Over 4,300 finishers, including 29 determined athletes from Morpeth Harriers, some looking more resplendent than ever in their brand new badged and named club vests, took part in the 38th Blaydon Race, sponsored by local recycling company J & J Stanley, which set off from Newcastle’s Collingwood Street, shortly after 3.15pm on Saturday 9th June 2018, following a delayed start due to traffic problems on the route to the finish line at Shibdon Pond in Blaydon.
The race itself, started by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, was eventually won by pre-race favourite John Beattie of Newham and Essex Beagles, who posted a finishing time of 26m39s, finishing just a mere three seconds ahead of Morpeth Harrier Carl Avery, who had managed to pass long term leader Chris Parr in the home straight to claim the much prized first Geordie tag, that presented a most lucrative reward, after the Gateshead Harriers’ legs unfortunately buckled in the chase to the finish line.
Whilst Parr managed to hold on for third place, he was very nearly caught by club colleague Callum Johnson, who just managed to hold off young Sam Hancox of Morpeth, who ran the race of his life to finish fifth in 27m08s.
Other leading Morpeth Harriers finishers in the Men’s race were Nick Swinburn (7th) 27m41s, Lewis Timmins (8th) 27m59s, Ian Hudspith (11th) 28m08s, Ian Harding (12th) 28m14s, Thomas Straughan (13th) 28m21s, and Karl Taylor (19th) 28m50s, and John Butters (28th) 29m54s, who was fourth Veteran Man.
Hudspith meanwhile once again earned the tag of first Gadgie, otherwise known as first Veteran Man
The Women’s race was won by Wallsend Harrier Danielle Hodgkinson, who finished 37th overall in 30m47s.
Second place in the Women’s event went to Stockport Harrier Elle Baker, who was 56th in 31m33s,
with third place following a superb run, going to Morpeth Veteran Jane Hodgson,
who finished 71st overall, posting a time of 32m09s.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers were as follows
Mark Snowball (49th) 31m24s, Rob Hancox (81st) (2nd O/50 Man) 32m34s,
Fergus Bates (95th) (23rd O/40 Man) 33m05s, Tony Lewis (124th) 33m51s,
Neil Gunstone (195th) 35m24s, Gemma Floyd (245th) (19th Woman) (7th Vet Woman) 36m05s,
Helen King (262nd) (21st Woman) (8th Vet Woman) 36m18s, Robert Morris (315th) 36m47s,
Paul Banks (335th) (97th O/40 Man) 37m04s, Richard Kirby (454th) (136th O/40 Man) 38m22s,
Mark Crosby (536th) (53rd O/50 Man) 39m11s, Gary Mason (544th) (165th O/40 Man) 39m14s,
Eric Adams (556th) (168th O/40 Man) 39m19s, Peter Scaife (773rd) (85th O/50 Man) 41m08s,
Mike Steven (898th) (21st O/60 Man) 42m05s, Norman Clark (928th) (23rd O/60 Man) 42m18s,
Jane Kirby (1,099th) (68th Vet Woman) 43m23s, Lesley Chapman (1,311th) (10th O/55 Woman) 44m36s,
and Jacinta Wake (3,433rd) (329th O45 Woman) 58m03s.
This year’s official charity was Cash for Kids, and Lynn Craig and her tremendous squad of helpers at Blaydon Harriers, are once again to be commended for their organisational skills, which included a superb after race buffet, and Presentation, where several race awards were presented by the Mayor of Gateshead, Councillor Jill Green.