Avery slashes his best time

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Having his second competitive outing in the space of 48 hours, Morpeth Harrier Carl Avery could feel well pleased with his personal best of 31m08s when finishing second to Tadele Geremew of Elswick Harriers in Sunday’s 11th North Tyneside 10k, writes George Patterson.

While Geremew was just five seconds adrift of his 2012 winning time on the course with 30m51s, even he could feel satisfied with his performance, after being pushed to the limit by Avery for the first 7k of the race.

The result for Avery was that he had taken a whole 31 seconds off his previous best that he had set in the high profiler Leeds Abbey Dash in November last year.

Another excellent Morpeth Harriers performance came from Ian Harding, who finished third in 32m05s.

Harding had pushed himself very hard in the opening kilometres of the race. However, he soon felt pressured by the relentless pace of Geremew and Avery, and he eventually settled for third place.

To add to Avery and Harding’s joy, however, they both shared in a Morpeth Harriers Men’s team victory, with further excellent support coming from young Matthew Boyle, who was 15th man finishing 16th overall, and Veteran Paul Waterston, who was one place behind.

Boyle’s time was 35m29s, a new pb by a superb 26 seconds, that he had previously set in the Tynedale 10k last July.

Waterston clocked an equally excellent 35m35s.

Other prominent finishers from Morpeth Harriers in the Men’s race were Mark Snowball (35th) 36m38s, and Phil Walker (50th) 37m38s.

In the Women’s race, Emma Holt and Vicky Gibbs produced excellent runs to finish fourth and fifth respectively, with times of 37m25s and 38m10s behind Elswick’s Justina Heslop, who like her marital partner Geremew was also enjoying her second victory in the event, albeit in a slower time than previous of 34m43s, however, the club double individual victory was a very palatable consolation to say the least.

Conditions for the 2,000 plus competitors on the course from The Parks Leisure Centre in North Shields to St Mary’s Lighthouse were ideal, with a great deal of sunshine with very little wind to hinder, and the following Morpeth Harriers also took part.

Mike Winter (160th) 41m24s, Graeme Leathard (195th) 42m23s, Mark Crosby (451st) 47m42s, Carol Parry (452nd) 47m42s, Steve Garrett (501st) 48m21s, Susan Smith (792nd) 52m26s, Jane Blackett (1027th) 55m43s, Lesley Gemmell (1181st) 57m51s, and Fiona Hartley (1318th) 60m07s.

Many thanks go to North Tyneside Council for all of the hard work put in, so as to ensure that once again the event went successfully, and to Start Fitness for their continued generosity, to Tyne Met College for their assistance, to Northumbria Spring Water for drinks provision, and to all of the on the day helpers for course marshalling, who ensured the smoothness of the event.

Last but not least, thanks to UK Officials for helping with start and finish operations.

Overcast skies and wet and chilly conditions were not enough to put a dampener on the performance of Morpeth Harriers’ Senior and Veteran men at the annual Good Friday Road Relays, hosted once again by Elswick Harriers by the banks of the River Tyne, writes Peter Scaife.

In addition to victories for both A teams, there were many first-rate performances distributed throughout both squads, with the Senior Men in particular using the competition to sharpen up before next week’s National 12 stage relays at Sutton Coldfield.

With the format of the race unchanged - teams of four competing over legs of 2.2 miles - it was particularly pleasing to see a returning Peter Newton, in his first competitive outing for many months, get the A team off to a flying start on the first leg in a time of 10m 17s.

He finished his leg in second place, only some six seconds behind North East exile Ryan Macleod, once of Elswick Harriers and now of Tipton but running on the day as a guest; Newton’s time was in fact the third fastest overall of the day.

Carl Avery moved the team up to first place on the second leg with a clocking of 10m 30s, and from this position they were able to mount a challenge on the course record the club itself had set last year.

In the event, with Chris Smith on leg three (10m 45s) and veteran Ian Hudspith anchoring the team (10m 31s), they were able to set new figures of 42m 3s, beating the previous record by a narrow margin of some two seconds, and winning the competition for the fifth year in succession.

Just over a minute behind them, the B team put in another strong showing to finish as second placed team in a time of 43m 5s.

Ross Floyd got the team off to a very solid start with a clocking of 10m 44s to come home in eighth place, and he was followed by youngster Scott Beattie who showed that he was not afraid to mix it with older seniors when recording 10m 42s and by so doing, pulled back a tremendous five places to leave the team in overall third.

Tom Straughan continued the good work with a leg of 10m 49s and moved the team up to second, a position comfortably held by Ryan Stephenson (10m 50s).

Elswick Harriers A team were third in 43m 34s, although they did have the consolation of the fastest leg of the day by a flying Phil Hurst, whose 9m 55s was the only sub 10 minutes performance.

Behind them Gateshead Harriers A took fourth place in 43m 50s, with Morpeth’s C team squad of Kevin Calvert (10m 36s), Graeme Taylor (11m 1s), Robert Balmbra (11m 17s) and Sam Hancox (11m 23s) performing manfully to finish in fifth with an overall clocking of 44m 17s.

Morpeth’s D team were led off by two more promising young talents. Adam Gibbs’ clocking of 11m 21s put them in 15th place after the first leg, and after James Young’s 11m 24s they had moved up to 11th overall.

With Matthew Boyle recording 12m 7s and veteran captain Dave Swinburne 11m 58s, they finished a very respectable 15th overall, 62 senior teams took part.

In the simultaneously run Veterans competition it was very much a matter of ‘continue where you left off’ for Fergus Bates on leg one.

He followed last Sunday’s impressive performance at Hartlepool with a first leg clocking of 11m 23s to put the team straight into pole position by the end of the leg.

Moreover, aside from Hudspith’s performance, his time made him the fastest Veteran of the day.

A series of consistently strong performances thereafter by Paul Waterston (11m 54s), Rob Hancox (12m 8s) and Phil Walker (12m 20s) meant the team held onto their lead throughout to finish in a time of 47m 45s.

Morpeth’s Veteran B team were eighth overall and second B team behind Tyne Bridge, finishing in a time of 52m 27s, with Chris Waugh recording 13m 55s on leg one, Gavin Bayne 13m 21s on leg two, Paul Brown 13m 4s on leg three and Mick Thomsen a powerful 12m 7s on leg four.

An incomplete C team did, however, feature another strong run, this time by Mark Snowball, who clocked 11m 55s. He was followed by Jim Alder in 13m 27s, by which time the team had moved up to seventh place.