It was certainly an excellent day competitively for the region’s clubs’, including Morpeth Harriers, at the annual Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships, once again sponsored by Start Fitness,
which were held on Saturday 27th January, for the very first time at picturesque Harewood House, near Leeds
Any hopes of Leeds AC’s Claire Duck pulling off a unique hat-trick of successive victories in the Senior Women’s 8k event, were well and truly flattened by the excellent performance produced by Morpeth’s Mhairi Maclennan,
who also became the first Woman from the club to take a Northern Senior title.
After running in a strong front running group of eight, that included Duck,
her Leeds team-mate Georgia Malir, Leigh’s Lauren Howarth, Sale Harriers trio Georgia Taylor-Brown,
Danielle Fagan, and Kate Hewison, plus Lincoln’s Abbie Donnelly, MacLennan eventually broke clear
in the final quarter, to record an eighteen seconds marginal victory to take the title,
posting a finishing time of 30m50s. Meanwhile Howarth resigned herself to second place,
whilst Taylor-Brown fended off closer opposition to take a much-prized Bronze.
MacLennan running on the back of a superb ninth place in December’s European Under 23 Women’s Cross Country Championship in Samorin, plus a more recent 6k Cross Country Run in the Great North event in Edinburgh, was well pleased with her achievement and performance, although as expected the Harewood course had been tough, she felt that it was true to Cross Country running, and overall the experience had been enjoyable and quite amazing throughout. Morpeth Women finished eighth overall, and were first from the North East,
forty-nine points ahead of Jarrow and Hebburn who were tenth.
MacLennan was supported in the team race by Emma Holt (16th), Jane Hodgson (17th),
and Alison Brown (185th). Holt and Hodgson were also second and third from the North East Counties.
A total of 435 finishers took part in the Senior Women’s event.
The annual Durham Cathedral Relays were held for the second occasion
at the Graham Sports Centre at Maiden Castle on Sunday 14th January 2018.
Morpeth Harriers had a total of nine full teams and three incomplete teams in action in the three events on offer,
successfully striking Gold twice, in the Veteran Men’s Over 35 and Over 55 age groups.
All races were run on a two-lap course, covering a total distance of three kilometres.
In the Women’s event, the club had two complete teams, and the A team finished second
to a very strong North Shields Poly outfit courtesy of Alison Brown (12m04s),
Helen King (12m03s), and Jane Hodgson (10m29s).
Hodgson’s time was equal fastest to Charlotte Penfold of leading club
North Shields Poly, who had won by an 89 second margin.
The Morpeth Women’s B team comprising of Veteran athletes
Helen Bruce(13m49s), Sue Smith (13m26s), and Lindsay Turnbull (13m16s),
finished 22nd overall, and were ninth Over 35 Veteran Women’s squad.
Pam Woodcock (14m46s), and Lesley Chapman (14m46s),
ran for an incomplete Women’s C team.
OUR WOMENS SQUAD AT THE DURHAM CATHEDRAL RELAYS
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women finished seventh on the day in their Division 1 encounter,
however remain in front by five points from Tyne Bridge Harriers,
with Elvet Striders a further two points adrift in third place after four fixtures.
Again, as with the clubs Senior Men, it is very much a case of ensuring good turnout
over the remaining two fixtures if they are to maintain Championship ambitions.
Morpeth New Years Day Road Race winner Jane Hodgson led her clubs’ scoring contingent home, when finishing an excellent second from the Fast Pack, only losing out for victory to Saltwell Harrier Anna Martin by a mere nine seconds, after giving Martin a 220 seconds handicap start advantage.
Hodgson was fastest on the course, holding off the close attentions of Gosforth Harrier Helen Warburton, who finished third, fifteen seconds adrift.
Further Morpeth Senior Women’s team support came courtesy of Gemma Floyd,
recently returned from a family holiday in Australia,
who finished an excellent 18th from the Fast Pack,
and was eighth fastest in the finishing field of 331.
Closing the Morpeth scoring four were Gwenda Cavill, also having a welcome return competitively after injury, and Jane Briggs, who finished in 126th and 141st places respectively from the Medium Pack.
Other Morpeth “Mud larker’s” in action were Sue Smith (160th) (Slow Pack),
Carol Parry (192nd) (Slow Pack), Lesley Chapman (199th) (Slow Pack),
and Frances Naylor (256th) (Slow Pack), who all added to a splendid club effort on the day.
Jane Hodgson and Gemma Floyd in action at Herrington Country Park