WITH major events taking place in the forthcoming weeks, it was a relatively quiet weekend competitively for athletes from Morpeth Harriers.
Two events took place in the region, both of them semi multi-terrain.
On Sunday, the Sweatshop Angus Tait Memorial Hexhamshire Hobble took place in Allendale and it attracted 192 finishers.
First home from Morpeth Harriers was Richard Kirby, who finished 73rd in 90m24s. Ten places and two minutes and 10 seconds behind him was club colleague Mike Steven.
The club’s other finisher was Jim Tomlin, who was 170th in 122m09s.
The other event on Sunday was the annual Blyth Sands Handicap event, organised by Blyth Running Club.
First home for Morpeth Harriers, and also third Over 60 Male Veteran, was Archie Jenkins. He finished 29th off a seven-minute handicap.
Running off a four-minute handicap, club colleague Peter Scaife was one place behind and was third Over 50 Male Veteran.
Further down a field of 127 finishers was Morpeth Harrier Peter Maylia, whose five-minute handicap saw him finish 102nd as eighth Over 55 Male Veteran.
l Despite icy cold conditions a week last Saturday, 217 finishers took part in Elswick Harriers’ annual Norman Woodcock five-mile Road Race, held within the inner ambulance track at Newcastle Racecourse, High Gosforth Park.
By the time runners set off on their three-lap effort, the morning conditions had considerably abated and the field was led home by Gateshead Harrier Marc Elliot, who clocked a winning time of 25m30s.
One minute and 52 seconds and 12 places behind him was Morpeth Harriers’ first finisher Phil Walker, who was also second Over 45 Veteran Man.
Next home for the club was Sam Hancox, who continued his excellent run of form to finish 17th in 27m31s.
Also having an excellent run in a Morpeth Harriers vest was Michael Thomsen, who finished 19th in 27m48s, just ahead of clubmate Fergus Bates (20th) 27m49s, who was third Over 40 Veteran Men’s finisher.
Paul Waterston was next to finish when placing 22nd in 27m54s. One place behind him was Morag Stead of Morpeth who won the Women’s race in 28m11s, finishing 18 seconds clear of her closest rival Joss Stone, of Middlesbrough Mandale.
The other Morpeth Harriers finishers were as follows: Chris Waugh (30th and 2nd O/50) 28m23s, Alistair MacDonald (53rd and 7th O/45) 29m56s, Stephen Bradley (71st) 31m00s, Jim Alder (74th and 5th O/50) 31m09s, Les Cavill (99th and 11th O/50) 33m15s, Mike Steven (102nd and 12th O/50) 33m22s, Richard Sill (103rd and 13th O/50) 33m23s, Peter Scaife (110th and 15th O/50) 33m48s, James McFetrich, having his first outing in a Morpeth Harriers vest, (152nd) 37m20s, David Gray (166th and 4th O/60) 38m39s, Peter Maylia (177th and 26th O/50) 41m31s, and Bernie Cordes (189th and 6th O/60) 43m08s.
l One of Morpeth Harriers’ oldest and longest-serving members is still proving to be an example to all at the ripe age of 75.
Walter Ryder, who is based in Ross-Shire in far West Scotland, travelled to Belfast recently and competed in what was his umpteenth British and Irish Masters Cross Country International, representing his home country, England.
Belying all of his years, he locked horns with several of his Over 70 contemporaries, competing on a tough and muddy 6k course at the Queen’s University Playing Fields, and fully justified his selection when he came home as his country’s fourth finisher, and 13th overall in his age category, when he clocked 28m53s for his efforts.
Walter is hoping to return to the North East in 2013 to firstly compete in the Veteran’s North East Cross Country Championships, and possibly the British Masters Cross Country Championships, which are due to be held at Herrington Country Park, in Sunderland in March.
l Morpeth Harriers are in action at their first major Cross Country Championship of the 2012/13 campaign when they compete in the 107th running of the North Eastern Association Championships, held at Summerhill Nature Reserve, in Hartlepool on Saturday.
The club is hoping to take medals in a fair number of events on the nine-race programme, and they expect their best results both on an individual and team front to come from their Senior Men, Senior Women, Junior Men, Under 17 Men, Under 15 and Under 13 Boys.
Jonnie Nisbet could prove to be a potential individual medal winner in the Junior Men’s event and in the Men’s Under 17 race, Philip Winkler and Elliot Kelly should be among the leading contenders for individual honours.
Ryan Green may figure among the leading finishers in the Under 15 Boys and in the Under 13 Boys, Kieran Hedley may just squeeze in for an individual medal. It is hoped the club will field a number of athletes in the Under 13 Girls, Under 15 Girls, and Under 17 Women’s events.