It was certainly a “Good Friday” in every sense of the word for the hard-working athletes of Morpeth Harriers, as they triumphed in the sun at the annual Elswick Harriers Road Races, held on the Newburn Business Park,
By the time the Senior Relay events, (4 Legs for Men, and 3 for Women) got underway, the early morning misty conditions had gradually given way to warm sunshine, and by the time the final event for Men had concluded, the refreshing abundance of water bottles was clearly in evidence, as a just reward for efforts made all round.
Morpeth Harriers, who had earlier won the Under 13 Boys team race, and finished second to North Shields Poly in the Under 15 Boys event, clearly dominated the later run Senior events, winning the Women’s event by a one minute fifty three second margin over second placed Gosforth Harriers, with Jarrow and Hebburn a further ten seconds adrift in third place.
The Morpeth squad led throughout, after Olympian Laura Weightman, who always enjoys this event,
paved the way by producing an early lead of nearly a minute and a half over early second placers Gateshead Harriers, courtesy of Junior athlete Chloe Wellings.
For Weightman’s part, she had clocked an excellent 10m53s,
which ironically was only a mere second outside her own course record, set in 2017.
She had only missed out in 2018 because of her Commonwealth Games involvement
and had first competed in these events as an Under 13 athlete.
Catriona MacDonald (12m53s), eagerly held on to her lead during the second leg,
and it was left to seasoned Veteran Jane Hodgson (12m21s) to confirm an excellent victory effort.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women’s B team finished in an excellent fourth place, as first B team,
courtesy of Holly Peck (12m56s), Lorna Macdonald (13m09s), and Robyn Bennett (12m52s).
In the Veteran Women’s relay, Morpeth finished fifth, courtesy of Helen King (13m15s),
Claire Calverley (15m26s), and Gemma Floyd (12m57s).
Despite Tyne Bridge establishing a first leg lead of three seconds over Durham City in the Senior Men’s four leg relay, courtesy of Finn Brodie, Morpeth Harriers A were settled comfortably in fifth spot, just a second adrift of the Morpeth B team, courtesy of Thomas Straughan, but well in contention, only a mere twelve seconds adrift, of the lead courtesy of Adam Pratt (10m45s).
It didn’t take long for Morpeth’s second leg runner James Young to grab the lead, however he may have slightly paid the price for doing this, as by the time the leg was completed, he had again slipped back into second place, and eighteen seconds adrift of leaders Tyne Bridge, who had an excellent 10m37s from Terry Scott,
whilst Young clocked 10m44s.
Morpeth did grab their winning lead however on the third leg, courtesy of Joe Armstrong’s 10m36s,
which emerged as the second fastest overall time of the day to Brodie’s first leg effort.
This now put the Morpeth squad firmly in the driving seat, as final leg runner Phil Winkler went out,
holding a twenty-one second margin over Tyne Bridge’s glory leg runner Mark Fenwick.
Whilst Fenwick did eat into Winkler’s lead considerably by clocking a very hand 10m42s,
Winkler’s 10m52s, ensured glory for Morpeth by the slender margin of eleven seconds.
Meanwhile Morpeth Harriers Senior Men, also had excellent performances from their B and D teams,
who finished fourth and fifth respectively.
With Straughan producing an excellent first leg for the B team, the following legs of Sam Hancox (10m49s),
Tom Innes (11m16s), and Andrew Lawrence (11m01s), kept them very much amongst the leading placers
The Morpeth Senior Men’s D team were made up entirely of Under 17 athletes, where Ross Charlton was their fastest performer on leg two, with a clocking of 10m39s, which eventually emerged as the fifth fastest overall, and the clubs second fastest on the day, eclipsing many more Senior performances.
Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men’s squad finished sixth, courtesy of Graeme Thorpe (12m06s),
Jason Dawson (12m51s), Jamie Johnson (12m59s), and Lee Bennett (11m36s),
who was one of the fastest on the day Veteran Men.
In the earlier Junior events, Morpeth Harriers very clearly won the Under 13 Boys team race,
courtesy of Bertie Marr (2nd) 8m34s, Joe Dixon (3rd) 8m35s, and Ryan Davies (4th) 8m38s.
The event was won by Blackhill’s Tom Slane in 8m32s.
Other Morpeth Under 13 Boys in action were Oliver Tomlinson (11th) 9m28s,
and Connor Phillips (46th) 11m19s, his first competitive outing.
Morpeth’s Under 15 Boys finished as second team to North Shields Poly, led home by Ben Waterfield (4th) 8m25s, with further team support coming from Dylan Davies (7th) 8m30s, and Sam Tate (15th) 8m58s.
In the Under 15 Girls event, Morpeth Harriers had two athletes in action, Sophie Coaker, who finished seventeenth in 10m47s, and Kate Gaffing in her first competitive outing, who finished in nineteenth place,
posting a time of 11m03s.