There was undoubtedly a chilly edge to conditions at the second meeting of the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League, held at Aykley Heads. on Saturday 21st November 2015.
The overnight sleet and snow had largely given way to a very heavy wet surface, on what could very easily be described as one of the toughest of courses, which involved a very steep uphill climb.
Nevertheless the hearts of athletes from Morpeth Harriers were very
much warmed by the clubs performances in the scoring events,
which saw four individual victories out of four in the Male events,
which also included one team win, two second team places, and one third.
In the Women’s events, it was the clubs Under 17 and
Under 20 athletes who shone as a team,
as they finished second on the day in their event.
Additionally the club also had some fine individual performers, who may well
have brought more honours if they had been given some competitive support.
One of the clubs best individual performances came from Scott Beattie,
who worked his way around the two lap Under 17 Men’s course as though he owned it,
and won by a margin of twenty two seconds from the Fast Pack,
clocking the fastest time of the day, with his closest challenger
for pace being around thirty six seconds adrift.
Whilst Beattie was clearly a class apart, the supporting
runs of his club colleagues Josh Burton and Cameron Kirk,
who finished ninth and seventeenth from the Slow Pack,
gave Morpeth a second team place behind co hosts Durham City,
who only won the day by a slender two points.
Also competing in this event for Morpeth was Adam Shewry,
who finished 25th from the Fast Pack.
The three lap Senior Men’s event also saw a Morpeth Harriers
individual winner in Kevin Calvert, who seized his winning opportunity
with a rare run from the Slow Pack, where he was clearly well ahead
of his closest rivals, as he won with just over a minute to spare.
He led his club to second team place on the day in Division One,
again behind co hosts, Durham City, only losing out for a team win by eighteen points.
Calvert had excellent club support firstly from Carl Avery,
who worked his way through from a Fast Pack start to finish in tenth place,
posting the second fastest time of the day behind Durham’s Dan Jenkin,
who finished two places ahead of him, and was a mere seventeen seconds faster.
Next Morpeth counter was Tim Miley, who finished 29th from the Slow Pack.
Further supporting runs came from Sam Hancox (47th) (Fast Pack),
Thomas Straughan (60th) (Fast Pack), and Mike Winter (70th) (Slow Pack).
Further Morpeth Harriers Senior Men performances came from Mark Cockburn (74th) (Medium Pack),
Steve Haswell (90th) (Slow Pack), Michael Thomsen (106th) (Medium Pack),
Steve Patterson (127th) (Medium Pack), Paul Waterston (189th) (Medium Pack),
Mick Skeldon (207th) (Slow Pack), Rob Hancox (226th) (Medium Pack),
Richard Kirby (253rd) (Slow Pack), Eric Adams (328th) (Slow Pack),
and David Nicholson (387th) (Slow Pack).
The Senior Men’s event had a record equalling finishing field of 592 runners.
Morpeth Harriers had an excellent on the day team victory in the one lap Under 15 Boys event.
They were led home by Rory Leonard, who is fast making a name for himself in the Morpeth squad,
and he certainly maintained his current dearth of form by winning the event outright from the Slow Pack,
and by the comfortable margin of twenty eight seconds over his closest rival.
Leonard’s time was actually the sixth fastest of the day.
One of the athletes ahead of him in terms of time was clubmate Taylor Glover,
whose superb run from the Fast Pack brought him home
as his clubs second counter in ninth place, and he was third fastest overall.
Morpeth Harriers scoring tally was completed by Brad Brown,
who in his first Harrier League appearance performed well from the Slow Pack,
finishing seventeenth, just one place ahead of club colleague Ross Charlton,
whose superb run from the Fast Pack made him overall seventh fastest.
Other Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boy performances came from
Joe Dowd (25th) (Fast Pack), Daniel Melling (28th) (Fast Pack),
Connor Marshall (34th) (Fast Pack), Matthew Waterfield (40th) (Fast Pack),
Sam Bradley (41st) (Slow Pack), and Alex Cunningham (54th) (Fast Pack).
An excellent turn out in this event saw a total of 60 finishers take part.
There were even more in the Under 13 Boys event, where 71 athletes faced the starter.
From a Slow Pack start, whippet like Bobby Stone of Morpeth Harriers led the field home,
winning by the margin of fourteen seconds over his closest rival.
Stone led his club to third team place on the day behind winners Durham City,
and second placed Houghton Harriers.
Further team support came from Jack Barrett (19th) (Slow Pack),
and Alex Porteous (33rd) (Slow Pack).
Other Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys performances came from
Joshua Adams (50th) (Slow Pack), Aaron Haldane (58th) (Slow Pack),
and Reece Garrett (68th) (Slow Pack).
In the Female events, Morpeth Harriers best team performance came
in the combined Under 17/Under 20 Women’s two lap event,
where the club finished a close second, again to co hosts Durham City,
only losing out by a slender six points.
The Morpeth squad were led home by Charlotte Jewell,
who ran well to finish seventh from the Slow Pack, and was third Under 20 finisher.
Three places behind Charlotte was the clubs second finisher Alison Brown,
whose Fast Pack run was fifth fastest on the day,
which was a superb performance in the very testing conditions.
Morpeth’s third and closing count came from Lizzie Rank,
who was three places behind Alison in thirteenth place from the Slow Pack.
The clubs other runner in this event, Abby Sheldon, produced a steady run
from the Fast Pack, finishing 25th overall, posting the twelfth fastest time.
Making a rare North East appearance,
and her first since her Beijing track disappointments,
Morpeth’s Laura Weightman clearly showed that she has lost none of her zest for strong competition,
when running from the Fast Pack, she carved her way through the majority of the 398 strong field of Senior Women’s finishers to finish seventh overall, posting the third fastest time of the day,
thirty eight seconds adrift of second placed Amelia Pettit
of Vale Royal, running in the colours of Newcastle University,
and only thirteen seconds behind Durham City’s Rosie Smith,
who had finished one place in front of her.
Another excellent Morpeth performance came from Josie Cram,
who also running from the Fast Pack worked her way through to finish 25th, posting the ninth fastest time over the two lap course.
Morpeth’s other finisher in this event was Shuna Rank,
who finished 209th from the Slow Pack.
It was good to see Morpeth Under 15 Girl Kate Seymour back in action,
and she quickly made great strides by finishing third from the Slow Pack,
picking up an individual Harrier League medal.
She also posted the fifteenth fastest time in a 58 strong field of finishers,
who included club colleague Gracie Hufton, who finished 26th from the Fast Pack.
Holly Peck certainly continued her splendid run of excellent form when she worked her way through the majority of the 65 strong field of Under 13 Girl finishers, to finish fourth from the Fast Pack, posting the fastest overall time by a margin of twenty six seconds over her closest rival. Also having a good run in the Morpeth Harriers colours in this event was Rhiannon Hedley, who finished 14th from the Fast Pack,
posting the seventh fastest time overall.
The non scoring Under 11 events for Boys and Girls
saw four Morpeth Harriers face the starter.
In the Boys event Jack Livingston produced an excellent run
to finish seventh out of a field of 81, that included Dylan Walker, who finished 30th.
The 80 strong Girls field included Lauren Garrett and Sophia Cunningham,
who finished in 42nd and 48th places respectively.
Harrier League action continues again this coming Saturday,
with the third fixture being held at Druridge Bay Country Park
for the very first time, courtesy of organisers Blyth Running Club.
Action as usual gets underway at 12.15pm with the Under 11 Boys event.
Senior Women and Senior Men’s action takes place at 1.15pm and 2.15pm approximately.