Despite the unseasonal conditions, there were a host of excellent performances by athletes from
Morpeth Harriers at the first in the series of six Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Grand Prix meetings,
held at a very chilly Monkton Stadium in Jarrow, on Wednesday 27th April 2016.
Amongst those excellent performers were three of the clubs Long Throwers,
who all performed well amidst difficult conditions.
Thankfully there was very little wind factor, which slightly tempered the chilly edge.
Although producing an excellent new personal best of 11.96m, an improvement of 15cm,
Andrew Knight just lost out for overall victory in the Under 15 Boys Shot Putt by a mere centimetre
to Darlington’s Luke Allen, whom he had marginally beaten in the Gateshead Medal Meeting four days earlier.
It will be very interesting to see how these two shape up against each other in the forthcoming season,
as they will both compete in the four North East Youth Development League Division 1 fixtures,
amongst other things.
Another athlete performing well from the Paul Reed stable is Craig Charlton,
and he produced a new outdoor best of 12.36m, to win the Senior Men’s Shot Putt.
Reed’s other athlete in action was Charlotte Pickering –Pruvot, who despite
being outside her best with 10.49m, won the Under 17 Women’s Shot.
On the track, Morpeth Harriers had four individual winners on the night, and no less than seven personal bests.
Having her first outing as an Under 15 Girl on the track,
Holly Peck cut an impressive figure when winning the Under 15 Girls 1500m,
in a new personal best of 5m01.6s, bettering her previous figures by three seconds.
Finishing fourth in the same event was Peck’s club colleague Lily Heaton,
who was also having her first Under 15 Girl track outing, and she set new figures of 5m11.2s,
knocking a whole eleven seconds off her previous best.
Rhiannon Hedley, who formed a superb Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Girls squad
alongside Peck and Heaton, still remains in that age group for this track season,
and she began it well by winning the 1500m in 5m10.6s, which was agonisingly just four seconds
outside her personal best, nevertheless an excellent early season performance,
which no doubt will be bettered as the season progresses.
Another excellent Under 13 performer for Morpeth Harriers was Ben Walker,
who finished a close second in the Boys event in 5m04.4s.
In a very competitive Under 15 Boys 1500m, Morpeth Harrier
Ross Charlton finished fifth, producing new figures of 4m44.3s.
The Graded 1500m races, involving Under 17, Under 20 and Senior athletes,
saw Morpeth Harrier Kieran Hedley clock the fastest Under 17 Men’s time with his clocking of 4m07.9s,
which was a second inside his previous time for the distance.
Sixth fastest Under 17 Man on the night was Morpeth’s Matthew Waterfield,
who clocked 4m34.4s, beating his previous best by all of 22 seconds.
Another impressive Morpeth Under 17 Men’s performer was newcomer Liam Marsh,
who improved on his previous best by 21 seconds, with 4m37.6s,
making him eighth fastest Under 17 Man on the night.
Another Morpeth Under 17 Men’s performer in the Graded 1500m,
was Connor Marshall, who proved to be eleventh fastest in his age group.
Morpeth’s Jacob Hopkins proved to be third fastest in the Under 20 Men’s 1500m, with his clocking of 4m27.5s.
Two Morpeth Harriers competed in the Senior Men’s 1500m.
Chris Smith was third fastest with his clocking of 4m09.0s, and Kevin Calvert was fifth fastest with 4m16.8s.
Morpeth’s Abby Sheldon was sixth fastest in the Under 20 Women’s 1500m in 5m11.5s.
Sean O’Hara of Morpeth Harriers began his outdoor track campaign well, when winning the Graded 150m in 17.3s.
It was the first time that the Eddie Hedley coached athlete had tackled the distance.
Just a fraction behind him was club colleague David Storey, also coached by Hedley,
who clocked 17.8s, and was very clearly the fastest Senior Man on show.
Two Morpeth Harriers were in action in the Graded 300m.
Joe Dowd was easily the fastest Under 17 Man, with a time of 39.4s,
and Matthew Waterfield clocked a time of 41.8s, which saw him finish as fourth fastest.
All in all a very encouraging start to the Track and Field season,
all we have to hope for is getting out of the current trough of Arctic weather.
Peter Newton and Emma Holt of Morpeth Harriers both produced outstanding performances as they won their
respective Men’s and Women’s North Eastern Counties Athletics Association 10,000 metres Championships,
at a cold and wintry Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, on Wednesday 27th April.
For Newton it was his fourth win in the event, and was his third in successive years,
and he more than bettered any of his previous performances by clocking a superb 29m54.3s,
which was a new personal best, taking twelve seconds off his previous figures,
which had been set in the famous Highgate night of 10,000metres in 2014, at the Parliament Hill track.
He won with three minutes to spare over his closest rival Finn Brodie of Tyne Bridge Harriers,
who took the Silver medal, with Elswick Harrier Lee Bennett claiming third place and a Bronze medal in 33m07.1s.
For Holt it was indeed a superb night, as she not only won the Women’s Championship and a well deserved Gold medal, in her first ever attempt at the distance on the track, and she also produced an excellent Championship best with her clocking of 36m09.9s, plus it also gave her a 3min46secs margin victory over second placed Angela McGurk of Jarrow and Hebburn, who took the Silver medal.
Taking the Bronze medal in the Women’s event was Elswick’s Mary Lisle, who clocked 43m25.1s.
New Morpeth recruit Jake Masterman finished seventh in the Men’s race, posting a time of 34m54.2s,
in his very first attempt at the distance on the track, his only previous experience of the distance, had been on the road, in the recently held Blyth Valley 10k, where he had clocked 35m26s.
Newton and Holt, were both honoured to receive their respective Gold Medals
from Rio bound London Marathon hero Alyson Dixon, who very kindly came along on not the best of nights,
to make the presentations, for which she received a warm reception from the small crowd in attendance.
Commenting on her own recent achievement, Dixon said that she was really looking forward to her
forthcoming Olympic appearance, however was also very pleased to come along to support her local league.
A record field in recent terms took part in the 10,000metres Championships,
22 in all, with 16 facing the starter in the Men’s event, and 6 in the Women’s event.
Nine Morpeth Harriers were in competitive action at the Gateshead Harriers
Open Medal meeting, held at Gateshead Stadium on Sunday 24th April.
Katie Hilton in the Under 17 Women’s 100m, made a very promising start to the new track campaign,
when she produced new figures of 13.5s, when finishing fourth.
Fellow Morpeth Harrier Hannah Brown also competed here, finishing as tenth fastest with 13.94s.
Brown’s appetite for early season competition in her first outdoor outing in her new age group,
also led her to take on the rigours of 80m Hurdles for the first time, and saw her finish second in 12.8s,
just ahead of club colleagues Hannah Priest and Becky Foster.
Priest was also tackling the 80m Hurdles for the first time as an Under 17,
and finishing third in 13.2s was certainly an encouraging start,
and club newcomer Foster can also take much pleasure from finishing fourth in 14.2s.
Hannah Brown also competed in her first 200m for nearly two years,
and she set new figures of 29.6s, when finishing fifth.
Becky Foster also showed a keen eye for competition,
when finishing second in the Under 17 Women’s Long Jump, with a best of 3.70m.
Morpeth Harriers other track specialist in action was Kofi Jeje Avornyo,
who was having his first taste of outdoor athletics for the club.
He was seventh fastest in the Under13 Boys 100m with 15.1s,
and 30.4s in the 200m gave him fourth place.
Morpeth Harriers also had some very prominent Field throwing specialists in action.
Paul Reed coached Craig Charlton and Andrew Knight pulled off good
victories in the Senior Men’s and Under 15 Boys Shot Putt.
Charlton, making his outdoor debut, Putted a good 11.85m in the Senior event,
inflicting a 67cm marginal defeat on former Morpeth Harrier Paul Corrigan,
now competing for Wallsend Harriers, whom he will no doubt come up against
in the forthcoming Northern Senior League competition, and possibly in others,
the new Morpeth acquisition certainly cuts a fine prospect on this standard of performance.
Other good news for Reed and his club, is the winning performance of Under 15 Boy Andrew Knight,
with his best of 11.81m, however it was the narrowest of margins of only 2cm from Durham City’s Luke Allen.
He had bettered his previous best by 77cm however.
Another throwing performance was by Ellie Burt, who finished second
in the Under 17 Women’s Shot Putt with her best of 9.27m
The clubs other performance on the day was by Under 17 Men’s Long Jumper David Thomas,
who was agonisingly just slightly short of his best with 5.62m, which gave him second place
to Gateshead Harrier Joe Halpin, who produced a best of 6.01m.
Results show that four athletes from Morpeth Harriers lined up in the Virgin Money London Marathon,
on Sunday 24th April,which was being run for the 36th occasion.
Three of those athletes managed to achieve new personal bests for the Marathon distance.
First home from the club was their Army Cross Country Champion Ady Whitwam,
who despite picking up an aggravated back injury, lined up just behind the very Elite Men in Greenwich Park,
and came home in an excellent 2hrs30.34m, which knocked around thirteen minutes
off his previous best on the course in 2010, and also gave him a good placing of 79th, and 13th in his Over 40 age category.
Nearly ten minutes behind Ady, and posting a time of 2hrs40m11s, a new personal best by 41 seconds,
was his Morpeth club colleague Karl Taylor, who could also take delight with a placing of 305th.
Despite having a winter totally disrupted by injury problems, Morpeth’s Andrew Lawrence
still made the start line, and posted a time of 2hrs47mins41s, to finish in 675th place.
Completing the Morpeth Harriers quartet was Tony Lewis,
who finished in 3,616th place, posting a time of 3hrs15mins05secs,
which was 4m48s inside his personal best.
A footnote to Andrew Lawrence's performance, because he had been injured,
and had been unable to prepare in his customary way for the event,
he thought that he would enter the fun of things surrounding the London Marathon,
and completed the epic 26 Miles dressed as a Banana, and in doing so,
earns him a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the fastest marathoner
of all time dressed as a fruit !
just to add to the pleasure of the day
Six Morpeth Harriers were in action in the Mini Marathon’s
that were run in conjunction with the Virgin Money Marathon.
The Six races, run on a course of three miles from Old Billingsgate and the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace,
involved athletes from the London Borough’s and the remainder of the country,
including the North East, who ran in the British Athletics Road Race section.
Best performance from a Morpeth Harrier was by Scott Beattie,
who finished sixth in the Under 17 Men’s event in 14m31s.
Also running in the Under 17 Men’s event from the club was Kieran Hedley,
who was sixth home from the region, finishing 66th in 16m13s.
Morpeth Harriers had three of their athletes in action in the Under 15 Boy’s event.
First of those was Daniel Dixon, who finished in 16th place in 15m38s, who was third from the region.
Ten seconds behind Daniel in 20th place was club colleague Taylor Glover, who was fourth from the region.
Fifth home from the region was Morpeth’s Ross Charlton, who finished 56th in 16m34s.
Morpeth’s Holly Peck led the region home in the Under 13 Girls event, finishing 26th in 18m36s.