The final Sunday in August saw athletes from Morpeth Harriers competing on two fronts in the North East, west in the Tynedale 10-mile race and south in the Middlesbrough Tees Pride 10k.
Organised efficiently as ever by Tynedale Harriers, the Tynedale 10 sees competitors running along the Tyne Valley from the northern outskirts of Hexham, through the centre of Corbridge, on to Styford and Bywell, to finish in the grounds of Ovingham Middle School, where a welcoming ‘jelly tea’ is provided as a reward.
Traditionally run at the end of the summer holidays and usually a harbinger of an impending autumn, this year’s Tynedale 10 was run in bright sunshine and the 11am start meant many runners struggled not just with the hills on the course but with the heat in the face of temperatures in the high teens or more.
This year, the race included both the North East Athletics Association championship and the NEMAA (North East Masters Athletics Association) 10-mile championships and there was therefore strong veteran representation.
On the day, there was double success for runners from Tyne Bridge Harriers, with the men’s race being won by Cees van der Land in a time of 56 minutes and the women’s by Louise Rodgers (1h 6m 07s).
Pick of the day’s performances by Morpeth Harriers was undoubtedly that of veteran Pam Woodcock, who picked up prizes for first Over 60 female veteran in the race itself and a richly-deserved gold medal from NEMAA for the same category, with a time of 1h 20m 3s.
First home for the club, however, was youngster Sam Hancox in sixth place overall (57m 43s), who showed himself keen as ever to compete after a full month away from racing.
He was followed home by veteran Paul Waterston in 12th place overall and fifth 0/45 (59m 3s) and by Matthew Boyle, who paid rather in the latter part of the race for going out very strongly, finishing in 16th place in a time of 59m 46s.
He did have the satisfaction at least of being part of a second place overall men’s team behind Elswick Harriers. Waterston was also able to add a NEMAA bronze medal in the 0/45 category.
Over 45 veteran Phil Walker was only some 48 seconds behind Waterston in 18th place, but narrowly missed out on medals in a competitive category.
A few places behind him was Rob Hancox, 21st overall in 1h 54s. Over 55 veteran Gavin Bayne, however, like Woodcock picked up two awards, as second in his race category and a silver medal from NEMAA (44th overall in 1h 5m 47s).
Morpeth’s other winners on the day were Peter Scaife, NEMAA bronze medallist in the O/50 section (83rd overall in 1h 10m 13s) and Richard Sill, second in the Over 60 category (118th in 1h 12m 55s).
Other Harriers finishers were: Mike Winter, 56th in 1h 6m 56s; Paul Banks, 69th in 1h 8m 47s and eighth O/40; Mark Crosby, 129th in 1h14m 16s and ninth O/50; Norman Clark, 142nd in 1h 15m 11s and fourth O/60; James McFetrich, 149th in 1h 15m 40s and Andrew Stephenson, 1h 24m 28s and 21st 0/50.
Ade Whitwam was Morpeth’s leading finisher at the 10th Taylor Wimpey Tees Pride 10k, finishing second to race winner Wondiye Fikre Indelbu in a time of 31 minutes and 50 seconds.
Kevin Calvert was fifth in a time of 32m 43s.
In the women’s race won by Josephine Stone (35m 41s), representing home-town club Middlesbrough, Emma Holt finished third (37m 35s), Jane Hodgson fourth (38m 28s) and Kate Chapman 25th (43m 32s).
Having run from his home in Amble to take part in the Druridge Bay Park Run on Saturday, Morpeth Harrier Karl Taylor set a new record for the 5k course, winning in a time of 16m 35s, before promptly running back home.
Mark Snowball finished fourth (19m 07s) and Adam Shewry 5th (19m 19s).
Vicky Gibbs won the women’s Whitley Bay event in 18m 56s. She finished sixth overall behind Scott Ellis of North Shields Poly (17m 27s).
Neil Wilkinson, now in the Over 45 category, finished third at Chester-le-Street, Riverside, in a time of 17m 21s behind North Eastern and Northern cross-country champion Dan Garbutt of Durham (15m 52s).
Paul Banks was the leading Morpeth Harrier at Newcastle, finishing 28th (19m 50s) behind winner Tom Charlton (17m 27s).
Ross Floyd of Morpeth Harriers maintained his excellent road race form on Tuesday, August 26, when he secured a 32 second margin of victory in the annual Blyth Links 10k, organised by Blyth Running Club and held on its usual course setting out from South Beach to Seaton Sluice Harbour and returning to the finish line at South Beach.
Posting a finishing time of 33m 30s, Floyd finished in front of North Shields Poly’s Iain Twaddle, who was first Veteran Man.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers on the night were Lewis Timmins, who placed 12th in 37m 54s, and Mark Snowball, who placed 25th in 39m 18s.
On the same evening, two athletes from Morpeth Harriers took part in the final BMC Gold Standard (North) track and field meeting of the season at Stretford Stadium, Manchester. It was held in conjunction with the Trafford Distance and Throws Grand Prix.
Andy Wiles secured his second track victory within a few days when he won the Men’s BMC 1500m in a season’s best of 3m 49.65s, his victory by a margin of three seconds over Leeds City athlete Michael Salter.
In a mixed 800m event, Josie Cram finished fourth in 2m 17.27s.
Some of Morpeth’s promising youngsters figured prominently in last week’s annual Watergate Low Fell 5k trail race.
Elliot Kelly was fourth overall in the race, but a clear winner of the Under 21 category in a time of 16m 55s – a best on this course by some margin – and he was followed home in seventh place by James Young in his first race for the club in a time of 17m 27s. James was the winner of the Under 17 category.
Fellow U17 Jack Armstrong was not far behind him in 16th place in a time of 18m 15s.
Alison Brown was eighth woman overall, but first Under 20, in a time of 21m 35s.