By George Patterson
Slightly less than a year after achieving her lifetime ambition of reaching an Olympic final, Morpeth Harrier Laura Weightman will once again be embracing big-time athletics, when she competes for Great Britain and Northern Ireland at this weekend’s European Cup Championships, at Gateshead’s International Stadium.
Currently number one in the UK rankings for the Women’s 3000m with 8m43.46, she will compete against Europe’s best over seven-and-a-half laps, on Saturday at 3.50pm and hopes that her local crowd at Gateshead will lift not only her, but her also her GB team-mates towards European Cup success over the two-day contest.
l Sunday’s Northumberland 10k Road Race at Bamburgh, attracted a total of 173 finishing runners.
Chris Waugh, in fourth place in a time of 36m17s, was Morpeth’s first finisher, also heading the Over 50 Veteran Men’s category. He led home five runners from the club, who all finished in the top half. Second home was Hermes Carlyon, 15th in 40m46s.
Four places behind him in a time of 41m14s was Mark Snowball, and Sue Smith and Jane Blackett rounded off the Morpeth Harriers contingent, with Sue finishing 72nd in 50m37s, and Jane three places behind in 51m26s.
Sue was 21st Lady, and third Over 45, and Jane was 22nd Lady, and fourth Over 50.
Newly-crowned double North Eastern Counties Champion Jack Hepple was certainly a man in sparkling form, as he set two new personal bests when he won both the Men’s 100m and 200m events, at Morpeth Harriers’ second-round North of England Senior League Division Two match, held at Middlesbrough’s Claireville Stadium on Sunday, June 9.
Currently ranked as number two in the region at the distance, only bettered by Middlesbrough’s Jack Crosby, who had stepped up from his Junior ranks at last month’s North East Championships to claim gold in both the 100m and 200m, Hepple is clearly blossoming under the very watchful eye of his coach Eddie Hedley, who speaks very highly of him and predicts a good future for him.
Hedley was more than pleased with Hepple’s new figures of 11.0s, and 22.0s respectively, as he claimed impressive victories, and he was somewhat relieved to see his protégée perform to such a level, despite having to overcome some painful hamstring problems.
He was also very praiseworthy of Hepple’s supporting B-race athlete David Storey, who had been forced to miss the Championships because of injury problems.
Storey ran well as he placed a good second in both the 100m (11.8s) and 200m (24.1s) to gain very valuable club points.
Two other Men’s North Eastern gold medallists were also in splendid form as they claimed a double victory for Morpeth.
Senior 1500m champion Ryan Stephenson won the 800m A race in 1m55.5s and U17 double gold medallist Ryan Green obliged by taking the B race in 1m58.9s, which was agonisingly just short of a personal best.
Green had, of course, taken part in the previous day’s Northumberland Schools Championships, so the fact that he had turned out to achieve what he did was superb.
Added to this, Green also finished third in the 400m A-race in 53.5s, being supported by Henrik Paulsen’s B-race effort of 57.1s, which saw him finish fifth.
Another Morpeth Harriers double win on the track came in the Men’s 5000m, where Karl Taylor achieved a personal best of 15m39.5s when taking the A-race and Jordan Scott supported well by taking the B-race in 16m39.2s.
Scott had earlier clocked a new personal best of 4m12.1s, when finishing second in the A-race of the 1500m, with good B-race support coming from Elliot Kelly, who finished third in 4m27.5s.
Another pb performer was Phillip Caldwell, who added to his Northumberland schools performance the previous day in the 2000m steeplechase, by running 1000m further to set new figures of 10m31.8s, to finish second.
Caldwell had also earlier performed well in the 400m hurdles, where he had placed fourth in 69.1s.
Pick of the mens field performers was definitely Ryan Green, who ended a superb day by placing second in the A section of the high jump with his best clearance being an excellent 1.83m, clearly demonstrating his current appetite for competition and, furthermore, his level of fitness.
Craig Pickup cleared 1.45m to finish fourth in the B-competition.
U17 athlete Amber Cormack was the pick of Morpeth Harriers’ Women track performers.
She won the 800m in a new pb time of 2m22.9s, and was well supported by Molly MacDonald’s B-race performance of 2m42.4s, which placed her second.
Cormack also finished third in the A-section of the 400m in 63.1s, being well supported by Molly’s twin sister Rosie’s (69.5s) for third in the B-race.
Also performing well in the women’s efforts was Elaine Telford.
The North East Champion finished third in the A-race of the 200m in a new pb of 25.9s, being well supported by Beth Laidler’s 28.0s for third in the B-string.
Laidler had earlier finished second in the B-string 100m in13.6s.
Alison Brown finished third in the 1500m A-race in 5m13.8s, being supported by Kate Chapman’s 5m38.1s, which saw her finish second in the B-race.
Chapman had earlier finished fourth in the A-race of the 3000m, in a time of 11m44.7s.
Pick of the Morpeth women’s field eventers were Claire Reid and Chelsey Morrison.
Reid’s best performances were in the A-string discus and shot, in which she finished second and third with respective bests of 33.80m, and 9.73m.
Meanwhile, Morrison’s hammer was clearly exceptional, bearing in mind she was one of the youngest, and her best of 28.37m brought her second placing in the B-string and was only marginally less than her more senior team-mate.
Chelsey also managed fourth in the shot B-string.
In the Men’s 4 x100m and 4 x 400m relays, Morpeth finished fourth and fifth with respective clockings of 48.0s, and 3m50.9s.
The Morpeth Women’s equivalents saw them finish third and fourth in 54.7s, and 4m35.0s.
Final match results (subject to further scrutiny): 1 Gateshead Harriers B 427pts, 2 Skyrac 359, 3 City of York 320, 4 Morpeth Harriers 286, 5 North Shields Poly 278, 6 Middlesbrough (Mandale) 236.
With two matches still remaining, Morpeth Harriers are also in fourth place cumulatively and, barring complete disaster, would remain in the second division for next season, which would give their promising younger athletes a wealth of good competition, as a just reward for their hard-working efforts in training at the new track facility at KEVI.
Several Morpeth Harriers were in competitive action at Claireville Stadium, Middlesbrough, on Saturday, June 15, representing Northumberland at the North East Inter Counties Schools Track and Field Championships, against opposition from Durham, Cleveland and Cumbria.
This was the final stepping-stone for athletes to gain a chance of representing their county at next month’s English Schools Track and Field Championships.
Two of the more outstanding performers were Morpeth Harriers Phillip Caldwell and Jarod Lewis, who won senior boys’ 2000m and intermediate boys’ 1500m steeplechases respectively in times of 6m56.7s, and 5m05.5s.
Ryan Green suffered his first defeat since turning an U17 at the hands of Cleveland’s Henry Johnson.
With 250m remaining of the intermediate boys’ 800m, Green and Johnson were locked together in pursuit of victory.
As the pair headed into the final straight, Johnson made his first effort to get away, however, Green covered his move well from the inside. As the pair headed into the final 20metres, Johnson rallied again to seize his victory.
Green, who already has the entry standard, took second place in 2m00.1s, while Johnson clocked 1m59.3s, which was verging on the entry standard, which may see him on the Cleveland bus to the Championships and a possible rematch with Green at a higher level.
Another Morpeth Harrier who had victory just snatched away from her was Amber Cormack, she faced very tough opposition in the form of Cumbria’s Megan Bates in the intermediate girls’ 800m.
Cormack crossed the finish line in second place in 2m20.2s, to Bates’s winning time of 2m19.2s, so to get that close was a superb achievement to say the least.
Another good intermediate girls performer was Louise Brett, who finished third in the 300m hurdles in 54.5s, after suffering the ignominy of being relegated to Northumberland’s B-runner for the event.
Again in the intermediate girls, Megan Deakin performed well to finish fourth in the long jump with a best of 4.42m.
In a tough intermediate boys’ 3000m, Elliot Kelly finished fourth in 9m46.8s.
Toby Parks of Morpeth Harriers finished fourth in the junior boys’ discus with a best of 29.49m
In the junior girls’ long jump, Ria Fairnington’s best of 4.42m, gained her sixth place.