Harriers shine at penultimate NE Grand Prix meet in Jarrow

Morpeth 10k road race
Picture by Jane Coltman
Morpeth 10k road race Picture by Jane Coltman

There were some excellent performances from Morpeth athletes at the fifth and penultimate NE Grand Prix meeting at Jarrow last week.

The Harriers sent 13 athletes to Monkton Stadium and the performances included four overall event wins, two from the Track, and two coming from the Field events, plus one new personal best.

Despite the heavy prolonged rain earlier in the day, conditions were much improved by the time proceedings got underway, and thankfully events were uninterrupted throughout.

James Young, who had run in an 800m in Stretford, Manchester the previous evening, certainly showed no effects from that outing, as he took a handsome victory in the first of four Graded 1500m events.

He posted a winning time of 4m02.0s, the fastest of the night, finishing fractionally ahead of club colleague Taylor Glover, who had hotly pursued Young throughout most of the three and three-quarter lap event.

Glover posted a time of 4m04.4s, which was only a mere fraction adrift of his personal best, and he was easily the fastest in the Under 17 Men’s age group.

Another Morpeth Harrier in action in this particular race was Alistair Douglass, who finished sixth in 4m11.7s, and he was third fastest Senior Man.

Other members of the club in action in the Graded 1500m events were Connor Marshall, Thomas Innes and Holly Peck.

They all competed in the third race, where Marshall finished third in 4m29.0s, as ninth fastest Under 17 Man, Innes finished fifth in the third race, and was eleventh fastest Senior Man with 4m36.5s, in what was his first 1500m, and Peck, running as an Under 15 Girl guest, clocked 4m50.2s, just outside her personal best, when placing tenth in the third race.

In the 200m Graded races, Morpeth’s Sean O’Hara won the first race in 23.6s, after finishing second in the A race of the earlier run Graded 100m in 11.7s.

Accompanying O’Hara in the 100m and 200m events was club colleague Robbie Anderson, who finished third in the second 100m in 12.3s, and second in the third 200m in 25.9s.

He was fourth and fifth respectively in his Under 17 age group.

In the Field events, Morpeth throws specialists Ruaridh Lang and Andrew Knight both had respective victories in the Graded Discus and Shot Putt.

Lang won the Discus, with a best throw of 46.08s, which was still some way short of his personal best, however was still a good three metres clear of his closest rival, Female Senior, Sophie Littlemore of Gateshead Harriers.

Closest in Lang’s Under 17 age group however, was another Gateshead athlete Oliver Herring, who finished fourth overall, with a best of 31.00m.

As added satisfaction, as a result of his age graded performance, it was later announced that Lang had been awarded the Male Athlete of the Meeting vote, and he will pick up his reward at the end of season presentation in September.

Knight’s win in the Shot Putt, saw him produce a best on the night of 14.67m, which was just over two metres clear of his closest rival, again Littlemore of Gateshead.

Closest in his Under 17 age group however was Max Tyrie of South Shields, who managed a best of 7.27m.

Back on the track, and the only Morpeth athlete to achieve a personal best on the night was Under 15 Boy Jonny Kidd, who took a second off his 1500m time, when finishing seventh in 4m48.2s.

Sister and Brother Jessica and Edward Gardiner competed respectively in the Hammer, and Under 15 Girls, and Under 13 Boys Discus events.

Jessica was the first of four Under 15 Girls in the Hammer, with her best in her set of throws, achieving 23.20m, winning Darlington Harrier Rosie Thompson, by the margin of 16cm.

In the Under 15 Girls Discus, Jessica finished as third Under 15 Girl, with her best throw of 18.90m.

Meanwhile Edward finished second in the Under 13 Boys Discus, his best throw being 13.38m, losing out for victory by the margin of one metre to Gateshead Harrier Josh Hickson.

* Northumberland athlete Laura Weightman is preparing to embark on one of the biggest meetings of her career next week - the World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London.

And the one-time Alnwick runner, who now represents Morpeth Harriers, will go into the event in top form, having last week set a new personal best in an 800m race in Manchester.

Weightman clocked 2.01.87 when finishing second to Pudsey and Bramley’s Alex Bell, in the Women’s 800m A race at the penultimate BMC Gold Standards Meeting, held at Stretford.

That was nearly a second faster than her previous best time which she posted in June at Chester Le Street, in the regional BMC event.

It clearly shows that she is in the form of her life going into the Championships, and can legitimately expect a good outcome from them, maybe not necessarily a medal, but barring any mishaps, a world class time.

* On Tuesday, Morpeth staged the 2017 10k road race and the winner was home-based Ian Hudspith in 31.16, just four seconds ahead of clubmate Carl Avery.

Full report next week.