In the end Morpeth Harriers comfortably retained their title at the Weetslade Relays on Wednesday 21st June 2017,
although for much of the race they had to go head to head with local outfit Gosforth Harriers.
While the promised thunderstorms thankfully never materialising, it was still a close
and muggy night for the 100 plus teams that gathered at Lockey Park, Wideopen
for the 8th annual running of the event in which runners complete a circuit of the park
before heading out to the nature reserve and a short, sharp ascent of the old spoil heap on a 2.5 mile loop.
The unique nature of this event, however, derives from the composition of the teams of three,
the rules only requiring each team to include male, female and veteran runners in any permutation or running order.
Once again, Morpeth were fortunate to be able to draw on the services of two of last year’s winning team,
Tom Straughan and Emma Holt, but with veteran Chris Smith absent on paternity leave,
Ian Harding was able to come in as more than adequate replacement.
It was clear from the off that a determined Straughan meant business as he took the lead
at the front of a small group that quickly established itself and included both
ex-Morpeth Harrier Lewis Timmins, now with Gosforth, and club colleague Karl Taylor.
At the end of the leg, Straughan and Timmins were still locked together, Timmins (12 minutes 49seconds)
only managing to get away from Straughan (12m50s) in the run-in with Taylor a strong third place in 13m22s.
On second leg, Morpeth’s Emma Holt had soon overtaken her Gosforth rival, Helen Warburton,
as the leading runners headed around the pitch, but, much like Timmins,
her younger rival Warburton sat in and, with Holt no doubt feeling the previous
weekend’s fell race at Windy Ghyll in her legs (in which she had been the first female competitor home),
Warburton was able to steal a few yards on the run-in to the final changeover.
Warburton would in fact be credited with the fastest female leg of the day (14.57) with Holt only one second behind.
It was all down to the final leg, and Morpeth were fortunate to have an in-form and experienced competitor in Ian Harding to run it. Harding had already taken over ten yards out of his Gosforth rival as the runners disappeared out of sight, and when he reappeared some 13 minutes later, he had taken nearly two minutes out of Gosforth’s Darren McBain. On completion, Harding’s time was comfortably the fastest veteran run of the night and also the fourth fastest overall. Morpeth’s winning time was 40 minutes and 48 seconds with Gosforth second in 42m 37s.
Meanwhile Morpeth’s B team were also having a very successful night, with veteran Jane Hodgson, on her first outing over the course, finding it strongly to her liking and recording the fastest female veteran time of the night (15m10s) when putting the team into an unassailable third place at the end of leg 2. It was down to Tony Lewis to anchor the team home, and despite a lot of miles in his legs from ultra-run preparation and cycling,
Lewis recorded a time of 14m 27s, the second fastest male veteran time of the night,
as the team finished an excellent third in 42m 59s.
Behind these two teams, there were a host of strong performances from a range
of both younger and more experienced male and female runners.
Richard Castledine, in his first outing in a relay, ran well for the C team in a time of 14m 38s,
and with Gemma Floyd recording the second fastest female veteran time of the night (15m 30s)
and Paul Waterston on last leg (15m 29s), the three secured a highly respectable 8th place,
ahead of the A and B teams of most other clubs.
There was further success a little further down the field, with the D team of Phil Walker (15m 12s),
now starting to get back to something like his competitive best,
Helen King (17m 20s) and youngster Dean Lonsdale (15m 5s) finishing in 47m 37s in 15th place.
Like Castledine, this was Lonsdale’s first competitive outing in a relay and he certainly
looked fresh and full of running at the end.
With four teams home in the first fifteen, the night was certainly shaping up to be one of the strongest club performances at the event, and this was backed up by the runs of the E team of Gary Hall,
Jane Kirby and Mike Winter (38th in 51m 49s) and the final team of Dave Nicholson,
Clare Hiscox and Paul Bellingham, ( 60th in 54m 56s), with Hall,
Kirby, Hiscox and Nicholson all competing in the event for the first time.
In total, some 103 teams took part from over 20 local clubs.
Fastest time of the night went to Finn Brodie of Tyne Bridge (12m 42s),
but in truth it was too late to make any impression on the leading three.
Morpeth’s third win at the relatively new event means they now go equal on victories with Elswick Harriers.
Report & Photos by
Thankfully the threatened thunderstorms stayed away for athletes
competing at the third meeting in the 2017 series of North East Grand Prix events,
held at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, on the evening of Wednesday 21st June 2017.
Nineteen athletes from Morpeth Harriers & AC were amongst those in action,
and four individual personal bests were achieved,
on what turned out to be a night of near excellent conditions.
One of those personal bests was that of James Young,
who finished second to Middlesbrough and Cleveland’s Greg Jayasuriya
in the Stan Long Mile in 4m19.5s, just missing out by three seconds for victory,
and a trophy, presented in memory of the legendary Gateshead Coach,
who was mentor to Brendan Foster, during his long and illustrious career.
Five seconds behind Young and posting a time of 4m24.8s,
was Young’s Morpeth club colleague Joe Armstrong, who was the 2016 winner,
however on this occasion had to be content with fifth place.
Running the mile distance for the first time ever, Morpeth pair Alistair Douglass and Carl Avery,
finished eighth and ninth, with respective clocking’s of 4m28.8s and 4m30.5s.
Another Morpeth athlete competing for the first time over the mile distance
was Under 17 Man Ross Charlton, who ran well to finish third in the B race, posting a time of 4m51.0s.
Completing the list of Morpeth milers was Over 55 Veteran Man Neil McAnany,
who was tenth in the B race in 5m22.0s.
Two personal best performances were achieved by Morpeth’s Alfie Ward on the night.
In the 80m Hurdles, the Under 15 Boy finished third in 14.3s,
ahead of fellow Morpeth Harrier Dylan Gooding, who clocked 17.1s.
Ward also achieved a new personal best in the 100m, when finishing fifth in 14.1s.
He also finished fourth in his age group in the Long Jump, with a best effort of 4.29m.
Morpeth Harriers youngest competing athlete on the night Ryan Davies,
also achieved a new personal best of 5m28.4s, when finishing sixth in the Under 13 Boys 1500m,
taking a good fourteen seconds off his previous figures.
The Graded 100m contests attracted a total of a total of twenty-six athletes,
including eight from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers.
Four of the eight competed in the A race, with Sean O’Hara coming out on top, winning in 11.4s.
Behind him were club colleagues David Storey, Kenny Harrison, and Jake Jardine,
who finished third, fourth and fifth, with respective clocking’s of 11.7s each.
In the B race Morpeth’s David Thomas finished seventh in 12.7s.
Kirsty Lang finished sixth in the D race in 14.7s, and in the E race,
her Morpeth club colleagues Natasha Hart and Lynsey Cunningham f
inished second and third, both clocking 14.6s.
Morpeth throwers Andrew Knight and Bobbie Griffiths were both in winning form on the night.
Under 17 Man Knight, was the best overall competitor in the Shot Putt,
winning by a margin of 64cm from Female Senior Sophie Littlemore,
with his best on the day effort of 13.84m, however in his own age group,
he won by a clear margin of 1.60m from Gateshead Harrier Joe Halpin.
Griffith’s who finished fifth overall in the competition, with a best of 10.09m,
was 54cm clear winner of the Under 17 Women’s section, over Darlington’s Jasmine Sharp.
In the Graded Javelin, Griffiths was a clear winner of the overall competition,
with her best throw of 41.57m, which gave her a very clear margin win of 11.55m
in the Under 17 Women’s section over her closest rival, who once again was Darlington’s Jasmine Sharp.
Morpeth’s other Field Eventer in action was David Thomas,
who finished as third Under 20 Man in the Graded Long Jump, with his best effort of 5.53m.
The annual Northern Schools Inter Counties Track and Field Championships,
held at Wentworth Stadium, Hexham on Saturday 17th June 2017,
saw athletes competing in possibly what were the hottest conditions of the summer so far.
This was the very final stepping stone for aspiring talents, hoping to make the team buses
for Cleveland, Cumbria, Durham, and Northumberland at the forthcoming
English Schools Championships, scheduled to be held in Birmingham on Friday 7th, and Saturday 8th July.
Amongst the Northumberland contingency were several athletes from Morpeth Harriers,
who were also event winners, and a few personal best performances that were achieved,
which were small, mainly due to the prevailing testing dry and relatively humid conditions.
One of the top club performers on the day was Matthew Waterfield,
who won the Intermediate Boys 400m for Northumberland,
posting a new personal best time of 50.10s.
Another top performer was Rhiannon Hedley, who running as a Guest in the Junior Girls 800m,
posted the third fastest overall time of 2m22.44s, which was a new personal best.
Apart from Waterfield, Morpeth Harriers & AC athletes managed another seven on the day victories,
one more coming from the track, with six coming from the field.
North Eastern Under 17 Men’s 3000m Champion Rory Leonard was the other track winner,
taking the Intermediate Boy’s tile over the same distance, posting a time of 9m07.04s.
In the Intermediate Girls Javelin, Bobbie Griffiths yet again improved on her lifetime best,
when she threw an excellent 43.62m for victory.
Griffiths also finished third in the Hammer, throwing an on the day best of 34.25m.
Other Morpeth throwers in superb winning form were Intermediate Boys Ruaridh Lang and Andrew Knight,
who both took respective victories in the Discus and Shot Putt events,
with efforts of 48.21m and 14.43m, the former representing a new personal best.
Morpeth’s Charlotte Pickering-Pruvot, finished second in both the Intermediate Girls Discus,
and Shot Putt events, with efforts of 29.96m and 11.24m, the latter representing
a new personal best for the weight used.
Another Morpeth Discus winner, came in the Junior Girls,
where Jessica Gardner hurled a best of 26.17m,
which bettered her previous performance by slightly over six metres.
Ethan Stephenson was a Morpeth double winner in the Junior Boys Triple Jump and High Jump events.
In the former, he produced a best of 11.95m, which was his very first attempt at the event,
in the latter he cleared 1.74m, which was a marginal personal best performance.
Another Morpeth Harrier in action in the Junior Boys Triple Jump was Matthew Heslop,
who finished second with a best of 11.40m, again being a first timer in the event.
In the Senior Boys 1500m, a jaded Kieran Hedley finished second in 4m25.14s,
and in the Intermediate Boys event over the distance, Morpeth club colleagues
Taylor Glover and Joe Ramshaw finished second and third respectively in 4m06.80s and 4m11.04s.
Holly Peck finished third in the Junior Girls 1500m, posting a finishing time of 4m53.01s.
Finishing the Morpeth performances, Junior Girl Amy Lott finished second in the 75m Hurdles,
posting a time of 12.23s, which was a new personal best.
A few days after this event, Northumberland Schools eventually announced the twenty-six athletes that have been selected for their squad which will travel to Birmingham for the English Schools Championships,
although they have stated that some athletes may be selected as non-travelling reserves,
however should they be selected to travel, they will be duly informed.
Ten athletes from Morpeth Harriers are amongst the selections, they are as follows:
Taylor Glover, Andrew Knight, Ruaridh Lang, Rory Leonard, and Matthew Waterfield.
Scott Beattie, and Kieran Hedley.
Bobbie Griffiths, and Jessica Young-Rogers.
The third and penultimate meeting in the 2017 series
of BMC Regional Races, was held at the Riverside Track,
Chester Le Street, on the evening of Monday 19th June 2017.
Eight athletes from Morpeth Harriers were amongst the many in action, and three managed new personal bests over the 800m distance.
Having her first outing over the two - lap distance this year,
Laura Weightman clocked 2m02.67s, which was only
a fraction outside her lifetime best,
which was achieved on 9th June 2012 at Watford, in her pre-London Olympics build up,
when she had finished fourth in a tough and talented event,
that included fellow Internationals Jessica Judd, and Lynsey Sharp.
On this occasion, however Weightman finished second in a
talent filled fifth fastest mixed gender event,
just outsprinted into first place by promising Under 17 local talent
Jonathan Langley, of Chester Le Street.
Four seconds and six places adrift of Weightman was an old adversary Stacey Smith,
formerly with Tynedale, currently making a competitive comeback wearing the colours of Gateshead Harriers.
No doubt Weightman will be well pleased with this outing,
as she continues her build up towards the World trials,
and hopefully a place in the World Championships, in London in August.
In the third fastest race of the night, Morpeth’s Under 17 Man Joe Ramshaw,
clocked new figures of 1m59.60s, getting under the two-minute barrier for the first time,
as he finished a very close fourth behind fellow Under 17’s James Martin (Jarrow & Hebburn),
Sam Tyers (Middlesbrough Mandale), and Josh Fiddaman (Blyth RC).
Fellow Morpeth Harrier Jordan Scott finished seventh in 2m04.26s.
Two further personal best performances by athletes from Morpeth Harriers
were achieved on the night, courtesy of Ross Charlton and Holly Peck.
Under 17 Man Charlton, had an excellent victory in the seventh
fastest mixed race, posting new figures of 2m09.65s.
In the twelfth fastest event, Under 15 Girl Peck posted new figures of 2m20.60s,
when finishing a close second to fellow Under 15 William Fowler of Jarrow and Hebburn.
She did however finish ahead of fellow Under 15 Girls Nicole Phillips
and Anna Piggford of Houghton, and Darlington’s Under 17 Ellie Phillips.
In the eleventh fastest mixed race, Morpeth’s Rhiannon Hedley
was just adrift of her personal best performance,
as she finished very closely behind fellow Under 15 Girls Lydia James of Houghton,
and Emily Chong of Chester Le Street, as she posted a time of 2m23.07s.
Older brother Kieran posted 2m01.06s in the second fastest event of the night,
and rounding up the Morpeth Harriers performances in the fastest race of the night
was Under 23 athlete Joe Armstrong, who posted a time of 2m00.74s.
The fourth and final meeting of North East Regional BMC events,
will take place at Chester Le Street on Monday 3rd July 2017, with races over 1500m.
Five Veteran athletes from Morpeth Harriers took part in the annual North-East Masters Track and Field Championships, held at a hot and sunny Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, on Saturday 17th June 2017.
All five of them featured amongst the medallists in the respective age categories.
Throws specialist Steven Appleby was the most successful,
taking two Gold medals in the Over 40 Men’s events.
He won the Discus with a best throw of 32.18m, and the Shot Putt with 8.89m.
The most medals on the day, four in all, however went to Wayne Gedge,
who took Silver behind Appleby in the Discus, throwing a best of 18.49m,
also taking Silver in the 100m, clocking 13.5s, he took another Silver in the Triple Jump with8.73m,
with his crowning moment coming when he took Gold in the Long Jump with a best of 4.47m.
Morpeth’s third Gold medallist was Over 70 athlete Paul Bentley,
who won the 3000m in 13m55.3s.
Over 60 Veteran David Nicholson took two medals in his age group.
He won Silver in the Men’s 1500m, clocking 5m20.1s,
and Bronze in the 800m with a time of 2m40.5s.
Seasoned Veteran and respected Official Archie Jenkins won himself three medals on the day,
taking Silver in the Over 65 800m in 3m17.7s, plus a Bronze in the 1500m (6m29.1s),
and a further Bronze in the Shot Putt, with a best of 8.89m.