Although there were no medals to show, Morpeth Harriers athletes produced some fine performances in the five events where they featured at the annual English Road Running Association 6 and 4 Stage and Young Athletes Road Relays, sponsored again by Start Fitness, and held on the much tried and tested circuits of Sutton Park, at Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham on Saturday 6th October 2018.
The early events for Young Athletes, where the club had three teams in action, unfortunately were the one’s to suffer from the effects of the early morning rain showers, which eventually gave way to much drier conditions, with just a mere hint of sunshine, when the Seniors took to the action,
where Morpeth had two teams who faced the starter.
Best performers on the day for the club were the Under 17 Men, who in their three-stage contest,
finished just outside the medals in fifth place, following Daniel Melling’s first leg efforts, where he clocked 12m23s,
which saw the squad in eighteenth place, but only a few seconds adrift of a top ten slot.
This clearly set the stall out well for a superb on the day result, as second leg runner Ross Charlton
clawed back an excellent fourteen places, when clocking the fifth overall fastest time of the leg of 12m04s.
Final leg runner Tom Balsdon clearly gave his all in the chase for medals but was unfortunate to just lose a place in the final strides to the fast finishing Joseph Green of fellow northerners Lincoln Wellington, despite clocking the legs ninth fastest time of 12m25s.
The final placing of fifth, which although was significantly good in terms of their regional and area placing,
in that they were second in the former, they were also three places ahead of North East rivals Houghton,
keeping up their premier position in area terms.
Unfortunately, Morpeth’s Under 15 Boys, who were Northern Champions at Sports City two weeks ago, just lost out by three places and seventeen seconds in this National contest, to Manchester rivals Salford Harriers.
Ben Waterfield had the squad placed 35th on the first leg with his clocking of 13m40s,
which at the time was just over a minute adrift of the minor medals.
As in Manchester, Euan Duffin took on the second leg responsibility, and performed superbly to take the squad up a mammoth twenty-three places, posting the third fastest time of the leg of 12m45s,
which at the end was just outside the top ten overall.
Dylan Davies maintained their final position of twelfth all the way round the tough 3.66k circuit,
when he clocked 13m27s, which was just outside the top ten times of the leg.
Against National opposition this was a superb achievement for this age group, and hopefully
there will be more honours to come for them as the winter campaign gets into full swing.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Men finished twelfth in their 6 x 5.88k Relay, with their fastest time being set on first leg, courtesy of Sam Hancox’s 17m44s, which gave them an early placing of seventeenth out of 77 starting teams.
George Lowry, who had missed the Northern Championships, came into the squad on second leg,
and took them up to thirteenth, with a very sound 17m50s.
Third leg saw them progress excellently to eleventh spot courtesy of Under 20 athlete Taylor Glover,
who posted 18m26, in what was his first Senior National.
Also making his National debut on fourth leg for Morpeth was Alex Brown, recently transferred from Houghton.
Brown posted a time of 18m15s, as he maintained eleventh place throughout.
Despite Jordan Scott’s 18m39s on leg five, they were just caught by a chasing Derby runner, and slipped to twelfth, a position they managed to maintain throughout Thomas Straughan’s final leg clocking of 18m27s.
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys performed extremely well to finish nineteenth
out of 64 complete teams in their 3 x 3.66k Relay.
They were also fifth from the North, and the only representatives from the North East area.
Joe Dixon battled well on the first leg, to finish 49th, posting a time of 15m06s.
Second leg runner Ryan Davies took them up a further 27 places,
with his excellent ninth fastest of the leg clocking of 14m17s.
Final leg runner Bertie Marr climbed a further three places, as he posted a time of 14m18s.
This was a first-time experience of National competition for these athletes,
and their club contribution was immense.
The Senior Women’s 4 x 4.33k presented tough competition for the Morpeth Senior Women’s squad,
who battled well throughout to finish an excellent 42nd of 67 complete teams.
They were also fifteenth from the North, but were one of only two from the region, the other being Tyne Bridge.
Gracie Hufton had the squad well placed in 50th position on the opening leg
as she got around the course in 16m59s.
Claire Calverley, in her first National, finished 60th on second leg, posting a time of 19m02s.
Lorna MacDonald took them back up to 51st with her third leg clocking of 17m08s,
and Rachelle Falloon, making her National debut for Morpeth,
took the squad up to their final placing courtesy of her clocking of 16m42s.
This was a good sound effort from a squad, where only Lorna MacDonald had experienced the level of competition, and there will undoubtedly be more to come from them over the winter period, watch this space !