There is no doubt that the performance of Rory Leonard in the Graded 3000m event,
at the second Start Fitness sponsored North East Grand Prix Meeting,
held at Monkton Stadium, Jarrow, on Wednesday 24th May 2017, was the most eye-catching.
One of three Male Under 17 athletes, in a seventeen-strong field of mainly more Senior opposition,
Morpeth Harrier Leonard led them all home, posting a superb 8m43.0s, a time which was not only a new personal best, but also took him from 24th to fourth in the UK rankings, a massive leap for the newly crowned North-Eastern Counties 3000m Champion, and 1500m Bronze medallist.
Chasing him all the way home, and setting new figures of 8m44.1s,
was his more Senior club colleague Thomas Straughan,
whose time took him up to sixth in the regional rankings for his age group.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in the 3000m were Taylor Glover (5th) 8m55.7s,
and Daniel Dixon (7th) 9m05.2s, both performances representing new personal bests.
Another Morpeth Harriers star performer on the night was Joe Armstrong,
who won the opening Graded 800m event in 1m57.0s, which also won him
the coveted Jimmy Hedley Cup, presented in memory and honour of the legendary Jarrow Coach,
who mentored former World Mile Record Holder Steve Cram, during his equally legendary athletics career.
Not far behind Armstrong was his club colleague Kieran Hedley, who finished third, posting a time of 1m57.5s,
only a whisker outside his personal best, however the North-Eastern Counties Under 20 Men’s
1500m Bronze medallist could feel well pleased with his effort.
Third fastest Senior Man in the 800m Graded events was Morpeth Harrier Phillip Winkler,
who posted a finishing time of 1m59.3s.
Posting a new personal best time of 2m00.2s, Alistair Douglass of Morpeth Harriers was fifth fastest Senior Man.
Club colleague Jordan Scott was seventh fastest Senior Man, posting a time of 2m03.4s.
Morpeth Under 17 Man Ross Charlton, posted a new personal best time of 2m14.3s,
to finish as fourth fastest in his age group.
Ryan Davies of Morpeth Harriers posted a new personal best of 2m43.8s in the Under 13 Boys 800m,
where he was the eighth fastest in his age group.
Rhiannon Hedley had a welcome return to better form, when finishing
as fifth fastest Under 15 Girl in her 800m, posting a new personal best time.
In complete contrast, it was not the best of nights for her Morpeth Harriers club colleague Holly Peck.
Unfortunately, the newly crowned North Eastern 800m and 1500m champion
sustained a leg injury during her event, and was forced to limp home in 2m26.4s,
which was a very brave effort under the circumstances, where she was rewarded
with the seventh fastest time in her age group.
Fellow Morpeth Harrier Lily Heaton produced a new personal best time of 2m27.6s,
to finish as ninth fastest Under 15 Girl.
In the Under 15 Boys 1500m, Morpeth Harriers had three of their athletes in action.
Fastest of these was Jonnie Kidd, who posted a new personal best of 2m25.1s,
which was ninth equal fastest time overall in the age group.
Dylan Gooding and Dylan Davies finished virtually on top of each other,
posting new personal best times of 2m30.3s and 2m30.7s respectively,
which made them sixteenth and seventeenth fastest in the age group.
Excellent runs by Morpeth Harriers Joe Elder and Brad Brown saw them
post brand new personal best times of 52.9s and 59.7s in the Graded 400m events.
The times made them second fastest Senior Man, and third fastest Under 17 Man.
Posting a time of 23.0s in the Graded 200m events, Morpeth Harrier Sean O’Hara was fastest Under 20 Man.
Club colleague Kenny Harrison also posted new figures of 23.7s,
which made him second equal fastest Under 20 Man.
Naomi Arkle of Morpeth Harriers also competed in the Graded 200m events,
posting a time of 27.7s, which made her third fastest in her Under 20 Women’s age group.
In the Under 13 Girls 200m, Morpeth’s Olivia Gent was eighth fastest with 32.9s.
Morpeth’s Jacob Clayton was third fastest Under 15 Boy in the 200m, clocking a new personal best of 28.3s.
Ten athletes lined up in the 2000m Steeplechase event.
Morpeth Harriers Jake Masterman and Liam Marsh finished second and fifth,
posting times of 6m43.7s and 7m16.7s respectively.
The club had one Field specialist in action on the night.
Andrew Knight putted 14.73m in the Shot, finishing second to
Senior Man Craig Sturrock of Thames Valley Harriers,
formerly of Gateshead Harriers.