The planned New Year's Day trail race around Morpeth for club members has been cancelled following the news that the North East has been placed under Tier 4 coronavirus restrictions from today.
All members who were due to take part in or help with the event should have received an email from event organiser Kevin Bray. Further news on the impact of the announcement on other club activities will follow tomorrow.
Ross Floyd recorded the fastest time at the Whalton Festive 5 miler at the weekend with a clocking of 25 minutes and 58 seconds. .
In order to enable social distancing and avoid large groups, the race was organised with what has become the pattern over the last few months of a ‘wave start’ of eight to ten individuals of similar predicted finishing times.
The course followed the route of the old ‘Whalton Classic’ that Morpeth Harriers used to organise on the same day as the Great North Run, with an anti-clockwise loop running through Whalton village to Ogle and back.
The race certainly proved popular with those missing the traditional Boxing Day Pudding Run at Whitley Bay and parkruns across the region, with a total of some 117 finishers and a number of quality performances.
Floyd finished some 9 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Ben Chown of 26.2 Road Runners Club with Gateshead’s Conrad Franks in third having just lost out to Chown in the run-in. Floyd professed himself very happy with the win, all the more so after the sleep deprivation the latest addition to his family has been causing him over the last few weeks.
Philippa Williams of Sheffield RC, back in the NE for Christmas, was first female finisher with a time of 28m 50s. Elswick youngster Amy Fuller was second (29:39) and Birtley’s Katie Francis third (30:16).
Morpeth Under 20 Dan Melling was 4th overall in 26:54 and Paul Banks 3rd Over 45 in 30:39.
Morpeth’s evergreen Over 65s Gavin Bayne and Dave Nicholson continued their recent rivalry, with Bayne, who had lost out over 3,000m to Nicholson in the summer, gaining the bragging rights this time in an impressive 33:08, Nicholson some way behind in 34: 50. Despite the difficulties of 2020, both athletes are now near the top of the Power of Ten rankings for their age categories (Bayne 2nd for 5 mile, Nicholson 6th) and looking forward to the resumption of Masters fixtures, hopefully sometime soon in 2021.
Morpeth’s John Clark was 43rd in 36:08 and Clare Walker 31st female finisher in 46:52.
The previous weekend had seen a run organised along similar lines at Derwent Reservoir by Wild Deer Events, again over a 5-mile course. A trail race this time taking in some muddy terrain, Morpeth’s Ali Douglas was fastest finisher in 28 minutes 36 seconds, having gradually reeled in club colleague Jordan Scott, 2nd in 28:51.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country Nick McCormick clocked an impressive 14 minutes 21 seconds, his fastest time for six years, to place 7th at the Podium 5k at Barrowford, Lancashire, in a race won by Emile Cairess in 14:11 with Ross Millington 2nd (14:12) and Joe Wigfield 3rd (14:13).
On behalf of Hudson Stoker’s immediate family, Sheila, and Jeff Lee, (Sister and Brother-in-Law), and his two nephew’s, Great Nieces and Great Nephew, and myself, I would personally wish to thank our many friends at Morpeth Harriers & AC, North East Counties AA, and Northern Athletics, and friends, for the many cards and kind wishes expressed at the time of our very sad loss.
We were all very much overwhelmed by the number of people wo showed their very kind concerns at a time when we very much needed you.
Hudson was, and still is a most wonderful friend, whom I will never be able to forget, and I will continue to treasure the memory of his wonderful friendship for the rest of my days.
I was very lucky in life to have met and known him, and our 52 years that we spent as friends, and close companion, will always be held most dearly to my heart.
He was very much a gentle, gentleman, something unique, who is thankfully now out of the pain that he very much bravely bore, without a grumble, and with the determined grace and dignity that was very much true to his character.
Neatness, and the need for everything in its place was very much Hudson’s forte, lessons I learnt from him throughout our lovely life together.
He will always be very sadly missed, God Bless.
Cross country action returned to the athletics calendar at the weekend, albeit in a
much changed form, at Thornley Hall Farm, just South of Peterlee on Saturday with
the North East Counties Athletics Association Junior Relays.
Held under very strict England Athletics competition guidance which banned
spectators other than one attending parent per athlete and kept athletes in isolation
while warning against, for example ‘fist bumps’, the relays were very much a labour
of love for NECAA cross-country secretary Archie Jenkins who had worked tirelessly
to get the event on for several weeks.
‘We realised from day one that there would be lots of restrictions put in place for the
fixture to go ahead so we knew we had to meet the criteria 100 per cent and more,’ he
commented. ‘It was paramount to have social distance in place. Our athletes have
been void of cross-country competition since March so by giving them the chance to
compete in what was a new event, I hope they all appreciated how much went into
making it happen.’
He also remarked ruefully on it being ‘a tough baptism for many of the youngsters but
then cross-country running is tough sport’, and the reports from those present and the
photographic evidence more than back up his words, if anything an understatement.
Always a tough venue at the best of times, while the biggest hills had been taken out
in preparing the 3 kilometre circuit over which teams of four ran, weeks of rain had
left conditions a veritable quagmire under foot with large pools of standing water
while more on the day rain left competitors sodden from head to foot.
For Morpeth, the outstanding performances of the day came once again from their
very strong Under 15 boys, who were led to a dominant team victory by Ryan Davies
who ran the fastest U/15 time of the day on leg 1 (11 minutes 2 seconds) to put the
team in a lead they never lost. Joe Dixon on leg 2 ran the day’s second fastest time
(11m 8s) and Bertie Marr closed the win with an easy clocking of 11m 45s. They
were chased home however by their own club colleagues, with the B team of Joe
Close (12m 51s), Will de Vere Owen (11m 12s) and Liam Roche (12m 12s) in a
strong second place, with de Vere Owen having at least the satisfaction of running the
day’s third fastest time. For this group of athletes, the lack of opportunities for team
action this year is a huge loss, as they would undoubtedly have been in contention at
both Northern and National level, sadly another unfortunate consequence of Covid 19.
Morpeth’s other medallists on the day were their Under 17 boys who put in a manful
performance against on the day favourites Gateshead Harriers whose 1st and 2nd teams
came home ahead of them. Joe Anderson (11m 32s), James Tilley (12m 17s) and Matt
Walton (12m 8s) were only three seconds behind Gateshead’s B, however, and with
only club’s A teams being allowed to medal, did at least have the satisfaction of
bringing home silver medals. Running for an incomplete Darlington Harriers team,
Adam Russell clocked what proved to be the overall fastest run of the day of 10
minutes 50 seconds.
Morpeth’s U/13 boys were unfortunate in missing out on a medal by less than thirty
seconds. In a race won by North Shields Polytechnic Harriers in an overall time of
38m 55s, the Morpeth team of Conner Phillips (15m 20s), Oliver Calvert (13m 48s)
and Oliver Tomlinson (12m 15s) finished in a cumulative time of 41m 23s behind
teams from Gateshead and Houghton Harriers. Oliver Tomlinson, now thankfully
recovered from a nasty concussion accident some weeks ago, ran the day’s third
fastest time, however.
Best of the Morpeth’s Girls Teams were their U/15s, who finished in 5 th place in a
time of 44m 26s. Tabitha Robson ran their fastest time of 14m 26s, with Caitlin
Flanagan (15m 13s) on leg 2 and Kate Kennedy (14m 47s) anchoring the team in a
competition won again by Gateshead Harriers.
The club’s U/13 girls, two of whom were competing in an event of this kind for the
first time, placed 8th overall in 50m 13s with Charlotte Marshall on leg 1 (17m 9s),
Amelia Hamlin on leg 2 (16m 28s) and Emma Tomlinson on leg 3 (16m 36s). NSP
were overall winners with Elswick Harriers second.
Archie Jenkins meanwhile won’t be letting the mud settle under his feet as he has
already set the wheels in motion for a Senior and Masters event at the same venue in
early January - so for Morpeth’s older athletes, it’s time to dig out and clean the
spikes at last and keep fingers crossed that the event will go ahead.
Club members are being invited to take part in a multi-terrain run around Morpeth on New Year's Day - the traditional date of the club's annual winter road race.
After a year in which the traditional race calendar has been decimated due to Covid, the club is pleased to be organising a special one-off free event for members only on 1 January.
The multi-terrain run, organised by Kevin Bray, can be treated by participants as a race, social run, training run or whatever you like.
The idea is to get out and enjoy the fresh air and some socially-distanced company with your club mates.
Runners will be set off in waves (number in a wave and time between waves dependent on entry). The first wave will set off at 10.30am.
The course will follow a marshalled and marked route (see map below):
From HIGH STANNERS, through CARLISLE PARK, along the river UNDER TELFORD BRIDGE (steps up and down), BENNETTS WALK, cross the BLUE BRIDGE, riverside path behind MORRISONS, riverside path to WHORRAL BANK road, along pavement past EAST MILL, turn right across FOOTBRIDGE at the kennels, left on PUBLIC FOOTPATH along the river under the railway viaduct, up the STEEP HILL and around the field, turn right on footpath across the field and DESCEND steep hill back to bridge beside the kennels. Return to FINISH by reversing the outgoing route.
If the route under Oldgate Bridge and under Telford Bridge is flooded an alternative start / finish location will be notified to entrants.
The course is approximates 9.3km with 132m of climb and a mixture of tarmac, hard packed trails, woodland tracks and pasture. Trail-type shoes are recommended - you're going to get muddy!
If you would like to take part: