Relatively ideal running conditions were the order of the day for competitors competing
in the Annual Elswick Harriers Good Friday Road Races, held at Newburn Business Park.
Cloudy skies left conditions fairly cool, however there was little hint of wind,
which proved conducive to fast times being run, which were very quickly exploited
by Morpeth Harriers Senior Women, led by their International talent Laura Weightman,
Weightman posted a new course record of 10m52s, beating her own
original set in 2016 by sixteen seconds, when she drove Morpeth Harriers Senior
Women into an emphatic first leg lead by the clear margin of seventy-one seconds
over the early second placers North Shields Poly.
Catriona MacDonald may have felt somewhat daunted as she took over on second leg
as she had no opponent in sight in front of her as she went out on second leg.
Although she was chased down a little, she still maintained an extensive margin,
as she got around the course in 12m29s, to hand over to final leg runner Jane Hodgson,
who came home in 12m29s, to confirm a new team course record of 35m46s,
beating their own by five seconds, which had been set in 2013.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Women’s B team were also very close to a podium place,
when they came home fourth, posting a total time of 39m03s,
courtesy of Josie Cram (12m48s), Gemma Floyd (13m11s), and Lorna MacDonald (13m04s).
Morpeth Harriers Veteran Women also performed well.
Their A team finished eighth behind winners North Shields,
courtesy of Vicky Gibbs (14.17s), making a welcome return
to action following injury, Helen King (14m23s), and Jane Briggs (15m16s).
Morpeth also had a B team in the competition, which finished 27th overall,
and they were sixth ranked B team courtesy of Sue Smith (16m33s),
Jacinta Wake (16m32s), and Margaret MacDonald (17m25s).
At the annual English National Women’s 6 Stage Road Relays,
held at a sunny and very picturesque Sutton Park, in Sutton Coldfield,
on Saturday 8th April 2017, Morpeth Harriers despite a
weakened teams, still managed to finish in an excellent thirteenth place.
The Women’s 6 Stage, which involved two long legs covering just under 9k in distance,
and four short legs covering 5.14k, saw Catriona Macdonald, having her first
ever outing in a National 6 Stage contest on the long opening leg.
With extremely talented athletes around her, she was not phased
as she came home 25th out of 56 starting teams, posting a time of 33m38s,
which at the time was just under 2 minutes adrift of the early medal protagonists,
Swansea, Leeds City, and Southern Champions Winchester.
Second leg saw Olympian Laura Weightman enter the fray for Morpeth,
and she was really the catalyst for what was to become an excellent Morpeth performance,
as she climbed a mammoth fourteen places to eleventh, posting what was to become
the second fastest overall short leg time of 16m44s, which was slightly headed by
Bristol’s Kate Maltby’s 16m38s, on the same leg, which put them into second place,
between new leaders Leeds City, and third placed Winchester.
Whilst a keen battle ensued over the remaining four legs for the minor placings
between Bristol, Swansea, Winchester, and briefly Cambridge & Coleridge,
Leeds City remained in front throughout, to eventually take the champions title
by an excellent margin of nearly four minutes, as they posted a total time of 2hrs12mins44secs.
Second went to Swansea (2hrs16min21secs), and third place went to Winchester (2hrs16mins35secs).
Meanwhile Morpeth, courtesy of Josie Cram (19m52s), Lorna MacDonald (Long) (35m38s),
Sarah Graham (20m45s), and debutant Mhairi MacLennan (18m22s),
continued to maintain an excellent performance throughout,
to eventually reach their final placing, which to their ultimate credit,
also saw them finish as third from the North, behind winners Leeds,
and sixth placed Rotherham Harriers, who had gone into the contest as Northern Champions.
Considering they were missing the services of Emma Holt, who has still not recovered
from her unfortunate injury sustained when warming up at last month’s
Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, and Jane Hodgson and Gemma Floyd
who were both unable to travel, this performance was quite remarkable,
and a touch more than expected, so the outcome was most pleasing for the club.
The Morpeth Athletics facility at King Edward School will be closed
to the public for the period of one week from Tuesday 18th April 2017.
This is to allow full re-marking of the Athletics Track,
and some required General Maintenance tasks to be fully carried out.
The Track Management Committee would wish to thank everyone for their co-operation,
and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused during this period.