Whilst a torrential downpour seriously affected competing conditions at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London, athletes taking part in the sixth and final Start Fitness North Eastern Grand Prix at Gateshead Stadium on the evening of Wednesday 9th August 2017, were blessed with sunny conditions, laced with a slight wind,
which made it relatively ideal for all, including 20 members from Morpeth Harriers,
who were taking one of their last opportunities to compete in outdoor Track and Field for 2017.
The only obstacle that athletes faced on the night however, was a slick of oil, from an unknown source,
which had not been cleared up, and rendered at least three of the eight lanes inoperable for 200m and 400m,
which ultimately forced officials into setting athletes into more heats than desired,
and severely lengthened the already busy programme schedule into later in the night.
On to the athletics itself however, and a total of ten new personal bests were achieved
by athletes from the club, eight on the track, and two from the field by one athlete.
In the final, and longest event of the night, the graded 3000m,
all of the four club athletes in the line-up, achieved brand new figures.
James Taylor, who finished fourth overall, set new figures of 8m54.77s,
taking a massive eleven seconds off his previous figures.
Next from the club to finish in the event was Mark Snowball,
who was having his first outing over the seven and a half lap event,
and he clocked 9m37.38s, when finishing twelfth.
One place behind Mark, was his club colleague Mhairi MacLennan,
who posted new figures of 9m42.51s, taking a whole ten seconds off her previous best.
Completing the Morpeth quartet was Thomas Innes,
who finished fifteenth in 10m00.51s, also a new personal best.
Alistair Douglass proved to be fastest Senior Man in the Graded 800m,
when he finished second in the A race, posting a fractional new personal best of 1m57.42s,
one place ahead of club colleague Kieran Hedley, whose 1m58.14s, made him fastest Under 20 Man.
Joe Armstrong finished seventh in the A race in 1m59.71s,
one place ahead of his Morpeth club colleague Rory Leonard,
who clocked 2m00.59s, shaving a fraction off his new personal best.
Another Morpeth athlete in the A race was Joe Dowd, who finished tenth in 2m04.70s.
In the B race, two athletes from the club were amongst those in action.
Joe Ramshaw finished second in 2m02.11s, just one place ahead of Taylor Glover (2m02.47s).
These postings made them fourth and fifth fastest in their Under 17 age group.
Ramshaw also took on the one lap race over 400m, where he posted
new figures of 54.4s, when taking the B race, and was the fastest Under 17 Man.
Another new Morpeth personal best in the 400m, came from
Under 20 athlete Dean Lonsdale, who was first home in the D race,
clocking 56.36s, he was fourth fastest in his age group.
Neil McAnany of Morpeth won the fifth 400m E race in 60.76m.
Back with two lap 800m races, where two Morpeth Harriers
were in action in the Under 15 Girls event.
Holly Peck looked to be winning her race, until she was caught
by North Shields Poly’s Rosie Hughes in the final 200m.
Whilst Hughes ran home for an unexpected victory, Peck bravely rallied,
and reached the finish line in 2m26.26s.
It has been a very long and busy season for Peck,
and will probably now take a competitive breather for a few days.
Finishing one place and nine seconds adrift of Peck, was club colleague Lily Heaton.
In the 200m Jacob Clayton finished fourth in the second heat for his Under 15 Boys age group, in 28.83s.
Fellow Morpeth Under 15 Boy Alfie Ward was certainly in superb form in the Field Events.
He produced a superb new personal best in the Pole Vault, with a clearance of 2.20m,
and another fractional personal best in the Long Jump, with 4.79m.
Morpeth Harriers also had Andrew Knight and Charlotte Pickering-Pruvot in action in the Shot Putt.
Knight won the Under 17 Men’s competition, by Putting a best of 14.58m,
and Pickering-Pruvot very easily took the Under 17 Women’s competition,
with her best of her series of efforts reaching 12.83m.
Final Grand Prix performances are still to be ratified, for the league presentation
to be held at the end of September, these will be posted on the
North-Eastern Counties Athletics Association website on
www.necaa.weebly.com when known.