There were two individual and two team victories from Morpeth Juniors at the Heaton Harriers Remembrance Day Races on Sunday morning (10thNovember), while in the Senior 10k there were three North East Masters Gold medal performances from their older team mates.
Now in their 99th year, the Memorial Road Races have always been held on Remembrance Sunday, with the venue for many years now established as Newcastle’s Town Moor.
Fortunately for both organisers and competitors there was no reoccurrence of the overnight frosts that had led to the cancellation of the previous day’s Parkrun, although it remained a chilly morning throughout.
In the day’s first event, the Under 11 boys and girls 1kilometre race, Morpeth’s Iris Dungait was 5th girl and 8th overall finisher in a time of 4 minutes and 3 seconds.
While there were no runners in the U/13 races, there were no less than nine finishers in the Under 15s. Once again Joe Dixon had a fine run to win in a time of 9m 36s over the 3k course, and in the process beat the existing course record, taking some twenty seconds out of second place Silas Christie of Gosforth Harriers. With Ryan Davies (10:13) in 3rd and Matthew Walton (10:18) in 5th, Morpeth were also convincing winners of the team prize. Liam Roche was not far behind in 6th (10:19) and Will Devere Owen 7th (10:29).
In the girls race, Abi Leiper was 2nd in 10:55, some 19 seconds behind race winner Holly Waugh of North Shields Polytechnic Harriers, and with teammates Zara Naughton 9th (12:07) and Laura Melling 12th (12:58) the girls picked up a team silver.
There was a winning return to competitive action for Taylor Glover in the combined U17 and U20 races. A time of 15:31 for Glover saw him, like Dixon, set a new course record for the 5k distance.
Interestingly, 2nd place runner David Race of Gateshead Harriers broke the U17’s course record of Morpeth’s Scott Beattie (now of course at university in America) set several years ago when finishing in 15:43.
With Dylan Davies 6th in 17:17 and Dylan Gooding 12th in 19:24, the combined team also picked up a gold.
Kate Gaffing, meanwhile, was the club’s sole female representative, finishing as 3rd female in 21:48.
The traditional minute of silence preceded the main event of the day, the Senior Men’s and Women’s two lap 10k race, which this year also incorporated the NEMAA Championships.
Won by a visitor from Salford Harriers, Marc Brown, in a title of 30:41 with Gateshead’s Conrad Franks of Gateshead 2nd and Gus Withers 3rd, the race saw a debut in Morpeth colours for new recruit Liam Roarty,
who finished 13th in 33:14.
The women’s race was won by home club Heaton’s own Danielle Smythe in 36:05 with Lucy-Erin Hunter of Darlington 2nd and Gillian Manford of Gateshead 3rd. With Manford winning the female Over 35 title, Morpeth’s Rachelle Falloon ((37:35) was credited as 3rd Senior.
There were fine category wins and NEMAA gold medals also for Gavin Bayne, 1st male O/60 in 39:01, Dave Nicholson, 1st male O/65 in 39:41 and Pam Woodcock, 1st female 0/65 in 50:44.
Other Morpeth finishers included:
Ed Hillier, 82nd in 38:27; Jamie Johnson, 127th in 40:19; Jason Dawson, 237th in 43:54;
Michelle Thompson, 8th O/35 and 238th in 43:53; Claire Calverley, 11th O/40 and 240th in 43:51;
Paul Bellingham, 252nd and 13th O/55 in 44:19 and Mike Steven, 259th and 10th O/60 in 44:20.