In her first 800m Race of the current season
at the Watford Grand Prix Meeting
on the evening of Saturday 27th June 2015,
Morpeth Harriers respective Commonwealth,
and European Silver and Bronze Medallist
Laura Weightman clocked a satisfying 2m03.59s,
when finishing fifth behind New Zealand’s Angie Petty,
who won in 2m00.62s.
Fellow International Hannah England
of Oxford City finished seventh in 2m04.61s.
At the same meeting, fellow Morpeth Harriers Lewis Timmins
and Ryan Stephenson finished 20th and 23rd in the Men’s 5000m A Race,
in respective times of 14m46.16s, and 15m18.75s.
There was a strong showing by the eight teams of Morpeth Harriers
who made the short journey down the A1 to Wideopen on Wednesday evening (24th June)
to take part in the 6th annual Weetslade Relays, hosted by Claremont Road Runners.
While the event is relatively new to the North East athletics calendar,
its unusual format, with teams of three consisting of a male, a female
and a veteran (who may be male or female),
makes it an interesting and increasingly attractive option
for club runners of all abilities,
and this was again reflected in the 97 teams who took part.
Based at Lockey Park, the headquarters of Wideopen F.C., the largely off road course consists of one complete circuit
of the Weetslade Country Park,
a distance of some 2.5 miles in total.
Morpeth’s A team of veteran Neil Wilkinson,
Emma Holt and Tom Straughan, holders from last year,
faced stiff competition once again from two times previous winners Elswick Harriers,
Jarrow and Hebburn and the ever well represented Tyne Bridge Harriers -
but also a strong Morpeth B team of Sam Hancox, veteran Vicki Gibbs and Chris Smith.
It was a young and jubilant Sam Hancox who struck the first blow
when he led home on the first leg in a time of 13 minutes and 2 seconds,
with Tyne Bridge in second place and Jarrow and Hebburn in second.
Neil Wilkinson, meanwhile, still working his way back to full race fitness this year,
brought the A team home in 14m 10s, the 5th fastest veteran male time of the night.
Everything was to change on the second leg, however,
when a very much in form Justina Heslop
of Elswick Harriers received the baton.
She simply flew round the course in a stunning time of 13m 41s
(a time better than most male competitors) and put her club,
only in seventh place after leg 1,
into what proved to be an unassailable lead.
At the end of this leg, however,
Tyne Bridge had also moved up to second place
as a result of the efforts of Alison Dargie (14m 54s),
but Morpeth B were clinging onto 3rd thanks
to a typically gutsy run by Vicki Gibbs,
whose 15m 37s was also the 3rd fastest female
veteran time of the night behind Heslop and Dargie.
Morpeth A, meanwhile, had moved steadily up the rankings on this leg,
thanks to another strong run by Emma Holt. Her time of 14m 52s
saw her clock the fastest senior female time of the night,
and the second fastest overall behind Heslop.
It was all down to the last leg, and while the first place seemed to have gone,
it was clearly going to be a very close battle for the remaining top ten places.
Overtaking the second placed Tyne Bridge Harrier,
Chris Smith anchored the B team confidently
to a runner-up spot in a time of 12m 56s,
only some 26 seconds behind a nervous Elswick Harriers (41m 9s).
On anchor for the A team, Tom Straughan had a manful battle
with Andy Burn of Jarrow and Hebburn,
who he had defeated to win last year.
This time, he couldn’t quite hold him off,
although he did have the satisfaction
of beating Smith’s time by 2 seconds,
the A team finishing 5th overall in 41m 56s.
Burn’s time of 12m 39s was awarded the fastest time of the night,
and Burn, Straughan and Smith were the only athletes to clock under 13 minutes.
Not far behind the A and B teams were Morpeth’s C team of Matthew Boyle (14m),
Jo Carruthers (15m 38s) and Tony Lewis (also 14m).
Their finishing time of 43m 38s saw them also gain a top ten finish,
a very impressive 7th in fact, with Carruthers running
the second fastest senior female time behind Holt,
and Lewis the second fastest male veteran time.
With three teams in the top ten the night was already a success,
and this was added to when the club’s D team of Rob Hancox (14m 28s),
Alison Brown (17m 2s) and Mick Thomsen (14m 14s) recorded 45m 44s
(a time ahead of that of some club’s A teams) to finish in 13th place.
When the E team of Paul Brown (15m 28s), Jane Briggs (17m 20s)
and Tim Miley (15m 10s) had finished in 29th place,
Morpeth had in fact provided five of the first thirty teams.
It was left to the club’s final three teams
to wrap up an enjoyable and productive night,
with the F team of Mick Skeldon (15m 10s), Carol Parry (19m 17s)
and Mike Winter (15m 56s) finishing in 41st place (50m 23s);
the G team of Jim Alder (16m 37s), Sue Smith (19m 38s)
and Andrew Richardson (16m 35s) 55th in 52m 50s;
and the H team of Mike Steven (16m 46s),
Charlotte Woodcock (23m 29s)
and Paul Bellingham (56sm 49s) 78th in 56m 49s.
Special mention must be made of Pam’s daughter Charlotte,
whose fund raising efforts have been detailed on these pages
and who is currently training for an Ironman Triathlon,
but who nevertheless gamely debutised at the
last minute for an unexpected drop out
and so enabled a complete team to finish.
Thanks from all at the club to her.
BMC Regional Standards Meeting
The third in the series of BMC Regional Standards Meetings was held
at Maiden Castle, near Durham City, on Monday 22nd June 2015.
Brother and Sister Kieran and Rhiannon Hedley were amongst the
Morpeth Harriers in action, and both of them superbly achieved
their second personal bests in seven days,
thus maintaining an excellent level of form respectively.
Kieran, who is probably going to be one of Northumberland’s brightest
prospects at the forthcoming English Schools Championships over 1500m,
dropped down to 800m on this occasion, and ran superbly to win the sixth
race of the night in an excellent 2m00.9s,
which shows great progress for the Mike Bateman coached athlete.
He will no doubt be a little frustrated that he didn’t drop below
the two minute barrier after coming so close, however he will
endeavour to seek to achieve this before the current track campaign closes.
Not to be outdone, Hedley’s younger sister Rhiannon, still an Under 13,
produced her second personal best performance in less than seven days,
when she won the final race of the night in 2m30.0s.
In the fastest race of the night, Morpeth Harrier Andy Wiles finished fourth in 1m55.9s.
Kevin Calvert of Morpeth Harriers clocked 2m01.2s,
when finishing sixth in the third race of the night.
Father and Son Rob and Sam Hancox of Morpeth Harriers
were also in competitive action at the meeting.
Sam finished sixth in the fifth race of the night, posting a time of 2m06.1s.
Meanwhile Rob, who was the oldest in action, clocked 2m18.9s,
when finishing sixth in the tenth race of the thirteen race programme.
Aycliffe 10k Road Race
Morpeth Harrier Nick Swinburn was a most convincing winner of the
18th Aycliffe 10k Road Race on Sunday 21st June 2015.
Leading from the gun, he soon established a healthy advantage
over his closest rival Carl Chapman of Crook AC,
winning by nearly three minutes in a time of 31m15s.
Northern Inter Counties Schools Track and Field Championships
Northumberland secured a narrow victory over Durham in the
annual Northern Inter Counties Schools Track and Field Championships,
held at a damp Gateshead International Stadium on Saturday 20th June 2015.
In doing so they were very much helped by some excellent performances
from athletes from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers, who alone managed
to muster individually 110 of the 533 total points won by the county on the day,
giving them a thirteen point marginal victory, with Cumbria,
and Cleveland back in third and fourth places respectively.
Star performers for Northumberland were Taylor Glover,
Ruaridh Lang and Bobby Griffiths.
Glover won the Junior Boys 1500m, posting new figures of 4m17.22s,
winning by just over a second from Cleveland’s
Josh Cowperthwaite of Middlesbrough AC.
He also along with Cowperthwaite clocked a time
which earned him an English Schools qualification,
which will hopefully see them both return to
Gateshead next month to battle for higher honours.
Another athlete who should be returning to Gateshead for those Championships
is Ruaridh Lang, who achieved an English National Standard, when winning
the Junior Boys Discus with a best effort of 39.47m,
which proved to be over three metres better than
his closest rival James Wheeler of Cleveland,
who also achieved entry standard.
Lang was not so lucky in the Shot however,
as he suffered a rare defeat at the hands
of Durham’s Adam Brown, only by just over
half a metre, with his best of 12.03m.
Whilst Brown achieved an entry standard,
Lang unfortunately was well adrift.
In the Female events, Morpeth Harrier Bobbie Griffiths also had a good day.
She threw a best of 33.81m in the Junior Girls Javelin, which was just inside
the entry standard for the English Schools Championships, winning by just over
a metre and a half from Cumbria’s Rachel Gallagher.
Griffiths also enjoyed a second win in the Discus, with a best of 21.33m,
which in this case was some way short of the required English Schools entry Standard,
however the fact that she has qualified for her more favoured event,
has left her more than delighted with her days achievements.
To facilitate a more competitive race, the Intermediate and Senior Boys 1500m
was run as a combined event, and Morpeth Harriers Adam Gibbs,
James Young and Kieran Hedley all ran well.
Gibbs was second in the Senior race, missing out for victory by a fraction
of a second to Cleveland’s Matthew Bailey.
Gibbs clocked a time of 4m04.03s.
Meanwhile Young and Hedley respectively clocked identical times of 4m08.57s,
which in both cases were brand new personal best performances.
For Young it gave him fourth in the Senior event, and for Hedley it gave him
third place behind Durham’s Markhim Lonsdale, with fellow
Northumbrian Max Pearson of Tynedale finishing second.
Not unexpectedly Morpeth Harrier Ryan Green, running for Durham,
won the Senior Boys 800m in 1m57.05s,
which in terms of time was someway short of his best.
Fellow Morpeth Harrier Nathan Cox finished third in this event in 1m59.47s.
Another good Boys performer was Ryan Green’s younger brother Mitch,
who finished third in the Intermediate Triple Jump, with a best of 11.56m,
which set new figures for the Northumberland youngster.
Other Morpeth Harrier and Northumberland performances in the
Boys events saw Elliot Cowie finish fourth in the Junior Boys 300m in 41.14s,
Joe Dowd finish sixth in the Junior Boys 800m in 2m10.07s, a new personal best,
and Jacob Hopkins sixth in the Intermediate Boys 800m in 2m12.14s.
The Girls events saw Ellie Burt compete well to finish third
in both the Junior Girls Shot and Hammer events with
best respective efforts of 8.83m and 21.34m.
Hannah Brown finished third in the Junior Girls 75m Hurdles in 12.48s.
Jessica Young-Rogers was fourth in the Junior Girls 100m,
equalling her best time of 13.24s.
Georgia Priest was fifth in the Intermediate Girls Shot
with a best effort of 8.47m.
In her very first ever Intermediate Girls 3000m,
Morpeth’s Abby Sheldon finished sixth in 12m09.13s.
Two Morpeth Harriers ran as guests in the
Intermediate Boys and Intermediate Girls 100m.
Declan Stoker clocked 12.09s in the Boys,
and Naomi Arkle produced 13.53s in the Girls event.
Northumberland Schools won the Milk Cup Trophy
for their efforts, taking it from previous holders Durham.
On a closing note this was the last stepping stone for athletes with aspirations
to compete in the forthcoming English Schools Championships in July.
Some are already aware that they have qualified; others on the borderline
anxiously await the views of their respective county selectors.
Isle of Skye Half Marathon
Four days after competing in the annual Blaydon Race,
Morpeth Harriers globetrotting distance specialist Andrew Lawrence
was battling almost hurricane like conditions to bravely finish second
in the annual Isle of Skye Half Marathon.
Despite the conditions, he still produced a healthy time of 75m42s,
which was just over two minutes adrift of race-winner Bryan Mackie of Edinburgh AC.
Start Fitness North East Grand Prix (3)
The main event at the third Start Fitness North East Grand Prix meeting
held at Gateshead International Stadium on Wednesday 17th June 2015,
the Stan Long Mile, saw Morpeth Harriers Nathan Cox and Ross Floyd
finish in third and fourth places respectively.
Cox was first from the Under 20 Men’s section, clocking a time of 4m34.6s,
and Floyd was third Senior Man, posting a time of 4m39.0s.
In his first ever 200m race, Joe Elder finished second in his heat,
and his time of 24.5s was fourth from his Under 20 age group.
Daniel Moore maintained his excellent sprint form by slightly bettering
his Northern Championship time from the previous Saturday,
when he finished second in the Senior 100m.
Slightly later he followed it up by a good run in the 200m,
where he finished as second fastest in 23.5s.
Also competing from Morpeth Harriers in the 100m was Veteran Wayne Gedge,
who clocked 12.8s, which placed him as eighth fastest Senior Man.
Holly Peck produced another superb run in the Under 13 Girls 1500m,
which she won in a slightly slower time than her North Eastern Championship run,
when she clocked 5m11.9s.
The run of the night by a Morpeth Harrier in this event was undoubtedly
the one by Rhiannon Hedley, who was third fastest in 5m15.7s,
knocking a whole six seconds off her previous best.
Lily Heaton was the other Morpeth Harrier in action in this event,
and she finished sixth in 5m32.4s.
The busiest Morpeth Harrier on the night was undoubtedly Ross Charlton,
who competed in no less than three events, two of them on the track.
He clocked a new personal best of 14.0s in the Under 15 Boys 100m,
which gave him the fifth fastest in his age group.
Ross then ran the eighth fastest time in the 1500m, where he clocked 4m54.7s.
He then turned his hand to Long Jump,
where he finished fifth, producing a best effort of 3.98m.
Other Morpeth Harriers competing in the Under 15 Boys events were
Joe Dowd, Connor Marshall, and Matthew Waterfield.
Dowd finished fourth fastest in the 1500m with his time of 4m44.3s,
and Marshall’s clocking of 4m51.6s gave him seventh fastest,
whilst Waterfield’s 5m02.8s gave him tenth fastest.
Adam Shewry clocked 5m23.2s in his first ever Mile race,
which saw him finish third in the Under 17 Men’s age group.
Morpeth’s Abby Sheldon clocked 6m00.2s
as the only Under 17 Woman in the Mile events.
In her very first run in the league, Morpeth Harrier newcomer Ellie Coxon
performed well in the Under 15 Girls 1500m, where she was seventh fastest in 5m41.2s.
Morpeth Harriers only Field Event athlete in action was young Daniel Dowd,
who continued to progress by throwing 21.36m in the Under 13 Boys Javelin,
which saw him finish fourth in his age group.
Northumberland Schools Track and Field Championships
Whilst temperatures had cooled somewhat, there was still a depth of warmth in athletes
performances at the annual Northumberland Schools Track and Field Championships,
held at Gateshead International Stadium on Saturday 13th June 2015.
Amongst those athletes were several from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers,
who not only achieved wins in their respective events,
in some cases they produced excellent championship bests.
Notable amongst these were Junior Throwers Ruaridh Lang (Boys),
and Bobbie Griffiths (Girls), who were East Northumberland representatives,
who respectively each achieved championship bests of the highest order.
These two athletes have been in exceptional form of late, and they certainly
continued in this vein as they both achieved two event victories.
Lang’s best of all came in the Discus, which he very comfortably won by
producing a championship best of 41.36m,
which was just over eight metres clear of his closest rival,
was just under five metres ahead of the event best,
and more importantly was well inside the English Schools standard,
which will see him clearly through to those championships,
which take place at the same venue next month.
He also looks set to compete in the Shot competition,
following a victory with a best of 11.32m, which although was still just over
two metres short of the event best, was still inside the English Schools standard,
which will probably see him double up, for what could be one of the county’s
biggest prospects for a double haul of National medals.
Griffiths for her part also looks to be a good candidate for National medal prospects.
She won the Junior Girls Javelin by producing an excellent 35.62m,
which was just over a metre and a half inside the championship best,
but was also two and a half metres inside the English Schools standard.
Griffiths also had an impressive victory in the Discus with her best effort of 22.04m.
Apart from Lang and Griffiths,
other Morpeth Harriers also managed nine individual victories on the day.
Ellie Burt was another who achieved two respective wins
in the Junior Girls Shot (9.56m), and Hammer (20.10m),
although in the latter, the East Northumberland athlete was starved of opposition.
Taylor Glover produced an excellent win in the Junior Boys 1500m in 4m24.63s.
Elsewhere in the Junior Boys track events,
Joe Dowd finished second in the 800m in 2m08.75s,
and Elliot Cowie finished third in the 300m in 41.37s.
Jacob Hopkins enjoyed his first individual track victory for some time,
when he won the Intermediate Boys 800m in a time of 2m06.80s.
Behind him in third place was his Morpeth Harriers club-mate Josh Burton,
who was also representing East Northumberland, and clocked 2m09.94s,
something he would not have even dreamed of three weeks previously,
as he nursed a painful and restricting injury.
Another excellent Intermediate Boys winner was Scott Beattie,
who won the 3000m in 9m09.21s, representing North Tyneside.
Kieran Hedley produced a superb performance when finishing a close second
to Tynedale’s Max Pearson in the Intermediate Boys 1500m,
setting brand new figures of 4m14.75s.
In the Intermediate Boys Field events, Mitch Green did well when finishing
second in the Triple Jump, with his best effort of 11.49m.
Green also competed in the Javelin, where he was fourth with his best effort of 30.78m.
Gregor Sharp had two third places in the
Intermediate Boys Discus and Hammer,
with respective efforts of 31.90m and 23.10m
In the Discus he finished just ahead of his
Morpeth Harriers club-mate Elliot Moore (31.59m).
Moore also finished fourth in the Shot with his best of 10.41m.
The Senior Boys events saw two excellent respective wins
for Morpeth Harriers Nathan Cox and Adam Gibbs.
Cox, representing North Northumberland won the 800m in 1m58.82s,
and Gibbs representing North Tyneside won the 1500m in 4m02.17s.
Second place in the 1500m, went to fellow Morpeth Harrier
James Young of East Northumberland, who clocked 4m15.91s.
Two excellent track performers from Morpeth Harriers in the Junior Girls events
were Hannah Brown, and Jessica Young-Rogers.
Brown won the Junior Girls 75m Hurdles in 11.9s
after winning her earlier heat in 12.1s
Young-Rogers enjoyed a victory in the 100m in 13.0s,
after also winning her heat in 13.1.
She was close to making it a double victory in the 200m;
however found 27.63s a mere second adrift, when finishing third.
It was indeed an excellent day for Jessica, when she also placed
third in the High Jump with her clearance of 1.40m.
After finishing second in her heat of the Intermediate Girls 100m,
East Northumberland’s Naomi Arkle of Morpeth Harriers
finished third in the later run final in 13.42s.
Another third in the Intermediate Girls events was Abby Sheldon,
who produced a best of 22.75m in the Javelin.
Georgia Priest finished second in the Intermediate Girls Shot,
with her best Putt of 9.66m.
Other Morpeth Harrier performances in the
Northumberland Schools Track and Field Championships
not already mentioned were as follows
300m Matthew Waterfield (East) (4th) 41.64s,
800m Matthew Waterfield (East) (9th) 2m18.78s,
1500m Connor Marshall (East) (8th) 4m48.53s),
Alex Cunningham (East) (11th) 5m00.14s.
100m Declan Stoker (East) (4th) 12.04s,
Mitch Green (East) (5th) 12.14s,
400m Will Kelly (North Tyne) (6th) 56.39s,
800m Jamie Duguid (East) (6th) 2m20.29s,
1500m Cameron Kirk (Ncle) (7th) 5m02.18s,
3000m Adam Shewry (East) (4th) 9m59.80s.
800m Ailsa Jones (East) (9th) 2m38.35s,
1500m Kate Seymour (East) (7th) 5m40.16s,
75m Hurdles Harriet Priest (East) (6th) 13.17s,
High Jump Harriet Priest (East) (5th) 1.35m,
Long Jump Ailsa Jones (East) (6th) 4.17m,
Shot Lottie Hume (North Nland) (5th) 8.59m,
Discus Lottie Hume (North Nland) (4th) 19.63m.
1500m Abby Sheldon (North Nland) (5th) 5m22.97s,
1500m Lizzie Rank (East) (7th) 5m55.59s.
A pair of spikes size - 6 ½ white with blue trim on one shoe
and bright orange on the other has gone missing from
the pavilion changing rooms at the track,
if you find these spikes please pass them on to Eddie Hedley.
Athletes are reminded that we do not have control over the
security of these changing rooms during the school day
and any property left there is at the athletes own risk.