Ross Floyd recorded the fastest time at the Whalton Festive 5 miler at the weekend with a clocking of 25 minutes and 58 seconds. .
In order to enable social distancing and avoid large groups, the race was organised with what has become the pattern over the last few months of a ‘wave start’ of eight to ten individuals of similar predicted finishing times.
The course followed the route of the old ‘Whalton Classic’ that Morpeth Harriers used to organise on the same day as the Great North Run, with an anti-clockwise loop running through Whalton village to Ogle and back.
The race certainly proved popular with those missing the traditional Boxing Day Pudding Run at Whitley Bay and parkruns across the region, with a total of some 117 finishers and a number of quality performances.
Floyd finished some 9 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Ben Chown of 26.2 Road Runners Club with Gateshead’s Conrad Franks in third having just lost out to Chown in the run-in. Floyd professed himself very happy with the win, all the more so after the sleep deprivation the latest addition to his family has been causing him over the last few weeks.
Philippa Williams of Sheffield RC, back in the NE for Christmas, was first female finisher with a time of 28m 50s. Elswick youngster Amy Fuller was second (29:39) and Birtley’s Katie Francis third (30:16).
Morpeth Under 20 Dan Melling was 4th overall in 26:54 and Paul Banks 3rd Over 45 in 30:39.
Morpeth’s evergreen Over 65s Gavin Bayne and Dave Nicholson continued their recent rivalry, with Bayne, who had lost out over 3,000m to Nicholson in the summer, gaining the bragging rights this time in an impressive 33:08, Nicholson some way behind in 34: 50. Despite the difficulties of 2020, both athletes are now near the top of the Power of Ten rankings for their age categories (Bayne 2nd for 5 mile, Nicholson 6th) and looking forward to the resumption of Masters fixtures, hopefully sometime soon in 2021.
Morpeth’s John Clark was 43rd in 36:08 and Clare Walker 31st female finisher in 46:52.
The previous weekend had seen a run organised along similar lines at Derwent Reservoir by Wild Deer Events, again over a 5-mile course. A trail race this time taking in some muddy terrain, Morpeth’s Ali Douglas was fastest finisher in 28 minutes 36 seconds, having gradually reeled in club colleague Jordan Scott, 2nd in 28:51.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country Nick McCormick clocked an impressive 14 minutes 21 seconds, his fastest time for six years, to place 7th at the Podium 5k at Barrowford, Lancashire, in a race won by Emile Cairess in 14:11 with Ross Millington 2nd (14:12) and Joe Wigfield 3rd (14:13).