Relatively ideal running conditions were the order of the day for competitors competing
in the Annual Elswick Harriers Good Friday Road Races, held at Newburn Business Park.
Cloudy skies left conditions fairly cool, however there was little hint of wind,
which proved conducive to fast times being run, which were very quickly exploited
by Morpeth Harriers Senior Women, led by their International talent Laura Weightman,
and British Triathlon Star Daniel Dixon, who won the Under 15 Boys event, by posting a new course record.
Weightman also posted a new course record of 10m52s, beating her own
original set in 2016 by sixteen seconds, when she drove Morpeth Harriers Senior
Women into an emphatic first leg lead by the clear margin of seventy-one seconds
over the early second placers North Shields Poly.
Catriona MacDonald may have felt somewhat daunted as she took over on second leg
as she had no opponent in sight in front of her as she went out on second leg.
Although she was chased down a little, she still maintained an extensive margin,
as she got around the course in 12m29s, to hand over to final leg runner Jane Hodgson,
who came home in 12m29s, to confirm a new team course record of 35m46s,
beating their own by five seconds, which had been set in 2013.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women’s B team were also very close to a podium place,
when they came home fourth, posting a total time of 39m03s,
courtesy of Josie Cram (12m48s), Gemma Floyd (13m11s), and Lorna MacDonald (13m04s).
Posting a time of 7m52s, Morpeth Harrier Daniel Dixon retained his
Under 15 Boys title in fine style, and broke his own course record by four seconds.
He won by a margin of twelve seconds from Houghton’s Henry Johnson,
with Blyth’s Josh Fiddaman taking third place.
Just missing out on an individual podium place was Dixon’s
Morpeth Harriers club colleague Ross Charlton, who finished fourth in 8m21s.
Charlton was compensated however by joining Dixon in an excellent team triumph,
along with Brad Brown, who finished in tenth place in 9m20s.
Other Morpeth Under 15 Boys performances came from
Andrew Hudspith (14th) 9m30s, and William Donaldson (19th) 9m56s.
Video courtesy of John Charlton
Posting a time of 9m08s, Morpeth’s Holly Peck was a very
clear winner of the Under 15 Girls race, winning by a margin of
fourteen seconds from Jarrow’s Sophie Robson,
with Houghton’s Eva Hardie finishing third, just a mere second adrift.
Morpeth’s Lily Heaton finished fifth in 10m08s.
Gateshead Harriers won the Senior Men’s 4 Stage Relay
by overhauling early leaders Tyne Bridge and Birtley.
However, they were made to work very hard by
a determined Morpeth Harriers A team in the final run in.
Only twenty-seven seconds divided the two squads in the end,
with Morpeth having fine performers in James Young (10m33s),
Thomas Straughan (10m29s), Andrew Lawrence (11m16s),
and a second fastest Carl Avery (10m22s).
Morpeth Harriers Senior Men also had the best B team performers,
who finished seventh, courtesy of Karl Taylor (10m54s), Alistair Douglass (11m49s),
Liam Marsh (11m35s), and Mark Snowball (11m20s).
Tom Innes and newcomer Dean Lonsdale competed for an
incomplete Morpeth Senior Men’s C team
clocking 12m08s and 13m15s respectively.
In the Veteran Men’s 4 Stage Road Relay, Morpeth Harriers also made the podium,
finishing an excellent third behind Sunderland Harriers and Crook.
Rob Hancox made an excellent start for the A team, being the fastest Over 50 on the course,
as he posted a first leg finishing time of 12m11s, finishing fifth overall.
The squad progressed to their final third placing, courtesy of Graeme Thorpe,
on his relay debut for the club (12m01s), Phil Walker,
making a long-awaited comeback (12m31s), and Paul Waterston (12m40s).
Morpeth’s Veteran Men’s B team proved to be the first B team,
when they finished ninth overall, courtesy of Alistair MacDonald (12m41s),
debutant Gary Hall (13m12s), Dave Nicholson (13m20s), and Paul Bellingham (13m45s).
Hard work by Peter Scaife on the team managers front saw
Morpeth Harriers being able to field a C team, who finished
an excellent 24th overall courtesy of Ben Abbott (16m59s),
and Andy Leason (13m53s), who were both making their relay debut’s,
Kevin Bray (15m01s), who was recovering from a bout of “Shingles,”
and Chris Waugh (14m09s), who very much stepped in at the last minute,
to ensure completion of a team, who were the leading C team.
Morpeth Harriers Veteran Women also performed well.
Their A team finished eighth behind winners North Shields,
courtesy of Vicky Gibbs (14.17s), making a welcome return
to action following injury, Helen King (14m23s), and Jane Briggs (15m16s).
Morpeth also had a B team in the competition, which finished 27th overall,
and they were sixth ranked B team courtesy of Sue Smith (16m33s),
Jacinta Wake (16m32s), and Margaret MacDonald (17m25s).
Dylan Davies led Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys home to fourth team place.
He finished ninth in 9m15s, and further team support came from
Sam Tate (9m40s), and Ben Waterfield (19th) 9m59s.
Morpeth’s other runner in the Under 13 Boys event was
James Tilley, who finished in 23rd place in 10m29s.
In what is probably his last outing on the roads in the Under 11 age group,
Morpeth’s Ryan Davies, younger brother of Dylan, produced a superb run
to finish third in 6m41s, and earned himself a much-deserved podium place.
Another prominent Morpeth Harriers finisher in the Under 11 Boys
event was Dylan Walker, who ran well to finish ninth in 6m59s.
Morpeth’s other finisher in this event was Joe Dixon,
younger brother of Daniel, who finished 37th in 9m03s.
In the Under 11 Girls event, Morpeth Harriers had two finishers in Keira Peck,
younger sister of Holly, who finished ninth in 8m11s,
and Sadie Charlton, younger sister of Ross, who was sixteenth in 9m14s.