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.