Morpeth Harrier John Butters proved to be a thirty-one second clear winner
of the 23rd annual running of the Angus Tait Memorial
Hexhamshire Hobble Fell Race, held on Sunday 4th December.
The tough event, run over grassed areas on Hexhamshire Common,
attracted a total finishing field of 153 very enthusiastic tough competitors,
hellbent on entering the seasonal spirit of the outdoors,
including no less than eighteen equally enthusiastic
Morpeth Harriers, led by race-winner Butters.
Sadly the 2015 event was cancelled due to extremely icy conditions,
however thankfully there was no sign of that on this occasion as the
runners toed the start line on the playing field of Allendale Primary School.
The run is now held annually in memory of Angus Tait, a well-known local fell runner,
who very sadly passed away in 2009 after a long battle with cancer.
Throughout his illness, Tait, who was also a founder member of Tynedale Harriers
and later Northumberland Fell Runners, continued to turn out in local Fell events,
including this particular race, which was a favourite, and it is a much fitting tribute
that organising club Allen Valley Striders continue to host this event in his memory.
These factors would clearly not be lost on Butters, also a member of
Northumberland Fell Runners in addition to his Morpeth allegiance,
as he crossed the finish line, after covering the 10.4mile/16.8k hilly distance in 69m32s.
Having missed the event in 2014 due to injury, Butters would be pleased
to finish seventy-seven seconds quicker than his 2013 outing, when he had finished sixth.
Second and third places went to Sam Stille of Team Newcastle Triathlon,
and James Osborne of Durham Fell Runners.
Other prominent Morpeth Harriers finishers were
Mark Snowball (6th) 72m42s, and Tim Miley (11th) 76m49s.
Miley was also first Veteran Man Over 50.
Matthew Briggs was next Morpeth Harrier home, finishing 20th in 79m51s.
Finishing 34th in 84m31s, Morpeth’s Catriona MacDonald
was second Senior Woman finisher, behind Tynedale Veteran
Karen Robertson, who finished 29th in 82m29s.
Next Morpeth Harriers finisher was Catriona’s father Alistair, who was 47th in 87m57s,
just ahead of club colleague Richard Kirby (48th) 88m00s.
MacDonald was eighth Over 50 Veteran Man, and Kirby was fifteenth Over 40 Veteran Man.
Further Morpeth Harriers finishers were as follows
Mike Steven (56th) (10th O/50 Man) 90m16s,
Bob Sewell (70th) 2nd O/60 Man) 93m56s,
Jane Briggs (84th) (14th Woman) (5th O/40) 97m45s,
Gwenda Cavill (86th) (16th Woman) (3rd O/50) 98m05s,
Lindsay Turnbull (92nd) (18th Woman) (6th O/40) 98m50s,
Kim Taylor (96th) (21st Woman) (5th O/50) 100m49s,
Paul Banks (126th) (38th O/40) 110m21s,
Clare Walker (139th) (44th Woman) 122m33s,
Jane Kirby (140th) (45th Woman) (17th O/40) 122m34s,
Jacinta Wake (143rd) (46th Woman) (11th O/50) 126m53s,
and Sue Smith (144th) (47th Woman) (12th O/50) 126m53s.
A very enjoyable Sunday morning experience enjoyed by all,
and many thanks to everyone who helped to make the event safe for all.