With the longer summer evenings, the race calendar at this time of year includes a good number of midweek fixtures, and runners from Morpeth Harriers were involved in two of the most popular last week.
Bridges of the Tyne
On Wednesday, Sam Hancox was a resounding winner of the Bridges of the Tyne 5 miler, becoming in the process North East Counties Athletics Association champion for the distance.
Always oversubscribed, the out and back course along the North bank of the Tyne saw this year some 337 finishers with Hancox winning in a time of 24 minutes 46.4 seconds, nearly a minute ahead of his nearest rival, Gateshead Harrier Conrad Franks (25: 30.1) with Sunderland Harrier Stephen Jackson in 3rd (25:31.8).
Mark Snowball was 18th in 28:40.9, Rob Hancox, Sam’s Dad, 46th in 30:37.8 (3rd over 55), Jason Dawson 31:42 (2nd over 50) and Mark Best 63rd in 31:54.6.
NSP Harrier Stephanie Maclean-Dann was the 1st female finisher in 29: 54.8 with Elswick’s Imogen Bungay managing to stay ahead of Tyne Bridge Harrier Kathryn Stevenson in 3rd.
The following night, action moved further along the Tyne with the Tynedale 10k taking place over its traditional route from Ovingham via Wylam to a finish in the Riverside Park at Low Prudhoe.
This time a visitor from outside the area was the winner, with Daniel O’Boyle of St. Edmund Pacers winning in a time of 32 minutes 49 seconds with Birtley’s Lewis McConnell a close 2nd only seven seconds behind and Blaydon’s Matthew Armstrong in 3rd (33:04).
For Morpeth, Richard Johnson was unlucky to miss out on a top three finish having led the race for the first 4 miles. He placed 4th in 33:09.
Local runner Claire Davies of Stocksfield Striders was 1st female finisher in 38:48.
Also finishing for Morpeth were Anthony Liddle, 27th in 37:41, Jamie Johnson, 55th in 40:24, Mike Winter, 84th in 42:33 and Norman Clark. Clark was 1st Over 70 in a time of 53:37 and 221st overall. Some 338 finished.
Great North 10k
There were three Morpeth Harriers in the recently run Great North 10k which now is run over a much faster course, now avoiding the steep climb back to Gateshead Stadium.
At the front end of the field, an exciting race was won by Olympian Chris Thompson of Aldershot Farnham and District in a time of 28 minutes 55 seconds ahead of local lad and Blaydon race winner Calum Johnson some 15 seconds behind.
Kate Maltby of Bristol and West, now based in the Lake District, was 1st female finisher in 34:40 ahead of Ireland’s Mary Mulhare (34:53).
Graeme Thorpe was 1st home for the club, 424th in 37:17. Dave Stabler was 617th in 38:27 and Georgia Campbell 1624th in 59:28.