The third Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League fixture at a brand new venue
at Thornley Hall Farm, in County Durham, near Peterlee on Saturday 26th November,
saw runners facing the toughest of courses they will probably face this season.
Nevertheless despite this fact, there were still some good performers on show,
especially from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers, who had two individual race winners,
and no less than four of the fastest times of the day on the ten event programme.
One of those fastest times was produced by Sam Hancox, who had a superb run to finish
ninth overall from the Fast Pack,and was third counter in a Morpeth Senior Men’s squad
who finished second on the day to a very strong Tyne Bridge squad in their Division 1 challenge.
Running his first Cross Country of the season, Lewis Timmins led the Morpeth squad home,
finishing fifth overall from the Medium Pack, posting the sixth equal fastest time.
The clubs second scoring count came from Robert Balmbra, who finished seventh
overall from the Medium Pack, clocking the tenth fastest time of the day.
Club newcomer Matt Collison showed great promise for his
future with Morpeth, when he finished 20th from the Slow Pack.
Completing the six counters were Tim Miley (64th) (Medium Pack), and Steve Patterson (82nd) (Medium Pack).
Other club Senior Men’s performances came from Rob Hancox (96th) (Medium Pack),
Alistair MacDonald (98th) (Slow Pack), Paul Brown (134th) (Slow Pack),
Paul Bellingham (156th) (Slow Pack), Mark Cockburn (206th) (Fast Pack),
and Richard Kirby (225th) (Slow Pack).
450 Senior Men completed the tough three lap course.
Running from the Slow Pack, Taylor Glover won the Under 17 Men’s event from
Durham City’s Ryan Watson, by a margin of two minutes and twenty two seconds.
Glover emerged as the second fastest overall in the two lap race, only surpassed
by club colleague Kieran Hedley, who produced a superb run to finish in third place overall from the Fast Pack.
Hedley’s time proved to be sixty three seconds faster than Glover
on the given handicap of three minutes and twenty seconds.
Next Morpeth finisher, and closing the scoring count for second place
on the day to Durham City was Matthew Waterfield, who had an excellent run
from the Fast Pack when finishing ninth overall, posting what was the seventh fastest time of the day.
Not far behind Waterfield in eleventh and twelfth places were his club colleagues
Joe Ramshaw and Connor Marshall, both from the Fast Pack.
They produced what were the eighth equal and tenth fastest times in the event.
Morpeth scored exactly the same number of points as Durham,
however lost out on countback two places on the count of the third finisher.
Holly Peck was again an individual winner in the Under 15 Girls one full lap event from the Fast Pack.
She won by a margin of fifteen seconds from tough rival India Pentland of Darlington,
in what will probably serve as a taster for the forthcoming North Eastern Cross Country Championships,
scheduled to be held at Aykley Heads, Durham City on Saturday 10th December.
Peck’s fifteen second margin also gave her the fastest time of the day,
as she led Morpeth to second team place on day behind Houghton Harriers.
She has now set the fastest Under 15 Girls time at all three Harrier League’s so far,
plus the previous week’s Davison Shield competition,
which is a true testimony indeed to someone well on top of their form.
Accompanying Peck in her club’s scoring count were Lily Heaton,
who finished twelfth from the Fast Pack, and Lauren Cummings
who finished 21st, also running from the Fast Pack.
Morpeth’s other runner in the Under 15 Girls event was newcomer
Hannah Pountney, who ran well to finish 26th from the Slow Pack.
Another Morpeth Under 15 athlete in top form is Daniel Dixon,
who finished second from the Fast Pack in the Boy’s one lap event.
He only lost out for individual victory to Arun Summerfield of Gosforth Harriers
by a mere five seconds, as he posted the fastest overall time.
Morpeth did take the team race however, by sixteen points over Northumberland rivals Alnwick Harriers.
Supporting Dixon in the excellent team effort were Daniel Melling and Ross Charlton,
who each worked their way through the field in the Fast Pack, to finish in eighth and twelfth places respectively.
The combined Under 17/Under 20 Women’s event, run over two medium sized circuits,
saw Morpeth Harriers finish in second team place behind Gateshead Harriers.
Alison Brown led the scoring three home, finishing an excellent sixth from the Medium Pack,
and as seventh fastest in the total finishing field of 40 runners.
Supporting Brown in the team effort were Abby Sheldon (8th) (Slow Pack),
and Gracie Hufton (19th) (Medium Pack).
Mia Belton ran a strong race in the Under 13 Girls one full lap event to
finish sixth from the Slow Pack, leading her club to fourth team place.
Further team support came from Rhiannon Hedley (8th) (Fast Pack), and Laura Melling (31st) (Slow Pack).
Other Morpeth Harriers competing in this event were
Fay Smith (40th) (Slow Pack), and Molly Ions (43rd) (Slow Pack).
The clubs Senior Women finished as sixth team in Division 2 in the two full lap event,
being led home by Gemma Floyd, who finished 39th in a 300 plus strong field from the Fast Pack.
She was fifteenth fastest overall, and was joined in the team count by Lindsay Turnbull (48th) (Slow Pack),
Jane Kirby (136th) (Slow Pack), and Sue Smith (174th) (Slow Pack).
Not far behind Sue was Carol Parry, who finished 188th from the Slow Pack.
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Boys finished in fifth team place behind Gosforth Harriers in their one lap event.
They were led home by Ben Walker, who finished seventh from
the Fast Pack, and was third fastest overall on the day.
Sixth fastest was club colleague Dylan Davies, who worked his way through
in the 60 plus strong field to finish in eleventh place from the Fast Pack.
Completing the clubs scoring count was James Tilley, who finished 43rd from the Slow pack.
Ryan Davies, younger brother of Dylan was his clubs first finisher in the 1k Under 11 Boys event.
He finished an excellent third in a 67 strong field, who were running on a modified course
because of the appearance of a lake on ground that was due to be part of the route,
due to the heavy rainfall experienced earlier in the week.
Three places behind Ryan was club colleague Dylan Walker.
Other Morpeth Harriers in the Under 11 Boys event were
Harry Jackson (15th), and Joe Dixon (66th).
Two Morpeth Harriers faced the starter in the 1k Under 11 Girls event.
Maisie Dickinson continued her excellent run of form when finishing sixth in a 43 strong field.
Keira Peck, younger sister of Holly finished in 30th place.
That was the final North East Harrier League to be held in 2016,
the seasons programme gets underway again on
Saturday 7th January 2017 at Herrington Country Park.