Harriers impress at start of season

The first cross-country action of the new season took place on Saturday, with Morpeth Harriers well to the fore of the action in the annual Sunderland Harriers Open events being held at Farringdon College, writes George Patterson.

Their Senior Men very much typified the club’s model for success when their A-team won their four-leg relay.

Karl Taylor got them off to a superb start by coming home only a stride adrift of Gateshead Harriers’ Dan Johnson and recorded the same time of 8m53s.

Thomas Straughan grabbed the lead on leg two with 9m15s and, from then on, Morpeth were never troubled as Carl Avery clocked the fastest time of the day on the third leg with 8m45s and Ross Floyd sealed victory by 62 seconds on the final leg with his clocking of 8m55s.

Gateshead Harriers remained second throughout, finishing ahead of hosts Sunderland Harriers, who were a further 56 seconds adrift.

A strong Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s B-team performance saw them finish fifth, courtesy of Phil Winkler (9m21s), Sam Hancox (9m43s), Jordan Scott (9m20s), and David Swinburne (9m45s).

There was also a great deal of strength in the Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men’s team performance, which finished third behind Elswick Harriers and Tyne Bridge Harriers.

They held third place throughout the whole of the four-leg effort, courtesy of Paul Waterston (9m59s), Phil Walker (9m59s), Rob Hancox (10m15s) and Geoff Whitman (10m05s).

Morpeth Harriers also produced some excellent results in the younger age group events, particularly the wins by James Young and brother and sister Kieran and Rhiannon Hedley.

Running in what was effectively his first competitive race for Morpeth Harriers since joining from Blyth Running Club, Young was very much the master of affairs in the U17 Men’s event, which he won in 9m11s, forging a five-second lead over his closest opponent?

Club colleague Adam Weightman finished third in 9m18s and relatively new Morpeth acquisitions Adam Gibbs and Jack Armstrong, both formerly Wallsend Harriers, finished 10th and 13th respectively in 10m03s and 10m18s.

Kieran Hedley was a convincing winner of the U15 Boys’ race in 9m38s and Adam Shewry and Joe Dowd did themselves proud with performances that saw them finish fourth and fifth in 10m05s and 10m14s.

Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in the U15 Boys’ event were Alex Cunningham (10th) 10m42s, Connor Marshall (15th) 11m02s, and Jamie Duguid (23rd) 11m55s.

In what effectively was her last race as an U11 Girl athlete, Rhiannon Hedley signed off with an excellent win in 4m03s.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Amy Lott finished 12th in 4m36s.

Ross Charlton who had won a podium place in the previous week’s Junior Great North Run produced yet another inspired run when he finished second in the U13 Boys’ event in 10m24s, only eight seconds adrift of Blyth’s much taller Josh Fiddaman.

Another inspiring Morpeth performer in the U13 Boys’ event was Thomas Cunningham, who finished fifth in 11m03s.

Sam Bradley finished 15th in 12m13s.

Holly Peck of Morpeth produced an impressive run to finish sixth in the U13 Girls’ event in 11m46s.

Equally impressive was her club colleague Abby Sheldon, who finished second in the U17 Women’s event in 11m18s.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Charlotte Jewell finished sixth in 11m53s.

Dylan Davies continued to impress in the U11 Boys’ event, where he finished fourth in 4m09s.

Bobby Stone and Daniel Dixon, also competing for Morpeth, finished tenth and 15th respectively in 4m19s and 4m27s.

In the U15 Girls’ event Gracie Hufton was Morpeth’s sole competitor, finishing 20th in 13m01s.

Morpeth Harriers’ other solo competitor was Gwenda Cavill, who finished 21st in the Senior Women’s event in 12m34s.

Morpeth Harrier Gavin Bayne won second placing in the Over 55 Men’s category in the North East Masters 10,000m Track Championship, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium on Saturday, September 13. He clocked a time of 39m25.1s.

Low Fell Running Club’s John Stephens was the winner of the Over 55 category in 38m47.6s.

In the same event, his Morpeth Harriers club colleague Archie Jenkins finished third in the Over 60 Men’s category, posting a time of 47m52.5s.

Some very excellent performances saw Morpeth Harriers retain the Overall Trophy at the annual North Eastern Counties Athletics Association End of Season Track Relays meeting, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium, on Wednesday, September 10.

The club achieved this by clocking the fastest time in six of the 18 events, finishing ahead of their nearest rivals Tynedale Harriers and Sedgefield Harriers, who are also gently blossoming into a very formidable Track outfit.

Declan Stoker, Will Kelly, Jake Jardine and Sean O’Hara combined superbly to bring Morpeth’s U15 Boys’ 4x100 and 4x200m squad’s home as winners in 47.4s and 1min 39.5s respectively.

In the two U13 Boys’ 4x100m races, Morpeth Harriers found success in both.

Matthew Heslop, Patrick Darroch, Matthew Ash and Reuben Wilkinson combined their efforts to take the first race in 59.8s and, in the second race, the efforts of Josh Nelson, Ash, Luke Haxell and Wilkinson, were duly rewarded with victory in 60.8s.,

Morpeth Harriers won the Senior Women’s 4x100m and 4x200m events in respective times of 53.2s and 1m56.9s.

Their line-up for the shorter event was Beth Laidler, Kirsty Lang, Megan Deakin and Lily Hood.

Rosie McDonald, Molly McDonald, Louise Brett and Amber Cormack were the formation of the 4x200m squad.

The latter four also ran for their club in the 4x400m event, where they finished second to Houghton Harriers in a combined time of 4m29.9s.

Brett ran the first leg in 68.5s, Rosie McDonald ran the second leg in 70.5s, Mollie McDonald clocked 67.2s, with their fastest clocking coming from final-leg runner Amber Cormack, who ran 63.7s.

The Morpeth Senior Men’s 4x100m squad won the second race in 45.9s, courtesy of Phil Winkler, Joe Robertshaw (scoring guest), Connor Hedley and Jack Hepple.

Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s 4x200m squad finished third in 1m34.7s, courtesy of Hedley, Robertshaw, Joe Elder and Winkler.

In the 4x400m event, Morpeth’s Senior Men triumphed in the second race in 3m32.6s.

The split times were Elder (55.6s), Robertshaw (51.1s), Winkler (54.0s) and Hepple (52.1s).

Naomi Arkle, Georgia Priest, Hannah Brown, and Jessica Young-Rogers combined to finish second for Morpeth to North Shields Poly in the U15 Girls’ 4x100m event in 54.8s.

In the 4x200m event Arkle, Georgia Priest, Harriet Priest, and Young-Rogers combined to finish third behind Jarrow and Hebburn in 1m57.5s.

Morpeth Harriers U17 Men’s 4x200m squad finished third in 1m43.6s, courtesy of Alex Dunlop, Kenny Harrison, Jamie Warburton and Jones.

The same line-up with the exception of Jones, who was replaced by Hans Paulsen, combined to finish fourth in the 4x100m behind Tynedale in 49.4s.

In the U17 Women’s 4x200m, Morpeth Harriers had to settle for fifth place behind Gateshead.

The combined efforts of Megan Deakin, Kirsty Lang, Lily Hood saw them clock 2m01.5s, however, this squad were thwarted in their attempt for success in the 4x100m, where they found themselves disqualified.

Morpeth Harriers U13 Girls’ 4x100m squad took part in two races, finishing fourth in their heat the first time round in 65.1s and seventh overall in the final in 66.2s.

Credit for great club organisation on the night must go to Paddy Paulsen (Boys) and Ken McDonald (Women), who did a splendid job as respective team managers.

Morpeth Harrier Laura Weightman competed against some of her Commonwealth and European opponents in Sunday’s prestigious Fifth Avenue Mile in New York USA.

She finished 11th of 18 in a time of 4m26.9s, behind Jenny Simpson, who won in 4m19.4s.

Fellow Brit Hannah England finished seventh in 4m23.1s.

There were some excellent achievements by some of the club’s younger age athletes in the Junior and Mini Great North Runs, held on Saturday, September 6, the day before the main event.

Most prominent of these was young Ross Charlton, who achieved a superb podium place in the 11 to 12-year-old Boys’ event.

Ross finished third, posting an excellent 14m44s for his effort.

Another high placer from Morpeth Harriers in this age group was Thomas Cunningham, who finished 22nd in 16m16s.

Thomas’s older brother Alex was also a prominent finisher in the 13 to 14-year-old Boys event. He finished 34th in 15m51s.

Other high placers from Morpeth Harriers in this age group event were, Cameron Kirk (47th) 16m40s, Will Sibson (51st) 16m46s, and Lewis James (73rd) 17m22s.

In the Boys 15 to 16 year event, new Morpeth signing James Young, (formerly Blyth Running Club), did well by placing fifth in 13m19s, and Adam Weightman, younger brother of Olympian Laura, finished one place behind in sixth place, in 13m35s.

Morpeth Harriers Dylan Davies and Bobby Stone were very prominent in the Boys nine to 10-year-old event, finishing 12th and 14th with respective clockings of 16m52s and 16m56s.

In the Girls’ events, Holly Peck and Amber Cormack were the best of the Morpeth Harriers performers.

Holly finished 15th in the Girls 11 to 12 year event in 17m18s, and Amber finished 19th in the Girls 15 to 16 event in 18m00s.

Other Morpeth Harriers results were as follows:

Boys’ nine to 10 years: Dylan Gooding (50th) 18m34s, Harry Hoggan (125th) 20m07s, and Danny Henderson (350th) 23m48s.

Boys’ 11 to 12: Sam Bradley (104th) 18m32s, Josh Gair (209th) 21m07s, and Luke Haxell (285th) 23m04s.

Girls’ nine to 10: Rebecca Bradley (178th) 24m38s.

Girls’ 11 to 12: Isabelle McCormack (108th) 22m05s.

Girls’ 13 to 14: Eve Smith (64th) 20m21s, Emily Morris (93rd) 21m42s, and Holly Jordan (116th) 22m43s.