Andrew Knight, James Young, Euan Duffin, and Bobbie Griffiths of Morpeth Harriers all produced excellent winning performances at the sixth and final Start Fitness sponsored North East Grand Prix Meeting,
held at Gateshead Stadium on the evening of Wednesday 8th August 2018.
A total of twenty athletes were in action on a night that was once again blessed with decent
competition weather, and seven new personal bests were also achieved by athletes from the club.
One of those personal bests was indeed outstanding,
as Andrew Knight easily won the Under 17 Men’s Shot Putt competition.
The English Schools Silver medallist, making one of his last appearances in a Morpeth vest prior to his family move South, produced a new personal best of 17.48m, which not only extended his status as second in his age group in the UK, but also increased his best performance by a massive 52cm on previous, elevated him from 41st to 20th in the all time Under 17 Men’s performers, and he remains a firm number one in the region.
His season long performances have won him many plaudits, including English selectors,
which has won him a place at the prestigious Schools Games,
to be held at Loughborough at the beginning of September.
Knight will also compete in the forthcoming England Athletics Championships
at Bedford later this month, before winding up his highly successful season.
His Morpeth coach Paul Reed was also present at Gateshead on the night to witness Knight’s excellent performance, one of the last occasions he would see his prized charge in action in the region.
Another Morpeth athlete who has had an excellent 2018 Track season is James Young,
whose form has seen him win both Northern and Regional titles.
On Wednesday, a very much in form James added another success to his tremendous season,
when he won the 3000m Graded Race in a new personal best time of 8m32.54s,
which was around a fifty second improvement on his previous best for the distance,
which had been at the same venue in 2015, and when he had been an Under 20 athlete.
He won with just over three seconds to spare over club colleague Kieran Hedley,
who also established a new personal best of 8m36.05s, taking around five seconds off his previous figures.
Young and Hedley had kicked away from long term leader Greg Jayasuriya
at the bell in the seven and a half lap event, however on that last lap,
Young clearly showed that he was not about to be beaten.
Another Morpeth Harrier running well in the event was Under 17 Man Tom Balsdon.
Balsdon’s progression throughout the season has been phenomenal,
and in this his first ever 3000m, he performed with distinction against
more Senior opposition to finish fifth in an excellent 9m15.20s,
a time that places him inside the Top 100 for his age group in the UK, and seventh regionally.
Other Morpeth Harriers in action in the Graded 3000m were Andrew Lawrence,
who twenty-four hours earlier had been competing in his clubs’ 10k event.
Lawrence finished fifteenth in the A race in 9m40.44s and was followed home
by club colleagues Ross Charlton and Alistair Douglass, who finished seventeenth
and eighteenth in respective times of 9m45.08s, and 9m48.32s.
In the slower run B race, Holly Peck finished third in 10m29.12s, taking a whole
twenty seconds off her previous best for the distance, which she had set in 2016.
Peck was also a good twenty seconds faster than her closest Under 17 rival
Sophie Robson of Jarrow, who was three places behind her.
The Under 15 age group 3000m saw a superb performance by Morpeth Harrier Euan Duffin,
who literally took up the front running before half way, to record a winning time of 9m28.33s,
in what was his first attempt at the distance.
He won with thirty-four seconds to spare from his closest rival
Charlie Daley of Tynedale Harriers, with Morpeth’s Dylan Davies
securing third place in 10m16.11s, taking nearly two seconds off his previous figures.
Duffin’ s winning time places him seventeenth in the UK for his age group, and now No 2 regionally.
Back to Field Events, and Bobbie Griffiths, having just returned from a family holiday,
showed that she still had the zest for competition, as she proved too good for her rivals,
throwing a good 38.15m in the Javelin competition.
Morpeth’s Max Marr finished second in the Under 15 Boys Long Jump, with his best effort of 5.05m.
Also competing in the Long Jump was his club colleague Abby Leiper,
who was third Under 15 Girl, producing a best effort of 4.30m.
In the Under 17 Women’s Long Jump, Morpeth’s Kayleigh Wenn finished second with her best effort of 3.74m.
Back with Track Events, and Morpeth’s Alistair Douglass finished third to
Tynedale’s Daniel Joyce in the Graded 400m in 52.56s, and was second fastest Senior Man.
The younger age group 200m events saw four Morpeth athletes face the starter.
Olivia Gent was fourth fastest Under 13 Girl, posting a time of 30.76s.
In the Under 13 Boys event, Bertie Marr was third fastest, posting a time of 31.43s.
Morpeth’s Charlie Lane won the Under 15 Boys 200m by a hairsbreadth
from Sunderland Harrier John Harris, posting a time of 26.06s.
Club colleague Max Marr finished third in 27.26s.
Three Morpeth Harriers took part in the younger age group 800m events.
Rhiannon Hedley finished fourth in the Under 15 Girls event, posting a time of 2m27.03s.
Ryan Davies made it a good night for his family, emulating older brother Dylan by
setting new figures of 2m27.56s in the Under 13 Boys 800m, when finishing third.
One place behind him was Bertie Marr, who posted a time of 2m31.21s, also a new personal best.
Lily Heaton of Morpeth Harriers competed in the second of two graded 800m events,
finishing seventh, and was second Under 17 Woman, posting a time of 2m28.51s.