Harrier Jonny continues fine form in Spain race

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MORPETH Harrier Jonny Taylor certainly maintained his current 2014 form in style when he placed an excellent 12th of 42 top-class athletes in the IAAF permitted Cross International Italica Men’s Invitational 10.8k event, held in Santa Ponsa, Seville, in Spain, on Sunday, writes George Patterson.

Clocking 33m39s, he was the first home of four competing Britons and did well to finish 3m07s behind race winner Paul Tanui, of Kenya.

Following his late autumn illness, Taylor’s form is certainly a much-needed boost as he enters a fairly competitive period and hopefully his presence will certainly prove a much-welcome addition to his club’s Senior Men’s squad at the English National Cross Country Championships in Nottingham next month, where they hope to defend successfully the team title they won for the first time at Herrington Country Park, in Sunderland, last year.

In addition, it will serve to make up for his disappointment in missing out on a European place in Belgrade in December.

IN Sheffield on Sunday, at the North of England Senior Indoor Track and Field Championships, another Taylor of Morpeth Harriers was making his long-awaited comeback following serious injury.

One of the last major appearances for James Taylor in a blue-and-white vest for his club, had been in last spring’s National 12 Stage Relays at Sutton Park and, shortly after that, he sustained a severe leg muscle tear which left him barely able to walk for several weeks and very much in pain.

Nevertheless, he managed to nurse himself back to fitness and his club were very glad to see him back in action. He tested himself on Sunday by running in the final of the Men’s 3,000m, where he finished eighth behind North of England Road 10k champion Jonny Mellor of Liverpool Harriers, clocking a very steady 9m15.2s.

Hopefully, Taylor will see himself back to full competitive action for his club in the forthcoming road championships and in the track season.

ALTHOUGH he had narrowly missed out on an individual medal at the North Eastern Cross Country Championships by a mere two seconds, Joe Dowd was instrumental in leading Morpeth Harriers U13 Boys to team medals with his placing of fourth and, as a result of that excellent performance, he was very much at the forefront of the judges’ minds when they were trying to select their Benfield Motors Athlete of the Month for December 2013.

Joe had also been under consideration for the November award following his North Eastern Harrier League performance at Wallington.

However, his additional performance in finishing third in the Junior Boys’ race at the East Northumberland Schools Cross Country Championships, held at QE2 Park in Woodhorn, Ashington, earned Joe Dowd his well-deserved award, a consolation for just missing out on the previous month’s award.