Sisters Amy and Hannah Lott got their 2019/20 Indoor season underway, when they both competed at the opening meeting of the Gateshead Series, held at Gateshead College on the evening of Thursday 14th November 2019.
Amy was the fastest Under 17 Woman in the 60m Hurdles, posting a very satisfactory 9.22s, which was a mere fraction adrift of her lifetime best, and clearly points the way to another successful Indoor campaign in front of her, providing she can stay well clear of any injuries or mishaps, in this, her second year in the age group.
Younger sister Hannah, also made a satisfactory start, competing in her new Under 15 age group.
In the 60m sprint, she was tenth fastest in her age group, posting a time of 9.10s, which was also only a mere fraction adrift of her best time last year, when she was an Under 13 Girl.
Following on from his recent excellent run on the roads in the Leeds Abbey Dash, 2017 Northern Cross Country Champion Carl Avery of Morpeth Harriers began his Winter campaign in earnest, when he finished an excellent third to Scottish International Andrew Butchart in the 4k Men’s Short Course event, at the Lindsays Scottish National Cross Country Championships, held at Kirkcaldy High School, on Saturday 9th November 2019.
Posting a finishing time of 11m58s, that was only four seconds adrift of Butchart, Avery can feel well pleased indeed with his effort, and clearly shows that he is in excellent form for a forthcoming busy few months over the winter terrain.
Another Morpeth Harrier in action in competitive action in the event was Under 23 athlete Alex Brown, who finished in 18th place overall, and posted a finishing time of 12m36s, making him sixth fastest in his age group.
There were two individual and two team victories from Morpeth Juniors at the Heaton Harriers Remembrance Day Races on Sunday morning (10thNovember), while in the Senior 10k there were three North East Masters Gold medal performances from their older team mates.
Now in their 99th year, the Memorial Road Races have always been held on Remembrance Sunday, with the venue for many years now established as Newcastle’s Town Moor.
Fortunately for both organisers and competitors there was no reoccurrence of the overnight frosts that had led to the cancellation of the previous day’s Parkrun, although it remained a chilly morning throughout.
In the day’s first event, the Under 11 boys and girls 1kilometre race, Morpeth’s Iris Dungait was 5th girl and 8th overall finisher in a time of 4 minutes and 3 seconds.
While there were no runners in the U/13 races, there were no less than nine finishers in the Under 15s. Once again Joe Dixon had a fine run to win in a time of 9m 36s over the 3k course, and in the process beat the existing course record, taking some twenty seconds out of second place Silas Christie of Gosforth Harriers. With Ryan Davies (10:13) in 3rd and Matthew Walton (10:18) in 5th, Morpeth were also convincing winners of the team prize. Liam Roche was not far behind in 6th (10:19) and Will Devere Owen 7th (10:29).
In the girls race, Abi Leiper was 2nd in 10:55, some 19 seconds behind race winner Holly Waugh of North Shields Polytechnic Harriers, and with teammates Zara Naughton 9th (12:07) and Laura Melling 12th (12:58) the girls picked up a team silver.
There was a winning return to competitive action for Taylor Glover in the combined U17 and U20 races. A time of 15:31 for Glover saw him, like Dixon, set a new course record for the 5k distance.
Interestingly, 2nd place runner David Race of Gateshead Harriers broke the U17’s course record of Morpeth’s Scott Beattie (now of course at university in America) set several years ago when finishing in 15:43.
With Dylan Davies 6th in 17:17 and Dylan Gooding 12th in 19:24, the combined team also picked up a gold.
Kate Gaffing, meanwhile, was the club’s sole female representative, finishing as 3rd female in 21:48.
The traditional minute of silence preceded the main event of the day, the Senior Men’s and Women’s two lap 10k race, which this year also incorporated the NEMAA Championships.
Won by a visitor from Salford Harriers, Marc Brown, in a title of 30:41 with Gateshead’s Conrad Franks of Gateshead 2nd and Gus Withers 3rd, the race saw a debut in Morpeth colours for new recruit Liam Roarty,
who finished 13th in 33:14.
The women’s race was won by home club Heaton’s own Danielle Smythe in 36:05 with Lucy-Erin Hunter of Darlington 2nd and Gillian Manford of Gateshead 3rd. With Manford winning the female Over 35 title, Morpeth’s Rachelle Falloon ((37:35) was credited as 3rd Senior.
There were fine category wins and NEMAA gold medals also for Gavin Bayne, 1st male O/60 in 39:01, Dave Nicholson, 1st male O/65 in 39:41 and Pam Woodcock, 1st female 0/65 in 50:44.
Other Morpeth finishers included:
Ed Hillier, 82nd in 38:27; Jamie Johnson, 127th in 40:19; Jason Dawson, 237th in 43:54;
Michelle Thompson, 8th O/35 and 238th in 43:53; Claire Calverley, 11th O/40 and 240th in 43:51;
Paul Bellingham, 252nd and 13th O/55 in 44:19 and Mike Steven, 259th and 10th O/60 in 44:20.
A week of heavy rain which had barely abated come Saturday morning made for some treacherous and challenging conditions which were the worst again could remember for a long time at the 33rd Saucony English Cross Country Relays at Berry Hill Park, Mansfield on 2nd November 2019.
With 10 events on the programme, from Under 13 girls and boys through to Senior Women and Men, over 1000 team entries were recorded for this year, with the younger age groups running laps of 2k and the Seniors up to 5k.
First up for Morpeth were the club’s two teams of Junior Men. A strong A team featuring modern pentathlon specialist Ross Charlton on leg 1, triathlete Daniel Dixon on leg 2 and GB international Rory Leonard on leg 3 finished in 9th position in a time of 28 minutes 13.75 seconds, less than a minute off a medal. (Although since one team ahead of them was actually a school, this was effectively an 8th place.) Charlton’s clocking of 9:31.55 on the slightly shorter first leg had the team in 31st place, with Dixon moving them up nine places to 22nd in 9:31.85 and Leonard’s 9:10.35, the 5th fastest of the leg, getting them into the top ten. The ‘B’ team of Dan Melling (9:46.10), Connor Marshall (10:44.45) and Alex Cunningham (10:22.85) gained valuable experience when finishing in 36th place.
The Under 15 Boys A team finished just outside the top ten – but again, less than a minute off a medal in a keenly contested race. Ryan Davies had the club in 29th on leg 1 (7:08.40) with Joe Dixon’s 7:17.60, 8th fastest of the leg, moving them up to 16th. Last leg runner Bertie Marr ran 7:34.50 to get the team to a very respectable 12th place. A young team with a great team spirit can only gain from the difficult day. The B team of Liam Roche (7:44.65), Will Devere Owen (7:53.30) and Matthew Walton (8:09.05) also did themselves great credit when finishing in 44th place.
Two teams again competed in the U/17 Men’s race. The A team of Tom Balsdon (10:04.85 for 39th place), Rohan Bennett (9:59.45 for 24th) and Euan Duffin (9:59.9 for 17th) placed in a respectable top twenty position out of over 80 clubs running, although some places were lost when Bennett unfortunately came a cropper in the treacherous mud. Thankfully he was able to pick himself up and continue. Meanwhile the B team had their own misfortunes, with Ben Waterfield on leg 1 unfortunately missing the start and losing over a minute. The team of Dylan Gooding (10:43.9) and Dylan Davies (10:42.2) did well to recover to 59th.
By the time the club’s Senior Women, competing in the event for the first time in a while, were ready to race the course had cut up badly for the 127 teams taking part. On the always crowded leg 1, Michelle Thompson came home in 12:44.4 with Josie Cram, back in competitive action after a long period of injury, having a good run in a time of 12:02.5, moving the team up to 50th. Last leg runner Rachelle Falloon, who had struggled all week with a debilitating virus and was as a result nowhere near the excellent form she has shown over the last few months, still managed to get round in 12:12.70 and the team therefore finished in a decent 36th position in a time of 36:59.60. Aldershot and Farnham won the race in 31:09.30 with Leeds City in 2nd and Cambridge and Coleridge 3rd.
Biggest field of the day was in the Senior Men’s race, with nearly 200 teams in all. At the front of the race, it was again an apparently unbeatable Leeds City – surely the strongest men’s team in the country at present – again winning, in a time of 1hour 5 minutes 14 seconds with Cambridge and Coleridge in 2nd
and Bedford and County 3rd.
Missing leading runner and cross country specialist Carl Avery, Morpeth’s A team should be justifiably proud to have made a top ten finish, however, like their Junior counterparts.
Chris Parr got the club off to a strong start, running 16:24.50 for 13th place and Sam Hancox moved them up to 7th with a super 17:01.25. George Lowry’s 17:23. 85 saw them drop just one place and youngster Alex Brown, fast becoming a veteran of national championships this year, again showed he was in no way overawed by the quality of the field around him, holding on to a top ten place with 17:30.90. The final time of 1 hour 8.20 minutes was less than two minutes off a medal and the team finished in a final position of 9th, second from the North of England behind Leeds City. Some 161 complete teams finished.
The B team of Joe Armstrong (17:37.70), Phil Winkler (18:06.40), Ali Douglas and Jordan Scott were most unfortunate in that Douglas’ chip failed to register when he finished his leg, and so the team’s final time was not recorded. They were somewhere around 38th position numerically, however.
This was a real shame for Douglas, who had operated his own taxi service across Northumberland
to get the team and Jim Alder there, and muddied his boot bringing the tent back.
Commiserations to Ali, but overall all those who made the journey and ran
in the difficult conditions should be proud of how they represented the club.
Andrew Lawrence claimed victory with an impressive run in the inaugural Cragside Half Marathon
in wet conditions on the Rothbury estate on Sunday 2nd November 2019.
On a testing, hilly course, Lawrence led from the start and finished in a superb time of 1:15:37, just over a minute ahead of South Leeds runner Jonathon Harding in second.
It was the first time organisers Run Nation had hosted the winter event,
to complement the popular 10k which takes place on the same course in the spring.
Heavy rain made for difficult conditions on the first mile on a muddy track, before the runners
completed two loops of the road which winds around the former home of industrialist Lord Armstrong.
Morpeth’s only other competitor in the half marathon was Andrew Hebden,
who finished fourth overall and first veteran in 1:24:03.
Morpeth also tasted victory in the 5k race, where Mark Snowball led home a small field of runners in 17:53.
In the 10k race, Paul Banks claimed sixth place in a time of 40:24 and 2nd in the V45-49 category;
and Claire Walker was 51st and 7th in the female V40-44 category in 1:00:54.