Alistair Douglass missed out by a margin of just under two seconds in his attempt to retain his hold on the Jimmy Hedley Trophy, at the second meeting of the North Eastern Grand Prix, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium last Wednesday.
In a ten strong field of runners in the main 800m event, Douglass ran very determinedly throughout the two laps, and from the bell, which was reached in under sixty seconds, chased eventual winner Chris Perkins of Birtley AC all the way. He only lost out in the final strides, as the Birtley man produced a new personal best of 1m54.88s, which sees him now ranked number three in the UK Under 17 Men’s rankings.
Douglass was a couple of seconds outside his personal best, with his clocking of 1m56.10s.
Ben Waterfield of Morpeth was also just adrift of his personal best when he finished tenth in 2m06.71s.
Whilst Douglass's run was notable, perhaps the best Morpeth run of the night, was Under 23 athlete Connor Marshall's excellent performance in a later run 3000m.
For the second North Eastern Grand Prix in succession Marshall won by putting the boot in at the bell and managed to run away to victory over club colleague Will De-Vere Owen, posting a new personal best time of 9m09.41s, taking a massive fifty-one seconds off his previous figures.
De-Vere Owen clocked 9m10.43s, taking seven seconds off his previous figures, and Joseph Anderson secured a superb Morpeth One-Two-Three, by finishing third in 9m13.11, another personal best by eight seconds.
The fastest 3000m of the evening was won by Northern and National Cross Country Champion Calum Johnson of Gateshead Harriers.
No fewer than five Morpeth Harriers lined up here, with Sam Hancox leading them home in fifth place in 8m36.84s.
Other Morpeth finishers were Ross Floyd (9th) 9m04.63s, Bertie Marr (10th) 9m09.91s, Ryan Davies (11th) 9m10.71s, and Andrew Lawrence (12th) 9m26.11s.
For Marr and Davies, the performances gave them time improvements of five and eleven seconds, respectively.
Back with 800m, where in the eighth event, Morpeth Under 17 athlete Ralph Robson finished second in 2m14.74s, ensuring him a fourteen second improvement.
Ralph’s younger sister Tabitha can also feel well pleased with her 800m run, clocking 2m37.65s for fifth place in race 4, which gave her a new personal best by five seconds.
In race seven of the 800m events, Morpeth’s Joe Dixon clocked 2m14.81s, taking six seconds off his previous figures, which saw him finish third.
Other Morpeth Harriers in this event were Oliver Tomlinson (9th) 2m19.98s, and Jason Dawson (10th) 2m20.44s.
Under 15 Boy Tomlinson’s effort, was an improvement of two seconds.
Oliver’s younger sister Emma (Under 13) also took two seconds off her previous figures for 800m, when she placed tenth in the third race in 2m48.14s.
Joseph Close saw an improvement of one second to his 800m time, when he finished sixth in the ninth and final race, posting a time of 2m12.26s.
In the opening 3000m, Morpeth Harrier Tayla Murdy saw a time improvement of twelve seconds when she crossed the finish line in tenth place, clocking 11m56.60s.
Millie Breese of Morpeth finished eighth in the third heat of the 3000m in a time of 10m30.66s, which was the second fastest time of the night for an Under 17 Woman.
It was good to see so many Morpeth Harriers Middle and Distance runners in action, but it was disappointing that the club was not represented in the sprints or field events.