Some excellent performances, particularly from two of their squads,
saw Morpeth Harriers and Athletics Club emerge as the regions sole
medallists at the Northern Athletics 6 and 4 Stage,
and Young Athletes Road Relays, held at a very warm
and sunny Stanley Park, Blackpool, on Saturday 19th September 2015.
Morpeth Team Manager David Swinburne was in high spirits
after his particular squad’s performance
whose army of Senior Men ended up winning Bronze medals
behind Derby AC and Liverpool Harriers.
Whilst Derby AC had led for five of the six legs, Morpeth had a long running battle
throughout with the Merseysiders for the minor placings,
and an early challenge also from Salford in the medal quest was carefully extinguished.
Morpeth Harriers A team began their challenge courtesy of
Lewis Timmins on Leg One, finishing tenth in 20m33s.
Ironically at that stage, he was two places and five seconds
behind the Morpeth B team first leg runner Ryan Stephenson,
who produced an excellent run to say the least.
Morpeth A team second leg runner Ross Floyd re-addressed
the situation as he got by his B team colleague Karl Taylor.
Floyd’s 20m46s for the 6k course took him up to eighth place,
whilst Taylor’s 21m02s saw him drop one place to ninth.
The Morpeth A team however on third leg courtesy of Carl Avery’s excellent 19m53s,
got up to third place, a position they were to hold over the final three legs.
Avery’s clocking was easily the fastest over the leg, and also ninth fastest overall on the day.
Meanwhile Sam Hancox’s excellent 21m05s on the third leg for
the Morpeth B team, saw them maintain ninth place.
The final three legs for the Morpeth A team saw excellent performances being
achieved by Thomas Straughan (20m34s),
Ady Whitwam (20m42s),
and Ian Hudspith (19m38s).
Hudspith’s clocking was third fastest overall behind Daniel Cliffe
(19m28s) of Liverpool Harriers, and Hallamshire’s Andy Heyes (19m32s).
Ian was very unlucky not to snatch Silver, finishing only a second adrift
of Liverpool Harrier Harry Harper in a nail biting finale.
They were also only forty two second adrift of winners Derby AC.
The nearest rivals behind the Morpeth A team were Sale Harriers,
who were 49 seconds adrift in fourth place.
Meanwhile the Morpeth Harriers Men’s B team continued their fight,
by finishing 28th in 2hrs 14m 20s, and they were fourth B team.
Further performances came from Elliot Kelly (22m30s),
Steve Haswell (26m00s), and David Swinburne (23m15s).
To gain qualification for the National 6 Stage Road Relays,
to be held at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, on Saturday 3rd October 2015,
clubs had to finish within the top 25.
On that basis Morpeth Harriers will be joined in that competition by
fellow North East rivals Gateshead Harriers, who finished tenth,
and Tyne Bridge, who were twenty second.
Some excellent performances, saw Morpeth Harriers and Athletics Club emerge as the regions sole
medallists at the Northern Athletics Young Athletes Road Relays, held at a very warm
and sunny Stanley Park, Blackpool, on Saturday 19th September 2015.
Marginally the clubs best performers on the day were their Under 13 Girls,
who following three excellent legs, where they never budged outside the top three,
eventually came through, courtesy of a very energised Holly Peck
on the final third leg, to grab Silver medals.
Peck’s second fastest of the leg of 12m11s over the 3.2k course
was enough to give them nearly a minute of daylight over third placed
Keighley and Craven, who had led throughout the first two legs,
and had unfortunately slipped back when it mattered.
Holly’s time was seventh fastest of the day; however she was just unable
to get to level terms with the Salford Harriers runner in front of her,
as she only lost out for Gold by a margin of twenty five seconds.
Lily Heaton on first leg for Morpeth, undoubtedly had the clubs run of the day,
clocking 12m04s on the first leg, which proved to be fourth fastest overall,
which speaks volumes on her performance improvement,
and living very much in the shadow of club colleagues Peck, and Rhiannon Hedley.
It was Hedley who produced a very stable performance on the second leg,
to hold on to third place with her clocking of 12m58s.
The efforts of this squad on the day were very warmly
applauded by their coach and Team Manager Mike Bateman.
Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men finished an excellent seventh in their 3 x 3.2k Relay,
no doubt boosted by the performance of final leg runner Scott Beattie,
whose 11m39s, was not only the fastest of the leg,
but also the fastest of the day by a ten second margin.
Jacob Hopkins had the squad in 27th place on Leg One with his clocking of 13m27s,
however Kieran Hedley, already having witnessed his younger sister’s medal
winning efforts in the earlier Under 13 Girls event, ran well to climb a further
eleven places on the second leg,
his clocking of 12m18s proving to be the third fastest of the leg.
It was then left to Beattie to provide the final leg flourish,
and he certainly carried out his duties to the letter.
Morpeth Harriers had two squads who lined up to face the
starter in the Under 15 Boys 3 x 3.2k event.
The clubs A team finished 13th and the B team finished 31st.
Ross Charlton had the A team in 26th place in 11m13s as he
handed over the reins to Joe Dowd, who managed to climb
an excellent nine places, as he got round his leg in 11m15s,
which was the eleventh fastest overall on the leg.
Third and final leg runner Connor Marshall also produced an
excellent run of 11m18s, to gain a further four places.
The Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boys B team had Daniel Melling on lead off leg,
and he managed a clocking of 12m08s, as he came home in 37th place.
Second leg saw Matthew Waterfield improve by four places,
as he got round the course in 12m24s.
Final Leg runner Sam Bradley took the squad home to 31st spot,
with his clocking of 13m19s.
Morpeth Harriers very young and relatively inexperienced Under 13 Boys squad
produced some excellent performances collectively to get a final placing of 16th in their 3 x 3.2k event.
Andrew Hudspith ran a superb first leg of 11m53s, to come home in 20th place.
Dylan Davies improved by two places on the second leg with his clocking of 12m19s.
Ben Walker gained a further two places on the third and final leg, when he clocked 12m24s.
Five athletes from Morpeth Harriers and Athletics Club competed
in the NECAA Open Pentathlon Championships,
held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium on Saturday 19th September 2015.
Kirsty Lang was an unopposed winner of the Under 20 Women’s competition;
however after completing her required five events,
the 100m Hurdles, 800m, Shot, Long Jump, and High Jump,
she had accumulated a total of 1,916 ponts.
She clocked 17.9s for the 100m Hurdles,
3m04.5s for the 800m,
achieved a best of 6.16m in the Shot,
a best of 3.98m in the Long Jump,
and cleared 1.42m in the High Jump.
In the Under 15 Girls Pentathlon, athletes covered
75m Hurdles, 800m, Long Jump, High Jump and Shot.
Morpeth’s four competitors Jessica Young-Rogers,
Harriet Priest, Hannah Brown, and Ellie Burt
finished fourth, eighth, seventeenth,
and twenty first respectively,
accumulating point’s scores of 2,405, 2,267, 1,782, and 1,025.
Hannah Brown was second fastest in the 75m Hurdles in 12.5s,
finishing marginally faster than her club mate Young –Rogers (12.6s).
Harriet Priest clocked 12.7s.
Priest was the best of the Morpeth contingent in the 800m,
clocking 2m45.9s, which saw her place tenth out of the twenty on track.
Meanwhile Young-Rogers finished third in the Long Jump with a best of 4.65m.
Ellie Burt completed three of the five events required.
She clocked 15.4s in the 75m Hurdles,
achieved a best of 3.77m in the Long Jump,
and cleared 1.29m in the High Jump
Incorporated into the NECAA Open Pentathlon,
the North East Masters Athletics Association
held their annual 5,000m and 10,000m Track Championships.
Archie Jenkins of Morpeth Harriers competed in the 10,000m,
finishing 18th overall, and was second in the Over 60 age group,
clocking a time of 47m20.7s on a very warm afternoon.
North East’s Distance Running Talent Has ‘Mo’ To Offer the Great North Weekend
Last weekend saw the Mo Farah show descend upon the North East for the
Great North weekend of athletics – beginning with the Great North 5k on a dismal Saturday morning,
concluding with the Great North Run on a much sunnier Sunday morning.
The veneration of Great Britain’s most decorated, and successful,
runner commenced with his jogging of the 5k event,
before an honest victory over the half-marathon distance on the Sunday.
The circus surrounding Farah, and the exhausting overkill of attention given to charity,
may have overshadowed some brilliant performances by the North East’s leading athletic lights,
but did not completely veil them from us: not least the performances of the
North East’s leading athletic club, and National 12-stage Road Relay champions, Morpeth Harriers.
Morpeth were led home by club stalwart, and heartbeat of the club’s senior men’s team
for over two decades, Ian Hudspith, clocking a superb 1:06:08 to finish 15th overall.
Morpeth’s NECAA 10K champion, and brightest prospect, Carl Avery, demonstrated
his pedigree by setting new figures of 1:08:47 to place 25th. Avery’s previous best for the distance was 72:00,
set in the same event twelve months ago. Avery had hoped to ‘dip under 68:00 if [he] had a blinder’,
but also said of his performance that he is ‘satisfied’, and credits the work of his coach,
Jimmy Alder, for his unrelenting progression toward the pinnacle of NE distance running.
Avery added: ‘hopefully this will give me (and the other lads)
great strength for this coming XC season – bring on the mud. It has been a while.’
Ryan Stephenson provided consummate support, clocking 1:11:04 to finish 33rd,
to round off a solid summer campaign on the roads. By contrast,
Morpeth’s Andy Lawrence and Karl Taylor were less satisfied finishing
42nd (1:12:35) and 52nd (1:14:45) respectively.
Lawrence had hoped to improve on his previous best of 70:14
(set at Reading in March), but found that ‘warm, and, at times, windy’ conditions
were compounded by ‘tough, undulating later sections of the course.’
Using Jimmy Alder-style rhetoric, Lawrence intimated that ‘it was not a great day at the office.’
Taylor, with a 10k PB of 32:10 (2013), and a half-marathon best of 72:00 (set at Druridge Bay earlier this year),
had hoped to set new figures, but arrived late, owing to public transport issues,
and described his performance as ‘below average’.
An encouraging start to what promises to be another winter of Morpeth dominance over the country and the roads.
Other notable performances were: Lewis Timmins 71st (1:16:46); Matthew Boyle 86th (1:18:13);
Mark Snowball 180th (1:21:16); Michael Skeldon 462nd (1:26:38); Andrew Richardson 787th (1:29:54);
Steve Haswell 1103rd (1:32:28); Michael McKean 1449th (1:34:29);
Mark Crosby 1603rd (1:35:22); Anthony Wilkinson 1865th (1:36:47);
Hamish McAllister Williams 1888th (1:36:54).
In the Elite Women’s event, won by Mary Keitany in a time of 1:07:32,
Morpeth’s Josie Cram posted a time of 1:29:55, which points toward another
successful winter for one of the club’s leading female competitors.
In the 5k event, the curtain-raiser to a fantastic weekend of athletics competition,
Gateshead’s Jed Marshall produced a convincing victory on a rain-drenched Quayside,
clocking a time of 15:40 in testing conditions. Marshall was made to work, however,
as Morpeth’s Kevin Calvert signed off his summer campaign with a respectable
clocking of 15:50 to finish second. Calvert described his run as ‘solid, but nothing special.’
That said, on an undulating course, uninspiring on the hairpin stretch from
the Swing Bridge back to the Millenium Bridge, Calvert can be well satisfied with his labours.
Jordan Scott was next home for the club, clocking 16:37 for 6th place,
which, to lend Taylor’s analysis of his own race, was below average.
Closing out the Morpeth effort was Adam Shewry,
who crossed the line in 23rd place, in a time of 18:46.
The Junior event, ran on the Saturday afternoon, saw Tynedale’s Max Pearson
execute a race strategy which has enabled him to prevail in each age category
of the Junior event over the past four years, but this was his first as fastest overall male.
Pearson said of his strategy that he ‘sat in for 2k, pushed the pace on, and with 1k to go,
on the steep hill opposite the Swing Bridge, kicked and made a run for home.’
Pearson produced a convincing victory over nearest rival Oliver Dickinson of Wells City,
clocking 12:42 to Dickinson’s 13:04. The precociously talented Pearson intimated that there was more to come:
‘As per usual, it was an incredible event to participate in, and I will be back for my last year, next year.’
Congratulations to Max, who illustrated that he has both the attitude and ability
to attain the heights of Hudspith and Avery. In the same race,
Morpeth’s Lewis James clocked 17:38 to place 53rd.
In the Junior Boys’ ‘Blue Wave’, Morpeth’s Ross Charlton
clocked an excellent 14:32 to cross the line in 6th place.
Charlton was supported by Alex Cunningham 11th (15:08);
Dan Melling 24th (15:48); and Sam Bradley 76th (17:48).
In the Junior Boys’ ‘Green Wave’, Morpeth were led home by Thomas Cunningham,
who posted 15:01 for 9th place. Further support was provided by: Dylan Davies 20th (15:48);
Jack Barrett 36th (16:40); Dylan Gooding 51st (17:14); Reece Garrett 116th (18:57;
Harry Clark 206th (21:00); and Josh Gair 247th (21:41).
In the Junior Boys’ ‘Orange Wave’, Morpeth’s Jack Livingston finished in 13th place,
clocking a time of 16:59. Livingston was supported well by: James Tilley 22nd (17:35);
Alfie Clark 157th (20:30); Thomas McKenna 296th (22:34); and Evan Eaton 392nd (24:07).
In the Junior girls’ event, Morpeth’s Holly Peck produced a brilliant performance
to finish 2nd in a time of 15:44), 24 seconds adrift of winner, Beatrice Drummond of Mullingar Harriers,
and 13 seconds ahead of nearest rival Emily Chang of Chester-le-street.
Peck was supported by Antje Hall, who crossed the line in 206th (24:25).
Mo Farah’s winning time of 59:22 – exceptional in anyone’s money – over world-class opposition
should be, at the very least, applauded, and celebrated as Great Britain’s greatest distance runner
continuing on his apotheosis in the sport. With that said, however, it can be asserted that the performances
of the North East’s own athletes merit just as much attention. If not because they end World Championship-winning seasons,
then because they demonstrate the strength in depth, as well as pedigree, of the region, in their own back yard.
Report by Jordan Scott
Elliot Kelly won the Park Run event at Whitley Bay
on Saturday 12th September 2015.
He came home well over a minute
clear of his nearest rival, in a time of 17mins 42secs.
Report by Les Venmore