The warm sunshine that athletes enjoyed over the Easter period, unfortunately had turned somewhat cooler for those taking part in the opening meeting of the 2019 Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Grand Prix series, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium, on the evening of Wednesday 24th April 2019.
Nevertheless, it didn’t take very long for things to warm up, created by some early season enthusiasm, generated by those taking part, including athletes from Morpeth Harriers, firmly intent on making some early season impression, as a result of their winter long preparations.
Some athletes were testing themselves out over the short sprint distances, and others, who were more distance specialists, were transferring their Winter Cross Country form into very respectable track performances.
Plus, there were other specialists, who tested themselves in the Jumps and Throws events that were on offer.
Twenty-four athletes from the club were in action on the night, with five of them achieving age group wins,
and there were also no fewer than fourteen personal best performances set by Morpeth athletes
within the course of the two and a half hours of competition.
One of the most impressive of those, came from Under 20 Man Matthew Waterfield,
who won the opening heat of the combined Under 17/Under 20/Senior 300m,
posting a time of 35.33s, taking almost a second off his previous best clocking.
Waterfield had also earlier finished as second in his age group in the 150m, posting a first-time
clocking of 16.60s, just missing out on a win overall by a mere fraction of a second.
Another impressive Morpeth age group winner on the night was Alistair Douglass,
who was first Senior Man in the Graded 1500m, posting an excellent new
personal best time of 4m03.86s, taking three seconds off his previous figures.
Robyn Bennett finished as fastest Senior Woman in the Graded 1500m, posting a time of 5m00.70s.
In the Field Events, Morpeth Harriers had two age group winners, courtesy of Bobbie Griffiths,
who threw a seasons best 38.02m in the Under 20 Women’s Javelin competition,
and first Year Under 17 Man Max Marr, who won the Long Jump, with new figures of 5.77m.
Another Morpeth Harrier competing in the Long Jump was Abbie Ross,
who was fourth in the Under 17 Women’s competition, producing a best effort of 4.34m.
Back on the track, and Morpeth Harrier Ross Charlton impressed in his first outing as an Under 20 Man,
finishing second in his age group in the Graded 1500m, posting a finishing time of 4m09.21s,
taking a massive eight seconds off his previous figures.
Another Morpeth Harrier who lined up in the opening heat of the graded 1500m
was Rowan Bennett, who was sixth fastest Under 17 Man, with his time of 4m20.21s.
In the Graded 150m, Morpeth athletes Sean O’Hara and David Storey were second and third Senior Men
with respective postings of 17.16s and 17.60s, the former representing a new personal best performance.
Morpeth Under 17 Women Holly Peck and Lily Heaton, both finished second fastest
respectively in the 1500m and 300m, with postings of 4m53.98s, and 46.91s.
Back with Field Events, and Morpeth athlete Olivia Gent, did well to finish third in the
Under 15 Girls Long Jump as a first year in her age group, setting new figures of 3.89m.
Gent was also fourth fastest Under 15 Girl in the 100m, posting a finishing time of 14.80s.
Max Marr was third fastest Under 17 Man in the 150m, which he was running
for the first time, and he posted a finishing time of 18.75s.
In another heat, Marr’s Under 20 Club colleague Robbie Anderson was first across the finish line,
posting a personal best time of 18.70s, which made him ninth fastest in his age group.
Also running for Morpeth in the Graded 150m were Senior Women Lynsey Cunningham and Laura Kincaid,
who emerged as fourth and fifth fastest in their age group, posting respective times of 22.34s and 22.54s.
The Graded 800m for Under 13 and Under 15 athletes, saw some
excellent performances produced by three Morpeth Harriers.
In Heat One, Ryan Davies and Bertie Marr, both as first year in the Under 15 Boys section,
finished fifth and sixth, with respective personal best times of 2m20.11s, and 2m20.57s.
Abi Leiper was also a superb performer, winning her heat in 2m32.73s, a new
personal best by three seconds, and fourth fastest in the Under 15 Girls age group.
Running in the Under 17 age group for the first time, Ben Waterfield, Dylan Gooding
and Dylan Davies all impressed over 1500m, posting new personal times of 4m23.02s,
4m26.67s, and 4m39.14s respectively.
Waterfield and Gooding bettered their previous bests by ten seconds,
and Davies bettered his by nine seconds.
Other Morpeth Harriers in action in the 1500m were Rhiannon Hedley, who competed
as a first year Under 17 Woman, and was fifth fastest with a time of 5m00.51s,
and newcomer Tayla Murdy who posted a time in her first outing, of 5m46.46s.
Ben Waterfield finished off a superb night for himself, when he posted a new personal
best over 300m, of 39.76s, making him fifth fastest Under 17 Man in the race.
In summing up, those Morpeth Harriers who competed on a relatively cold night,
certainly not the best conditions for Track and Field competition and are to be
warmly applauded for the efforts in their performance at this early part of the season,
which is most encouraging to say the least.