Saturday’s ERRA National Relays took place once again at Sutton Park in the Midlands with the six stage Senior Men’s race held over a 5.84 km hilly loop while the three stage Young Athletes races covered some 3.88 km.
Having qualified comfortably in the Northern Road Relays last month, the club’s Under 15 and Under 17 boys teams both took the next step onto the national stage and, while missing out on medals, could come away with their heads held high after strong performances.
First in action were the U/15s who finished in 7th place with a cumulative time of 39 minutes 54 seconds, with the race won by Birchfield Harriers in a time of 38:50.
On first leg Oliver Calvert had the team in 5th place with a time of 13 minutes 3 seconds, but Oliver Tomlinson got them into 2nd with 13:23 on leg 2. Joe Close on last leg ran 13:26 with the team finishing as third team from the North of England and comfortably inside the top ten.
They were followed by the U/17s who managed to go one better when finishing in 6th. Will de Vere Owen ran the team’s fastest time of the day (and the 9th fastest overall) when clocking 11:55 on leg 1 for 4th place, with Ryan Davies on leg 2 going out to 6th (12:36). Last leg runner Bertie Marr’s clocking of 12:21 saw the team maintain this position, although they were somewhat unhappy to finish behind fellow North Easterners Gosforth Harriers in 5th.
The team’s cumulative time was 36:52 with the race won by the very strong Wirral AC outfit who had also won in the Northern Relays, in a time of 35:34. The Morpeth team do have the satisfaction of knowing, however, that they have another year at this age group and can return to challenge in 2022.
The Men’s 6 stage was a very keenly contested competition with Aldershot and Farnham AC, for whom Luke Rowe ran the fastest time of the day (16:33), winning in 1:42:44 ahead of Leeds City AC (1:43:47) and Shaftesbury Barnet (1:44:06).
Morpeth’s team, which featured several runners returning to competition in the blue and white, were all close to each other in terms of leg times and, after leg 2, never outside the top ten, but were unable to challenge for the honours on this occasion.
Cameron Boyek on the as expected very fierce leg 1 ran 17:35 and came home in 20th place. Joe Armstrong (17:51) had the club upto 16th on leg 2 and George Rudman moved them into the top ten with his 17:37 for 9th on 3rd.
The team’s fastest leg of the day was recorded by Finn Brodie on leg 4 with his 17:21 moving them into 7th, and though they slipped one place on George Lowry’s leg 5 (18:03), Alex Brown ran 17:29, the club’s 2nd fastest time, to get them back into a final placing of 7th with a cumulative time of 1 hour 45 minutes and 56 seconds.
They did have the satisfaction of being 2nd team from the North of England behind Leeds City AC and ahead of all the clubs from the North West.
The only negative note would surely be that poor Liam Roarty was left on his own to run 17:51 on leg 1 for an incomplete B team. Surely a club with such a strong Senior Men’s set-up should be capable of filling at least one other team, as many other clubs on show did?