The curtain rang down on the North Eastern Counties
Track and Field season on Sunday 30th August 2015,
with the annual Tartan Games meeting,
organised by Gateshead Harriers, and
held at Gateshead’s International Stadium.
Several athletes from Morpeth Harriers & AC
were in action at the event,
and the club had five event winners,
three of them being achieved in the Field events.
.Further excellent news has arrived from Argentina
and the World Transplant Games in the form of
more medal success for Susan Tarling,
daughter of Jim Alder, and a former Morpeth Harrier.
Tarling won a Silver Medal in the pool
in the 50m Breaststroke,
then a Gold in the Triathlon.
This has made her total haul of medals to five.
She has won two Silver and Three Gold,
what a superstar, and her family and friends
are all proud of her superb achievements,
as are supporters in her former club.
Very Well Done.
Watergate 5k Trail Race
A record field of 228 finishing athletes were led home by
Morpeth Harriers very much man in top form Thomas Straughan
at the Watergate 5k Trail Race,
held at Lobley Hill, Gateshead
on Thursday 27th August 2015.
Straughan won in a time of 15m42s,
after leading all the way,
and had an eleven second cushion
over his closest rival Kevin Calvert,
also from Morpeth Harriers, at the finish line.
Third place went to former Morpeth Harrier Mark McLeod,
eldest son of the legendary Mick,
now back with Elswick Harriers,
who clocked 16m13s.
It was an excellent night for Morpeth Harriers
however in the Men’s Team event, which they won.
Under 20 athlete James Young was third counter for the club,
finishing fifteenth in 17m56s, one place and one second ahead
of his club colleague Jack Armstrong, who was first Under 17 Men’s finisher.
Straughan, Calvert, and Young were the three Morpeth team counters.
In his first race in a blue and white vest for Morpeth Harriers,
David Nicholson ran well to finish 39th in 19m25s,
and was first home in the Over 60 Veteran Men’s category.
The clubs other finisher was Archie Jenkins,
who finished 134th in 23m01s,
and was fourth Over 60 Veteran Man.
In the event which also incorporated the
North East Masters 5k Championships,
Jenkins was second in his age group,
as to be eligible, competitors were
required to have membership
of the North East Masters Athletics Association.
The North Eastern Counties Under 15 and Under 17
Track and Field squads who took part in the
Northern Athletics Championships at Witton Park,
Blackburn on Saturday 22nd August 2015,
did their Team Managers Keith Willshire, Chris Mole,
and Lianne Brown proud, when finishing a close second
to Yorkshire in the overall competition,
only losing out for victory by a mere twelve points.
Whilst the regions Male athletes won handsomely
in their two age groups, over Derbyshire and Yorkshire
respectively, the Female athletes had a bit of a bigger
fight on their hands, as they finished third and fourth
respectively to some very strong Yorkshire squads.
Morpeth Harriers and Athletic Club had two athletes
on representative duty, both of them in the
Under 15 Girls age group.
Hannah Brown competed in the B race
of the 75m Hurdles, finishing third in 12.45s.
New Marske’s Amy Carter finished
fourth in the A race in 12.08s.
Linden Homes Athlete of the Month for June
Bobbie Griffiths competed in the Shot Putt
and Discus, finishing twelfth and fifth respectively
with bests of 8.96m and 24.75m.
Keith Willshire described the end result as superb,
considering that the region were missing some
of their key athletes due to holidays, and he was
very praiseworthy of the efforts by all who turned out,
and they had all shown splendid team spirit
throughout a busy day of hectic competition.
The closeness of the end result certainly
showed the level of effort, against very strong opposition.
A hard-fought victory for Morpeth !
Durham City Harriers host two relays at the university sports ground,
and Morpeth Harriers always make their presence felt
at the Cathedral Relays in January,
but rarely at this Summer Relay.
Last year a Morpeth Womens team took part
and were narrowly beaten by a highly talented
young team from Birtley in the Senior event ;
this year it was the Men who entered the fray,
in what proved to be a momentous struggle
between the teams from Morpeth,
Durham and Tyne Bridge
throughout the three 3km legs of the race.
The course was in perfect condition for fast times,
with a level playing field covered by a fine carpet of closely-mown grass.
The evening was calm and warm as the first leg runners assembled for the start.
Straight from the gun, Tom Straughan was up with the leaders,
putting in a typically dogged and competitive performance,
gradually edging away from Marc Fenwick of Tyne Bridge,
and keeping Durham first leg athlete Dan Jenkin’s
9min00s fastest leg of the day within reach, finishing in 9min10s,
just four seconds ahead of Tyne Bridge.
Morpeth’s second leg runner, Jordan Scott, tasked with keeping Morpeth
in contention in the middle section of the race, made this no easy amble,
inexorably gaining ground on Durham’s Alex Mirley until the latter
found something more in the second of his two laps and stretched away.
At the end of this second leg Tyne Bridge, after their 9m14s from Tom Charlton,
were narrowly in the lead from Durham ,
with Morpeth only four seconds behind them,
thanks to Jordan’s 9min35s.
With the three contenders in such close order at the start of the third and final leg,
it was nip and tuck for the next 3000m , sharp acceleration being applied by Chris Smith
of Morpeth at all the pressure points of corners and the short slope that splits the two levels of the sports ground,
in an attempt to break the spirit of James Dunce of Tyne Bridge and James Askew of Durham.
With 300m to go, however, they were still together, and around the broad curve of the edge of the cricket pitch,
Dunce made his move. A moment later Askew responded, and then finally Chris changed gear and went hell for leather,
taking Durham and then Tyne Bridge, holding on desperately for the win
by just one second from Tyne Bridge, and six seconds from Durham.
Chris’s time of 9m04s was the day’s second fastest,
with Tom equal third fastest , and Jordan 13th fastest, together producing
a tremendous team performance against 42 other Senior Mens teams.
This was a great race with a spectacular finish, on an excellent course for a short relay which is also
easily accessible for spectators ~ perhaps in future there will be more teams entered from Morpeth.
Report by Chris Waugh