first time, where she finished fourth in her age group,
achieving a distance of 5.76m.
Another first time 60m Hurdler was Under 15 Boy Benjamin Hope, who posted a best time of 11.03s.
Hope also did the 60m sprint for the first time, finishing as sixth fastest in 8.83s.
Another Morpeth Under 15 Boy taking part in the 60m sprint was Reuben Moss, who was fourth fastest in 8.48s.
Morpeth Under 15 Girl Freya Caygill was third fastest in her 60m sprint, with her time of 8.45s.
Another Morpeth Under 15 Girl in action in the 60m was Victoria Hodgson, who was fourth fastest in 8.61s.
Unfortunately, Amy Lott had no competition in the Under 17 Women’s 60m Hurdles,
where she posted a slightly below par 9.19s.
Georgia Turner of Morpeth Harriers produced a best of 7.68m in the Shot Putt,
finishing fourth in the Under 15 Girls competition.