There were team gold, silver and bronze medals for Morpeth’s Over 35 women and Over 45 and 55 men respectively at the annual North East Masters Athletics Association Championships held at
Bedewell Park, Jarrow on Wednesday evening (1st May 2019).
Highlight of the night was certainly the comprehensive victory of Morpeth’s women, who beat their nearest rivals, Darlington Harriers, by a margin of exactly two minutes.
Helen King got the team off to a strong start on leg 1, trailing early leader Bernadette Laygill of Darlington by some 12 seconds, but Gemma Floyd had Morpeth up to first after leg 2 (11m 41s), and it was left to Jane Hodgson to conclude the good work. This she did in her customary emphatic fashion, posting the fastest women’s time of the night (11m 5s) and leaving other clubs trailing in her wake.
This was Morpeth’s women’s second relay victory in a matter of weeks following their success at Elswick
over the Easter weekend, and they will be in confident mood to hold on to another relay title
at the Gordon Smith Relays next Wednesday.
Claire Calverley was unfortunate in that the B team was hit by last minute drop-outs;
nevertheless she finished her leg in a time of 13m 31s.
(Morpeth’s team of Sue Smith, Lesley Chapman and Pam Woodcock also competed,
but at the present time seem to have been removed, Trotsky-like from the finishing results.)
In the second race of the night, Sunderland Harriers men’s teams dominated in both Over 35 and 45 categories, their 0/35s finishing narrowly ahead of Gateshead Harriers in a time of 29m 50s for overall 1st place with their O/45s in overall 3rd just over a minute behind. Conrad Franks of Gateshead,
however, running the overall fastest time of the night, 9m 43s.
Morpeth’s O/35s had new recruit Carl Donaldson on leg 1 for a highly respectable 10m 32s and O/50 Rob Hancox stepping down a category to run 11m 21s on leg 2. Sadly, 3rd leg runner Dave Swinburne was hit by a reoccurrence of a calf injury on leg 3 and forced to drop out.
There was better luck in the O/45s, however, with a great result for the A team of Graeme Thorpe (10m 45s), Fergus Bates (10m 40s) and Lee Bennett (10m 27s) who were 7th overall on the night
and second in their age category.
The O/45 B team of Paul Waterston (11m 53), Gary Hall (12m 2s) and, stepping down an age category like Rob, Tim Miley (12m 13s) were 5th in their category, but were disadvantaged by an unlucky Paul missing a postponed-then- changed- again start time. Paul gave Archie a piece of his mind at the end.
A further mixed category team of Andy Leeson (13m 13s, but like Paul missing the start),
Steve Johnstone (13m 15s) and Peter Scaife (13m 53s, not expecting to run…) were 13th in their category.
In the O/55 category, with Guy Bracken running for North Shields Poly, everyone else was running for 2nd place and in the end it went to Tyne Bridge, with Keith Smith, another quality veteran, turning out.
Morpeth’s team of Neil MacAnany, Paul Bellingham and Dave Nicholson did pick up a good bronze,
however. (Full results not yet available)