Having qualified at the Ben Lomond Hill Race in early May, Morpeth Harrier Cat Macdonald lined up to make her debut to represent Scotland in the Hill Running Senior Home International, which incorporated the GB up and down trial for the European championships, in Alva in the Central Lowlands on Sunday.
Sunday's event, organised by UK Athletics, incorporated the Senior Home International with teams from all the Home Nations represented. Organised on a course over 18km with around 1000m of ascent over the rolling Ochils, the Women’s race was won by Scout Adkin (13th overall, representing Scotland) in a time of 1hr 25min with Shildon athlete Kate Avery 2nd in 1:29 and 19th overall and Edinburgh University athlete Holly Page 3rd and 20th overall in 1:31.
Macdonald finished 27th overall and 9th female, and was the third counter for the Scotland team in a time of 1:36. Her selection followed a highly successful cross-country season and the win at the classic Ben Lomond Hill Race a fortnight ago.
England won with Scotland in 2nd place and Northern Ireland in 3rd. Team Manager Angela Mudge said before the race that the rolling nature of the course would almost certainly suit Catriona's running style.
She also ran the Uphill Only race two days earlier on Friday evening at Ben Lomond in typically west coast wet and murky conditions.
Nick Swinburn, running for Northumberland Fell Runners, also ran both events and finished 12th overall on Sunday finishing in a time of 1:25.
One week after he was winning a Silver medal in the Under 20 Men’s 5000m at the NECAA Track and Field Championships at Middlesbrough Sports Village, Morpeth Harrier Matthew Walton was adding another Championship Medal to his collection.
He took the Bronze behind Senior athlete Greg Jayasuriya of Middlesbrough and Cleveland (32m17.9s), and fellow Under 20 Sunderland Harrier Adam Hughes (33m10.6s), in the NECAA 10,000m Championship, held at Chester Le Street’s Riverside Stadium on Saturday.
It was Walton’s first ever attempt at the 25-lap event, and he posted a time of 33m12.6s, only losing out on Silver to Hughes by two seconds.
Twenty-two athletes from Morpeth Harriers & AC took part in the second NEGP Meeting, held at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow on Wednesday 18 May.
The main event of the evening was the opening 800m, which was contested for the Jimmy Hedley Cup. It was retained for the second year in succession by Birtley AC’s Under 20 Man Chris Perkins, who secured himself an excellent marginal victory over North Shields Poly’s Zak Old in the hectic chase to the line.
Just over a couple of seconds adrift of the front runners was Morpeth Senior Man Alex Brown, who placed fourth in 1m56.49s, which showed an eight-second improvement on previous figures.
Another excellent Morpeth Harrier performer was William De Vere Owen, who finished seventh in 1m59.56s, which was also a new personal best for the Under 17 athlete, taking three seconds off his previous best.
Two places behind William was his Under 20 Morpeth club colleague Joe Anderson, who posted a new personal best of 2m00.62s, taking two seconds off his previous figures.
In the second fastest 800m event, Morpeth Harriers had three athletes in the line-up of twelve.
Connor Marshall finished second to Gosforth Harrier Reece Slater, losing out for victory by just over a second.
Marshall improved on his previous best by three seconds, as he clocked 2m00.98s.
Under 17 athlete Joseph Close, also achieved a new personal best, when finishing sixth in 2m02.86s, improving on previous figures by two seconds.
Morpeth’s James Tilley had his first ever 800m event, when finishing one place behind Close, posting an excellent time of 2m05.79s.
In the third fastest 800m race, Morpeth Veteran Jason Dawson finished sixth in a time of 2m17.34s.
Under 17 Woman Caitlin Flanagan finished fourth in the fifth fastest 800m, posting a new personal best time of 2m25.69s, improving her previous figures by two seconds.
Under 15 Boy athlete Harry Armstrong marked his first Grand Prix outing excellently, by finishing fifth in the seventh fastest 800m heat in 2m31.04s.
Rounding off the Morpeth 800m performances was that of Under 15 Girl Molly Roche, who produced probably her finest track performance in the club colours, when finishing third in the eighth race in 2m42.01s, an improvement of four seconds, and Sophie Pledger-Heywood, who finished ninth in the same race in 2m58.62s.
The fastest 3000m event, attracted a total field of fourteen runners, which included six from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers.
Josh Blevins of Gateshead, who had won the Under 20 Men’s 5000m, and finished third in the 1500m at the previous weekends North Eastern Championships at Middlesbrough, won in a close finish from Walton AC’s Alex Kilby, and Gala’s Darrell Hastie, posting a time of 8m42.42s, with Morpeth Harrier Sam Hancox placing fourth in 8m45.03s.
Fellow Morpeth Harriers Kieran Reay, Tom Innes, Bertie Marr, Oliver Calvert, and Oliver Tomlinson finished seventh, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and fourteenth, posting respective times of 8m49.40s, 8m51.02s, 9m19.57s, 9m19.70s, and 10m03.34s.
Innes got the best personal best of the evening, taking off a mammoth sixty-nine seconds from previous figures, and Calvert and Tomlinson were tackling the distance on the track for the first occasion.
In the second of three 3000m heats, Morpeth Under 20 Woman Millie Breese finished ninth in 10m26.00s, finishing third fastest in her age group to North Shields Poly’s Holly Waugh.
Morpeth’s Tabitha Robson finished fourth in the third heat, posting a time of 11m27.53s.
The club's only event winner on the night was Under 17 specialist thrower Edward Gardiner, who convincingly won the Discus, by producing a throw of 41.34m, adding another 87cms to his personal best.
Morpeth Harriers had three athletes in action in the 200m events.
North East Under 15 Boy 300m Champion Conner Phillips, finished sixth in his heat of the 200m in 25.56s.
Under 20 Woman Mia Belton finished sixth in her heat of the 200m, posting a time of 27.39s.
Under 13 Girl Sophie Pledger-Heywood was fifth in her 200m, in a time of 31.79s.
Twenty-four athletes were in action for Morpeth Harriers & AC at the annual NECAA Track and Field Championships, held at Middlesbrough Sports Village on 14 and 15 May.
Although the club were represented in every age group, apart from some of the older sections, there were sparse turnouts across the board disappointingly.
Nevertheless, Morpeth managed a total return of sixteen championship medals, eight being Gold, with four respectively being Silver and Bronze.
Weather conditions were fine over the two days, however there was an evident headwind factor on day one, which did hinder some sprinters and throwers ambitions.
Apart from the well-achieved medals, a sizeable number of personal best performances were recorded.
One of the most exciting finishes of the weekend on the track, came on Sunday, in the Under 17 Men’s 800m Final, where three Morpeth Harriers were amongst the line-up.
Joseph Close and Will DeVere-Owen each won their respective heats in 2m10.12s, and 2m11.96s, and ran well in the later run, where Will took the Gold Medal in a last-ditch sprint finish with Billingham’s Fraser Allan, to win by a slender margin in a personal best time of 2m02.47s.
Meanwhile Joseph secured the Bronze medal, by just outsprinting Elswick’s Elliot Kelso, who has just joined Morpeth for training purposes, under the guidance of coach Mike Bateman.
Close also ran a new personal best of 2m04.51s, having also ran a personal best of 4m16.76s in the previous days 1500m, where he had just lost out on a Bronze medal behind club colleague Bertie Marr.
Marr secured the Bronze medal in a season’s best performance of 4m13.06s.
Morpeth’s other finalist in the Under 17 Men’s 800m was Elliot Mavir, who secured his place in the Final by placing fourth behind Close in a personal best time of 2m17.92s.
In the Final, Mavir finished seventh of eighth, in 2m19.22s.
Morpeth Harriers other medallist in the Under 17 Men’s age group, who represented the clubs largest entry over the two day’s, was Edward Gardiner, who on this occasion, gave his sole attention to Saturday’s Discus competition, which he won by nearly eight metres from his closest rival Ryan Cook of Gateshead Harriers, when he threw an excellent personal best of 40.44metres, thus adding another metre onto his previous achievement.
All of Morpeth Harriers three competing Senior Men, were rewarded with Championship Medals, two of them Gold, and one of them Bronze.
Alistair Douglass successfully front ran his 800m, to take the Gold Medal by a five second margin from Houghton’s Lee Dover, posting a finishing time of 2m00.17s.
Phil Winkler of Morpeth won the 5000m, posting a time of 15m30.39s, winning by nine seconds from a previous Championship winner Greg Jayasuriya of Middlesbrough and Cleveland.
Morpeth’s Connor Marshall took the Bronze medal in the previous day’s 1500m, posting a marginal personal best of 4m05.37s, behind winner Harry Allan of New Marske Harriers (4m01.47s), and Jayasuriya (4m02.56s).
The clubs sole Senior Woman in action was Veteran Nisha Desai, who excellently achieved a one hundred percent return from her efforts, when she won Gold in her 800m Final on day one in 2m14.83s, and returned to the track on Sunday, to add another Gold Medal in the 400m, posting a time of 59.17s.
Her watching Mother Vina could also take special delight in seeing another of her charges Charlotte Earl of Morpeth, clinch Gold in the Under 20 Women’s Triple Jump, where her best effort was 10.94m.
Maisie French of North Shields Poly took the Silver medal with a best of 9.85m.
Matthew Walton of Morpeth posted a time of 16m00.44s, when taking the Silver Medal in the Under 20 Men’s 5000m, behind Gateshead Harriers Gold Medallist Josh Blevins (15m30.29s).
James Tilley of Morpeth was fourth in 16m24.13s, which was a personal best performance.
Morpeth Under 17 Woman Freya Caygill, produced a season’s best time of 26.69s, when taking the Bronze Medal in Saturday’s 200m Final, behind Hartlepool’s Lily Mae Watson (26.10s), and second placed Lily Bradley of North Shields Poly (26.22s).
Caygill returned to the Track on Sunday to compete in the 100m, where she finished fourth in her heat in 13.21s, however as a result of sustaining a slight injury, was forced to miss her later run Final after gaining qualification.
After winning her 300m Heat in 44.75s, Morpeth’s Under 15 Girl, Amelia Hamlin, produced a marginally better 43.91s, to gain a Silver Medal in the later run Final, only a mere fraction behind Blyth’s Senna Gorvett (43.60s).
Another Morpeth Under 15 Girl Medallist was Alexandria Hodgson, who won Silver in the Hammer with 19.47m.
Hodgson also competed in the following days Javelin, finishing sixth with a personal best throw of 20.57m.
Under 15 Boy Conner Phillips of Morpeth, crowned his first day of activity, by taking an excellent Gold Medal in the 300m, posting a personal best time of 39.88s, winning by over one second from Darlington’s Thomas Hill.
He returned on the Sunday to try to add more Silverware to his tally in the 200m and did exceptionally well to finish second in his heat in a new personal best of 25.42s.
Despite producing a slightly better 24.97s in the later run Final, he was just run out of the medals.
Oliver Tomlinson won the Silver Medal in the Under 15 Boys 1500m, following a superb battle for supremacy with eventual winner Jacob Brown of Middlesbrough AC.
Tomlinson posted a new personal best time of 4m32.67s.
Morpeth Under 20 sprinter Evan Logan finished fourth in his 200m event on Sunday, posting a time of 23.23s.
On Saturday, he got through to the Final of the 100m, when finishing fourth in his heat in 11.47s.
His later run Final was tough, as he finished eighth in 11.52s.
Under 20 Woman sprinter Mia Belton of Morpeth was unlucky not to medal in her 100m and 200m events.
She equalled her personal best of 26.99s in the 200m on Saturday which gave her fifth place.
On Sunday she finished fourth in the 100m Final in 13.17s.
In a closely fought Under 17 Women’s 300m Final, Morpeth’s Victoria Hodgson, older sister of Alexandria, finished fifth in 44.68s, with winner Leoni Pye securing her Gold Medal in 43.41s.
A very strong field took part in the Under 20 Men’s 1500m Final, including Morpeth’s Joe Anderson, who placed ninth of thirteen, posting a time of 4m07.00s.
Morpeth’s Emma Tomlinson, younger sister of Oliver, finished ninth in the Under 13 Girls in 5m57.45s, despite having been unwell in the days leading up to her competition, which her first in a NECAA Track and Field Championships.
Also having first tastes of a NECAA Track and Field Championships were another Morpeth Brother and Sister pairing, Thomas, and Molly Roche.
Thomas finished eighth in the Under 13 Boys 800m Final in 3m03.60s, and Under 15 Girl Molly, was eleventh in 5m37.73s.
The club's Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday June 7 at Morpeth Conservative Club at 8pm.
Due to the pandemic, this will be our first AGM since 2020. Items on the agenda will include:
- Team management (Young Athlete/Senior)
- Club facilities
- Event organisation
To ensure the club's continued success it is critical that support is provided in these and other areas. Any formal items for discussion should be sent to the chair by June 1.
All members are encouraged to attend. Please note, you do not need to be a Conservative Club member to attend! The club has been offered free use of the facility on the night with the rugby club being unavailable. Nearest parking behind St James's Church.