At the Scottish National Cross-Country Championships on Saturday 24th February at Callendar Park, Falkirk,
Mhairi MacLennan took the Scottish Senior Women’s Championship by a margin of eleven seconds
in Callendar Park, Falkirk, from Edinburgh University team-mate, Steph Pennycook.
Meanwhile at English National Cross-Country Championships at London’s Parliament Hill Fields,
running as a lone Morpeth entrant in the Senior Women’s 8k event, Emma Holt finished in a respectable 42nd place, and was sixteenth from the North of England, but first from the region.
Morpeth Harriers were particularly well represented at the annual Royal Signals Road Relays,
held at Hetton Lyons Country Park on Saturday 17th February, which incorporated the
North-Eastern Counties Athletics Association Championships.
A mere nineteen seconds disappointingly robbed Morpeth Harriers Senior Women from
retaining their North East title for the third successive year in their four-stage contest.
Despite excellent running by Holly Peck (13m30s), Catriona MacDonald (12m57s), Gracie Hufton(14m00s),
and Team Captain Emma Holt (12m24s), they just couldn’t quite match the later power of Jarrow and Hebburn.
It was however Peck’s very first run in a Senior competition, and for her and Hufton,
their very first sharing of Senior medals, albeit Silver on this occasion.
Holt was second fastest on the day behind seasoned International Aly Dixon,
who posted 11m53s for Sunderland Strollers, who were third placed Women’s Veteran team,
thus making Holt the fastest Senior.
In the Veteran Women’s event, Morpeth Harriers finished eighth, courtesy of Vicky Gibbs (14m23s),
who was making a competitive comeback, Jane Briggs (16m17s),
Helen King (14m40s), and Gemma Floyd (14m53s).
Posting a finishing time of 8m59s, Morpeth’s Laura Weightman retained her 3k title in the high-profile Brooks sponsored International Women’s event in Armagh, Ireland on the evening of Thursday 15th February 2018.
She won with four seconds to spare over Chelmsford’s Jessica Judd,
with Swansea’s Verity Ockenden a further eleven seconds adrift in third place.
Weightman, recently returned from warm weather training in South Africa, in preparation for her forthcoming Commonwealth Games appearance in Australia’s Gold Coast in April, was well satisfied with her run, and admitted being very much pushed all the way to the finish line by Judd, as she equalled her 2017 clocking.
132 athletes took part in the Women’s 3k event.
Recent rainfall made running conditions extremely heavy for all competitors who took part in the fifth and penultimate Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Harrier League Meeting, held on what could only be described as a true and tough cross-country course, on extensive farmland at Thornley Hall Farm,
near Peterlee, County Durham on Saturday 10th February 2018.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women maintained their lead in Division 1 of their competition,
by finishing third on the day behind Elvet Striders, and South Shields Harriers.
Elvet have now leapfrogged over Tyne Bridge Harriers for second place,
who could only finish a lowly eighth on the day.
Morpeth were led home by Emma Holt, who also was having her third Harrier League victory of the season,
having previously won at Wrekenton and Druridge,
which guarantees her the Senior Women’s Grand Prix title for the second year in succession.
Holt won by a twenty-one second margin over her club colleague Jane Hodgson,
who also has a hundred percent record this season,
having finished as first Veteran Woman on all four previous Harrier League meetings,
and will now also undoubtedly retain the individual crown that she won last year.
Further Morpeth Senior Women’s team support on the day came from superb runs by
Alison Brown (42nd) (Fast Pack), and Gwenda Cavill (77th) (Medium Pack).
Going into next month’s final fixture at Alnwick, only Elvet pose a realistic threat
to Morpeth for the Senior Women’s Division 1 team title, however they are still five points adrift.
On paper, an absolute disaster would seem to be able to prevent
a Morpeth success, however they will have to reckon without
leading light Holt on this occasion, as she will be unavailable.
Hopefully they will be able to dig a little deeper into their ranks to prevent disappointing failure.