Several athletes from Morpeth Harriers were in competitive action at Sunday’s second NECAA Open Track and Field Meeting, held at Middlesbrough Sports Village.
Thankfully, the dreadful rainstorms of Saturday had abated, however a strong cool wind was still in evidence as athletes battled their way through the lengthy programme of events.
Two athletes who certainly got on with the job in hand were siblings Edward and Jessica Gardiner, who both competed in the mixed-age group Discus competition, and for once both in the same pool.
It was good for both of them, with the older Jessica, giving younger brother Edward much encouragement throughout their individual competitions.
For Edward it was a particularly successful day, as throwing the heavier 1.5k disc as a first year Under 17 Man, he managed a new massive personal best distance of 31.15m, taking almost two metres off his previous figures, a distance that also saw him now sit as number one regionally, and for a brief time took him into the top twenty in the UK rankings for his age group.
It also provided Edward with an on-the-day victory over his fellow Under 17 rivals, the closest challenge, coming from Gateshead Harrier Cameron Marshall (17.56m).
Jessica also triumphed on the day, producing a best of 32.16m with the 1k disc, which was a season’s best.
Jessica, who had competed in monsoon conditions at Hull on the previous day in an England Athletics Invitational event, won her Under 20 Women’s competition from Jarrow and Hebburn’s Ellie O’Halloran, who managed a best of 18.11m.
Neil Ellerby, who coaches both Edward and Jessica, is very pleased with the way their respective training is going and is confident that Edward will continue to push his PB even further over the season as he competes for various titles.
Another Morpeth Harriers field eventer in fine competitive action was Under 20 Female Charlotte Earl.
The Vina Desai-coached athlete won the Triple Jump, by producing an on-the-day best of 10.72m, also winning her age group from New Marske Harrier Libby Currie, who managed a best of 9.92m.
Morpeth’s other field eventer in action was Abbie Ross, who produced an on-the-day best of 4.74m in the Long Jump, winning the Under 20 Female competition.
On the track, Morpeth Harriers saw two on the day winners in the form of Joseph Close and William De Vere-Owen in separate 1500m events.
Close, who is still partly coached by Borders coach Henry Gray, has come on leaps, and bounds since linking up with Morpeth Harriers, and their middle-distance coach Mike Bateman, and on Sunday, he very clearly showed his depth of progress, when he took a whole twelve seconds off his previous 1500m figures.
The former Tweed Striders athlete very clearly won his three- and three-quarter lap heat in 4m36.10s, winning by just over six seconds from Under 15 Girl Charlotte Dillon of Durham City.
Closest finisher to Close in his own Under 15 Boys age group was Darlington Harrier Harry Lyons, who clocked 4m47.88s in the following race.
Under 17 athlete De Vere-Owen won that race in 4m20.12s, taking victory from Allerton Under 20 athlete Holden Outhwaite by just under two seconds.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishing in this event were fellow Under 17 Men, Liam Roche, who placed fifth in 4m23.52s, taking a whole five seconds off his previous figures, and Ryan Davies, who was sixth in 4m23.76s, after leading the field for part of the way.
In another 1500m event, Senior Man Alistair Douglass finished fourth in 4m03.36s, almost breaking his personal best, and Under 17 athlete Bertie Marr finished twelfth, setting new figures of 4m19.94s, taking four seconds off his previous best.
Molly Roche, younger sister of Liam, clearly enjoyed her first outing over 1500m, finishing fifth in a strong field of twelve.
The Under 13 athlete posted a time of 6m04.45s.
Very clearly all the athletes taking part enjoyed their day of competition, even though still being subject to strict Covid Regulations, compared to 2020, which saw a virtual washout on activity, which was not only a great loss to the sport, but also saw the loss of some good athletes.