FOLLOWING his victory in the Blyth Links 10k, Morpeth Harrier Ian Harding looked formidable as he front-ran to victory at the Tynedale Jelly Tea Ten Mile Race, writes Peter Scaife.
His time of 52 minutes and 24 seconds in the event, which also incorporated the NECAA and VAANE championships, was all the more impressive given the sweltering midday conditions.
The ultra-distance dynamo pulled clear of his nearest rival, Durham Harrier’s Michael Crawley, just after the three-mile mark.
Harding looked irresistible in setting a metronomic pace, saying of his performance afterwards: “It was literally do or die, he (Crawley) beat me at Blaydon, so I knew I had to go for it.
“I didn’t want to go all out, but I put 100 per cent in today. I made the hilly first half count, keeping it steady in the second, more undulating, half of the race.”
Crawley’s clocking of 52m 57s saw him finish one minute and 45 seconds ahead of Low Fell’s Phil Coulson, who clinched the final medal position in a creditable time of 54m 42s.
Next home for Morpeth was their leading competitor in last year’s edition of the race, club stalwart and Vets Captain Paul Waterston. He finished second in the Male Veteran 45 category, putting in an inspired performance to clock a time of 58m 58s.
Waterston was backed up by training partner Phil Walker, who produced another strong effort to finish as sixth MV45 in a time of one hour and 24 seconds. Morpeth further emphasised their strength-in-depth with good runs from: Fergus Bates, fifth in the MV40 category (one hour 51 seconds); Rob Hancox, 11th in the MV45 category (one hour 3m 57s); Mike Winter, 12th in the MV40 category (one hour 4m 52s) and Chris Waugh, fifth in the MV50 category in one hour 5m 25s.
In the Women’s race, won by Vicky Hindson of Wallsend in one hour 5m, Joanne Brown was first woman over 40 in a time of one hour 8m 31s.
Other Morpeth finishers in the heat of the scenic Tyne Valley included: Tony Lewis, 70th in one hour 6m 17s; Eric Adams, 155th in one hour 14m 55s and Norman Clark, fourth Over 60 in one hour 16m 28s.
l Nick Swinburn of Morpeth Harriers was fifth counter for a sixth placed Great Britain Men’s squad at the World Mountain Running Championships, held on a 14.1km course with a 1,150m ascent in Ponte di Legno, Italy, on Sunday, September 2.
Swinburn finished 56th overall in 70m09s, just ahead of his GB team-mate James McMullen.
l Whilst the club quite surprisingly, and disappointingly, fielded no athletes in either the Senior or Veteran Men, or Senior Women’s events at Saturday’s Sunderland Harriers Open Cross Country Meeting, held at Farringdon School, Morpeth Harriers could feel quite proud of their Young Athletes achievements on the day respectively.
There were wins for Under 17 Man Philip Winkler and very promising Under 13 Boy Kieran Hedley, and also a well earned second place for Under 17 Woman Alison Brown, who in doing so fended off most of her main rivals in her age group apart from the formidable Lydia Turner of Birtley.
For Winkler’s part, he probably achieved his closest victory since his Under 15 Boys’ North East Championship win at Cramlington last December. He won with one second to spare over his closest rival Chris Peverley in 9m18s.
The closeness of the Under 17 Men’s event at the front could be clearly found in fellow Morpeth Harrier Elliot Kelly’s performance, in that he was only 20 seconds adrift of Winkler and could only claim seventh spot.
Joe Elder continued his comeback from injury by finishing 23rd in 11m17s.
Kieran Hedley’s win in the Under 13 Boys event clearly gave him immense satisfaction in that he defeated one of his closest rivals in South Shields’s Matthew Wakefield, posting a time of 10m30s, which gave him an eight second winning margin.
Fellow Morpeth Harriers Phil Kirby, Robbie Elder, and Lewis James also performed well to finish 12th, 25th, and 27th in respective times of 11m52s, 13m31s, and 15m17s.
Kieran Hedley’s younger sister Rhiannon continues to thrive on competition by finishing an excellent tenth in the Under 11 Girls’ event in 4m56s, seeing off competition from girls a year or so older in the process.
As aforementioned Alison Brown also saw off some of her sternest rivals when finishing a good second in the Under 17 Women’s event in 11m13s, fellow Morpeth Harrier Hannah Sheerin came through to finish fifth in 12m13s.
Morpeth Harriers had three athletes competing in the Under 15 Boys event.
Ryan Green finished third behind Gateshead pair Joe Armstrong and Markhim Lonsdale in a time of 9m42s. Jacob Hopkins finished seventh in 10m39s and newcomer Daniel Almond will have gained great experience in his first outing in a Morpeth vest, which saw him finish 22nd in 13m53s.
In the Under 15 Girls event, two Morpeth athletes Charlotte Jewell and Florence Thomsen finished ninth and 17th respectively in 12m09s and 14m17s.
l Effectively Morpeth Harrier Thomas Straughan achieved his best ever road running result as a Senior athlete on Sunday when he finished second to North Shields Poly’s Gary Moore in the Run Northumberland Wallington 10k.
He only lost out for individual victory by a mere 17 seconds with his finishing time of 36m29s, however he was the first Senior, with Moore being of Over 40 Veteran status.
One minute and one second behind Straughan in third place was his Morpeth Harriers clubmate Tom Brookes.
Fifth place went to another Morpeth man Chris Waugh, who was third Veteran, and first Over 50 in a time of 37m40s. Next home was Stephen Bradley in ninth spot in 39m09s.
Morpeth Harrier Gemma Floyd was second in the Ladies race, finishing 26th in 43m04s.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers were Scott Wilkes (34th and fourth O45 in 45m07s), Andrew Hughes (46th and seventh O45 in 46m15s), Walter Ryder (60th and first O75 in 48m53s), Sue Smith (93rd and fourth O45 Lady in 52m50s), Jane Blackett (135th and seventh O45 Lady in 60m55s) and Peter Maylia (140th and fifth O55 in 61m33s).