With the cancellation of the second consecutive fixture of Saturday’s North East Harrier League due to the previous week’s heavy rain, the main focus for many Morpeth Harriers was the Abbey Dash at Leeds on Sunday 27th October 2019.
With a reputation for some very fast times over the out and back course from the Headrow in Leeds City Centre to Kirkstall Abbey, returning to finish outside the iconic Town Hall, the 10 kilometre race run in support of Age UK once again attracted well over 6,000 runners and also included this year an inter-area competition and national honours, with teams from all four home nations.
With minor changes to the course giving the best possible opportunity for fast times, allied to high class fields in both men’s and women’s races, a largely dry if breezy morning saw both men’s and women’s course records broken.
At the front of the race, a hard fought battle between Omar Ahmed and Ross Millington went down to a sprint finish, with Ahmed winning in a new course record of 28 minutes 38 seconds by one second, with last year’s winner Adam Craig in third. In all, some nine runners ran sub 29 minutes and twenty nine sub 30. Ahmed’s time also meant that at long last the old course record of Mike Openshaw had been broken.
In the women’s race, Cardiff’s Charlotte Arter ran a remarkable 31:34, the 4th fastest ever legal 10k run by a British athlete, with Abbie Donnelly 2nd in 32:00 and Beth Potter 3rd (32:05). Arter’s time broke the previous course record of Eilish McColgan set in 2016.
Not far behind, however, was Morpeth’s Carl Avery, proudly wearing an England vest,
and setting a new personal best of 28:58 in 9th place overall.
Avery’s achievement was matched by no less than nine other Morpeth Harriers who all set new personal bests.
Next home was young Sam Hancox, breaking his previous best by nearly one minute and running sub 31 for the distance for the very first time with a time of 30:16 for 35th place.
Avery’s stable mate George Lowry, coached likewise by Lindsey Dunn, was 50th in 30:40, another pb.
Behind him, Leeds based Phil Winkler was 121st (32:11 and a pb)
and in his first ever 10k, teenager Rowan Bennett 137th in 32:34.
Other Morpeth finishers included: Richard Johnson, 146th (32:40, a big new pb);
Ali Douglas, 161st, (32:56, pb); Karl Taylor, 162nd (32:57); Jordan Scott, 191st (33:32);
Jake Masterman, 200th (33:39, pb); Adam Pratt, 209th (33:46); Lee Bennett, 281st and 2nd Over 50 (35:02);
Rob Hancox, 456th and 7th O/50 (37.34); Robyn Bennett, 472nd (38:13);
Michelle Thompson, 630th and 9th Over 35 (39:36, pb); Tayla Murdy, 884th (43:20, pb);
Paul Bellingham, 946th (43:47); Kevin Bray, 973rd (43:14); and Steph Robertson, 5096th (1:08:00).
There were some other North East performances worthy of note, with young Josh Cowperthwaite clocking 29:35 in 19th place and Danielle Hodgkinson, running for the Armed Forces, 1st O/35 in 32:55. Guy Bracken was 124th in 32:19, but for once not 1st O/55, that honour going to Andrew Leach in 32:04.
Morpeths Gavin Bayne was 1st Over 60 at the Locke Park 5 mile race
at Redcar on Sunday 27th October 2019.
11th overall, Bayne recorded 31:39 for the three lap course
with an age-graded rating of 85%.
Morpeths Paul Bentley was 1st Over 70 in 40:39.
Morpeths Joe Dixon, ran 16 minutes 43 seconds
at the Newcastle Parkrun,
a category record and UK leading
time age group time for the 3.1km distance.
Long serving members of Morpeth Harriers & AC will be sorry to learn of the death of former athlete and long serving colleague Eddie Hudspith, following a long and bravely fought battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Eddie, who is the father of two of the clubs finest athletes Mark and Ian, and was later to witness the emergence of two of his grandchildren, Andrew and Joseph in competitive action at the club, was part of Morpeth’s competing hierarchy in the late 60’s, and into the 70’s and 80’s in a Veteran capacity, following an earlier running career with the now defunct Benwell Harriers, alongside other North East notables, who all went on to make their name in the sport, with rivals such as Elswick Harriers, Gosforth Harriers, and Heaton Harriers.
Instead, Eddie chose Morpeth to be his new stamping ground, and linked up with the now legendary Jim Alder, to strengthen a growing squad, with a burning ambition for success, not only regionally,
but also territorially and nationally.
Eddie fitted in well alongside his new colleagues, who included Alder, Doug Cockburn,
Peter Carmichael, Tom Horne, and Alec Matheson.
He also assisted by taking an interest in the clubs’ democratic affairs, however, not without a sense of humour,
or even mischief at times, which brought a likeable light-hearted view to many a serious matter.
One such occasion was at one of the clubs annual General Meetings, where it came to electing the clubs officers, and Eddie promptly said that he was proposing that Alec Matheson be elected Sheriff, (laughter at this was duly observed and appreciated), according to those present, and this moment certainly endeared him to his colleagues.
(The above tale was referred to by Jim Alder on numerous occasions).
On the competitive front, one result from 20th December 1988,
clearly shows that Eddie, now aged 48, was still producing prolific performances.
That was in the Saltwell 10k Road Race, on the old course, involving the notorious Chowdene Bank.
In the separate Veteran Men’s race, Eddie finished 25th in an excellent 35m35s, only four minutes adrift of his eldest son Mark, who had finished tenth in the Senior Men’s race, leading Morpeth to a six-point margin team victory over Sunderland Harriers.
Eddie’s time alone, would have seen him in the top 100 of the Senior Male finishers,
and only one Woman, Sheila Catford of Leeds City finished ahead of him that day.
Behind all good Men, there is also a good Woman, and in Eddie’s case, that is certainly no exception,
his Wife Pat, has indeed been a staunch supporter for him for many years, and in helping him to bring forth the superb talents of Mark and Ian, who both achieved International success,
and also witnessed the club debuts of Grandsons Andrew and Joseph.
In closing, Morpeth Harriers & AC, would wish to offer much sincere condolences to Pat, Mark, Ian,
and all of Eddie’s close family at this very sad time for them, but also to thank them for their support
and close association throughout all of the years they have given us.
Eddies funeral took place on Thursday, 7th November,
at the Crematorium on the West Road, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Morpeth Harrier and KEVI sixth former Daniel Dixon led a British 1/2/3 in the Youth category
at the Super League Triathlon in Malta on Saturday 19th October 2019.
The tough format requires the mastery of the three triathlon disciplines,
with a 300m swim- 4km bike ride - 1.6km run, these all performed not once but twice.
On his first ever visit to the Mediterranean island, Dixon’s was a dominant win as he lead from the front throughout, the event set against the scenic backdrop of Vittoriosa Yacht Marina. With a time of 23 minutes 23 seconds, nearly a full minute ahead of his nearest rival, he later described the experience as both ‘full-on’ and simply, ‘awesome’.