In addition to the Morpeth Harriers Senior athletes taking part in the Virgin Money sponsored London Marathon, on Sunday 28th April 2019 the club also had some of it’s younger talents competing in the Mini Marathon’s,
run over a specially prepared 5k course, which accompanied the main event, and also finished on the Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, and also with many proud parents on hand to give support where required.
The North East, who were competing in the British Championships,
had five athletes from Morpeth Harriers amongst their six competing squads.
In the Under 17 Men’s event, Morpeth had two in action, where Daniel Melling finished
46th in 15m27s, and was fourth and final counter for a seventh placed North East squad.
Outside the scoring counts was Rowan Bennett, who finished 65th in 16m06s.
In the Under 17 Women’s event, Morpeth’s Holly Peck was second counter home
for an eleventh placed North East squad, finishing 47th in 18m25s.
In the Under 13 Boys event, the North East finished as eighth team,
with Morpeth’s Joe Dixon being second counter, finishing 32nd, posting a time of 17m11s.
Most unfortunate here was Morpeth’s Ryan Davies, who had he not been tripped around 200m
from the finish, would almost certainly have also being a counter, sadly he limped home
in 50th place in 17m53s, obviously a little hurt and somewhat disappointed.
The North East’s best result of the day came in the Under 15 Boys,
where the region finished as first equal with two other squads.
On a record-breaking day at the Virgin Money London Marathon, Andrew Lawrence
led the five-strong Morpeth Harriers contingent home under grey skies in the capital.
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge ran the second fastest marathon in history and set a new London record
with his time of 2hrs 2mins 38secs as the elite runners made the most of the favourable conditions.
The cool, cloudy and breezy weather was in stark contrast to the unbroken sunshine
and soaring temperatures which had troubled runners in last year’s race.
But Morpeth’s Lawrence couldn’t take advantage and eclipse the personal best of 2hrs 29mins 8secs
that he set in 2015.
Even so, his time of 2hrs 38mins 16secs was his second fastest time around the London course
and 8mins quicker than his 2018 time. He finished 317th in the men’s field.
In the women’s field, Lorna Macdonald was Morpeth’s highest finisher, securing 396th place in a time
of 3hrs 13mins 48secs. It was her sixth attempt at the race where she ran a PB of 2hrs 59mins 24secs back in 2017
Morpeth’s other finishers included Andrew Hebden who, running his final London Marathon as a senior
just a few weeks before his 40th birthday, finished in 2hrs 48mins 15secs (898th place).
The time was just 19secs shy of his marathon PB which he set on the same course in 2016
and was also 8mins faster than his time 12 months earlier.
Hebden was followed home by London debutant Paul Banks, with the V40 runner clocking
an impressive time of 2hrs 56mins 35secs (1,616th place) on his first crack at the 26.2-mile distance.
Completing the line-up of Morpeth runners was Carol Parry who finished in 4hrs 29mins 45secs (6,973rd place).
The podium was made up of Kipchoge and Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew and Mule Washihun,
whilst Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei became the youngest ever female winner at the age of 25.
Lee Bennett was Morpeth’s first finisher in the annual Terry O’Gara 5k
held on the old Wagonways at the West Allotment Country Park
on Sunday 28th April 2019
The race also incorporated the NEMAA 5k Championships for 2019.
A close race was narrowly won by Matthew Linsley of Gateshead Harriers in 15 minutes 34 seconds
after Jordan Middlemiss of host club Wallsend had made all the running till a few hundred metres of the
finishing line, only to be reeled in by all three of the chasing pack, Linsley, Gus Withers and Conrad Franks.
Bennett clocked 16m 35s in 12th place, but had the distinction of being first Over 50 male and first Morpeth home. There were also NEMAA medals for Morpeth Harriers Dave Nicholson and Gavin Bayne
(2nd and 3rd Over 60 in 18m 52s and 19m 36s respectively).
Other Morpeth male finishers were Graeme Thorpe, 29th in 17m 40s and Jason Dawson, 54th in 18m 54s.
There was some consolation for Wallsend in the women’s race where Danielle Hodgkinson,
running on home turf, had a convincing victory in 16m 45s.
Morpeth’s Pam Woodcock matched Benett by winning the Over 65 category in 24m 39s.
Claire Calverley was 9th O/35 in 22m 5s, Sue Smith 5th Over 50 in 23m 31s
and Lesley Chapman 4th Over 55 in 24m 5s. In her first outing in a blue and white vest,
meanwhile, newcomer Taylor Murdy ran a very impressive 20m 54s finishing 115th, and was ninth in her age group.
The warm sunshine that athletes enjoyed over the Easter period, unfortunately had turned somewhat cooler for those taking part in the opening meeting of the 2019 Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Grand Prix series, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium, on the evening of Wednesday 24th April 2019.
Nevertheless, it didn’t take very long for things to warm up, created by some early season enthusiasm, generated by those taking part, including athletes from Morpeth Harriers, firmly intent on making some early season impression, as a result of their winter long preparations.
Some athletes were testing themselves out over the short sprint distances, and others, who were more distance specialists, were transferring their Winter Cross Country form into very respectable track performances.
Plus, there were other specialists, who tested themselves in the Jumps and Throws events that were on offer.
Twenty-four athletes from the club were in action on the night, with five of them achieving age group wins,
and there were also no fewer than fourteen personal best performances set by Morpeth athletes
within the course of the two and a half hours of competition.
One of the most impressive of those, came from Under 20 Man Matthew Waterfield,
who won the opening heat of the combined Under 17/Under 20/Senior 300m,
posting a time of 35.33s, taking almost a second off his previous best clocking.
Waterfield had also earlier finished as second in his age group in the 150m, posting a first-time
clocking of 16.60s, just missing out on a win overall by a mere fraction of a second.
Another impressive Morpeth age group winner on the night was Alistair Douglass,
who was first Senior Man in the Graded 1500m, posting an excellent new
personal best time of 4m03.86s, taking three seconds off his previous figures.
Robyn Bennett finished as fastest Senior Woman in the Graded 1500m, posting a time of 5m00.70s.
In the Field Events, Morpeth Harriers had two age group winners, courtesy of Bobbie Griffiths,
who threw a seasons best 38.02m in the Under 20 Women’s Javelin competition,
and first Year Under 17 Man Max Marr, who won the Long Jump, with new figures of 5.77m.
Another Morpeth Harrier competing in the Long Jump was Abbie Ross,
who was fourth in the Under 17 Women’s competition, producing a best effort of 4.34m.
Back on the track, and Morpeth Harrier Ross Charlton impressed in his first outing as an Under 20 Man,
finishing second in his age group in the Graded 1500m, posting a finishing time of 4m09.21s,
taking a massive eight seconds off his previous figures.
Another Morpeth Harrier who lined up in the opening heat of the graded 1500m
was Rowan Bennett, who was sixth fastest Under 17 Man, with his time of 4m20.21s.
In the Graded 150m, Morpeth athletes Sean O’Hara and David Storey were second and third Senior Men
with respective postings of 17.16s and 17.60s, the former representing a new personal best performance.
Morpeth Under 17 Women Holly Peck and Lily Heaton, both finished second fastest
respectively in the 1500m and 300m, with postings of 4m53.98s, and 46.91s.
Back with Field Events, and Morpeth athlete Olivia Gent, did well to finish third in the
Under 15 Girls Long Jump as a first year in her age group, setting new figures of 3.89m.
Gent was also fourth fastest Under 15 Girl in the 100m, posting a finishing time of 14.80s.
Max Marr was third fastest Under 17 Man in the 150m, which he was running
for the first time, and he posted a finishing time of 18.75s.
In another heat, Marr’s Under 20 Club colleague Robbie Anderson was first across the finish line,
posting a personal best time of 18.70s, which made him ninth fastest in his age group.
Also running for Morpeth in the Graded 150m were Senior Women Lynsey Cunningham and Laura Kincaid,
who emerged as fourth and fifth fastest in their age group, posting respective times of 22.34s and 22.54s.
The Graded 800m for Under 13 and Under 15 athletes, saw some
excellent performances produced by three Morpeth Harriers.
In Heat One, Ryan Davies and Bertie Marr, both as first year in the Under 15 Boys section,
finished fifth and sixth, with respective personal best times of 2m20.11s, and 2m20.57s.
Abi Leiper was also a superb performer, winning her heat in 2m32.73s, a new
personal best by three seconds, and fourth fastest in the Under 15 Girls age group.
Running in the Under 17 age group for the first time, Ben Waterfield, Dylan Gooding
and Dylan Davies all impressed over 1500m, posting new personal times of 4m23.02s,
4m26.67s, and 4m39.14s respectively.
Waterfield and Gooding bettered their previous bests by ten seconds,
and Davies bettered his by nine seconds.
Other Morpeth Harriers in action in the 1500m were Rhiannon Hedley, who competed
as a first year Under 17 Woman, and was fifth fastest with a time of 5m00.51s,
and newcomer Tayla Murdy who posted a time in her first outing, of 5m46.46s.
Ben Waterfield finished off a superb night for himself, when he posted a new personal
best over 300m, of 39.76s, making him fifth fastest Under 17 Man in the race.
In summing up, those Morpeth Harriers who competed on a relatively cold night,
certainly not the best conditions for Track and Field competition and are to be
warmly applauded for the efforts in their performance at this early part of the season,
which is most encouraging to say the least.
On the evening of Wednesday 24th April 2019, prior to the opening Start Fitness North East Grand Prix Meeting,
the NECAA held their annual 10,000metre Track Championships,
which also incorporated the Northern Athletics Championship.
Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals went to the first three finishers in both the Men’s and Women’s events,
with Northern medals also being presented in addition.
The Men’s race went to Middlesbrough and Cleveland’s Gregory Jayasuriya,
who had taken the Silver Medal in 2018.
Jayasuriya fought a very hard battle to just outpace Blackhill Bounder Jordan Bell,
posting a finishing time of 31m47.18s, which was nearly thirty seconds adrift of his lifetime personal best,
which he had clocked at Stretford in 2017.
Bell finished two seconds adrift, taking the Silver Medal, and it was good to see
Morpeth Harrier Thomas Straughan coming home to take the Bronze Medal,
posting a time of 32m13.59s, after holding off the close attentions of one
of the pre-race favourites Conrad Franks of Gateshead Harriers.
Straughan was happy with his medals, despite being around twelve seconds adrift
of the lifetime best that he had achieved at Parliament Hill, in the “Night of 10,000s,” in 2016.
Another Morpeth Harrier taking part in the NECAA and Northern Athletics 10,000
was Veteran Athlete Lee Bennett, who finished in ninth place,
posting a finishing time of 34m14s, which was just over a minute outside his lifetime best.
The Women’s event was won by Elswick Harrier Catherine Lowes (42m04.67s),
who took both a NECAA and Northern Gold Medal,
second place went to Jarrow and Hebburn Veteran Heather Robinson (43m50.92s),
with club colleague Vicki Thompson taking the Bronze Medals in 47m20.45s.
Northern Medals were presented by Northern Official Malcolm Fletcher,
who had travelled up specially from Barnsley to make the night special for recipients.
Many Thanks Malcolm.