Morpeth Harriers report
DESPITE the forecast of heavy wintry showers, the 29th Durham Cathedral Cross Country Relays, held at the Durham University Cricket Club, on Sunday, took place unaffected, writes George Patterson.
What could well prove to be a record turnout of athletes, instead faced sunshine, with very little wind, and only a trace of a slight January chill to keep those present well on their toes.
A total of 192 complete teams faced the starter spanning the three events on offer, and athletes from Morpeth Harriers were certainly well to the fore in success.
It was their Senior Men’s A team who were the overall stars of the show. They retained their title, winning by four seconds over the hosts Durham City, who had established an early lead on leg one of the three legs, courtesy of Dan Garbutt, who clocked the overall second fastest of the day of 7m52s, beaten by Sunderland Harrier and Ethiopian Weynay Ghebresl.
Close behind Garbutt, however, on first leg was Morpeth Harrier Richard Morrell, making his first relay appearance for his new club since joining from New Marske.
Morrell clocked an excellent 7m58s, which proved to be his new club’s fastest of the day, and also equal fourth fastest overall.
However, he was in the Morpeth Harriers B team, while the A team were back in third spot, courtesy of Matt Nicholson’s 8m04s.
The Morpeth A team did grab the lead on second leg, however, courtesy of Morpeth 11k winner Ross Floyd, who clocked 8m04s.
It was also a lead that despite intense pressure mounting behind him, third-leg runner Lewis Timmins never relinquished and he completed his leg in 8m14s, holding onto a four-second margin over his closest rivals.
Meanwhile, following Morrell’s excellent first-leg run, Morpeth Harriers B team managed to maintain a medal-winning placing of third, courtesy of Michael Dawson (8m17s), and Graeme Taylor (8m17s).
Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s squad completed an excellent day at the office, by seeing their C team finish 10th, courtesy of excellent runs by Michael Morris (8m24s), Thomas Straughan (8m43s) and Sam Hancox (9m23s).
Excellent performances by Neil Wilkinson (9m04s), Paul Waterston (9m12s), and Terry Wall (9m10s), saw Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men’s A team take silver medals behind North Shields Poly in the incorporated VAANE Championships.
It also saw the club field four teams in an excellent field of 70 complete clubs.
Their B team finished ninth, with Fergus Bates getting them off to an excellent start on first leg, with his clocking of 9m07s.
This was followed up by good supporting runs by Mike Winter (10m13s) and Michael Thomsen (9m15s).
Morpeth Harriers C team finished 26th courtesy of Rob Hancox (10m00s), Jim Alder (10m31s) and Steve Haswell (10m30s).
The Morpeth Harriers B team finished 44th courtesy of Richard Sill (11m11s), Archie Jenkins (11m10s), and Peter Scaife (10m57s).
Jenkins’ effort saw him emerge as the fastest Over 60 athlete.
Fresh from her disappointing run in Edinburgh the previous week, Morpeth’s Ashley Gibson certainly bounced back with a vengeance, as she had the Women’s A team in second place with her excellent first leg clocking of 9m08s proving to be third fastest overall behind Sunderland Strollers’ Alyson Dixon (9m06s) and Durham City’s Rosie Smith (9m07s), who had provided the perfect platform for the host club’s victory from leg one.
It also gave her club an excellent start to an event that eventually saw them place sixth, with the supporting runs from Lorna MacDonald (11m57s), and Charlotte Wilson (10m58s).
Morpeth Harriers Women’s B team finished 20th overall and were fifth Veteran team courtesy of Lindsay Turnbull (11m17s), Gwenda Cavill (11m18s) and Jane Briggs (11m39s).
l Oxford-based Morpeth Harrier John Woods, showed he is in good competitive form, by finishing 13th of a total finishing field of 383, in Sunday’s Goring and Woodcote District Lions 10k, in a time of 39m27s.