Jonny back in Lotto action

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Senior Men’s North Eastern Cross Country champion, Jonny Taylor of Morpeth Harriers, was back in competitive action on Sunday, writes George Patterson.

On this occasion he was on foreign soil, when he competed in the high-quality IAAF Lotto Cross Cup meeting in Brussels.

Taylor finished as first Briton in 11th behind Kenyan Alex Kibet in the Senior Men’s 10.5k in 34m07s, just under two minutes adrift of the winner.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Ashley Gibson was also in action at the same meeting. She finished as fourth Briton, behind Kenya’s Sheila Chepngetch, in the Senior Women’s 6k event in 20th place overall, around two-and-a-half minutes adrift of the winner.

Having made remarkably full recoveries from respective leg injuries sustained in the previous weekend’s North Eastern Cross Country Championships, Morpeth Harriers Andrew Wiles and Andrew Lawrence were very much back in the thick of competitive action at the weekend.

Wiles won the annual Loftus Poultry Run on Sunday in a time of 42m11s – 20 seconds clear of his former clubmate Russell Best of New Marske.

Lawrence finished third in 43m44s, less than 24 hours after competing for his second claim club Highgate Harriers at the third fixture of the ATW Metropolitan Cross Country League at Hillingdon House Farm, near Uxbridge in Middlesex, where he finished 31st in a classy Senior Men’s event behind Shaftesbury Barnet’s Michael Callegari.

As leading finishers, both Wiles and Lawrence both received prize turkeys for their efforts, along with Best.

Other Morpeth Harriers finishers at Loftus were Craig McBurney (35th, 10th Over-40) 51m43s, and David Steel (52nd, 17th Over-40) 53m42s.

For the second time in 14 days, Morpeth Harrier Richard Morrell finished as runner-up to an opponent in a local road race on Saturday.

Cheltenham Harrier Phillip Wylie proved to be a dominant force, when winning the annual Saltwell Harriers 10k Road Race, in a time of 31m50s.

Morrell finished second in 32m24s. He was one of four finishers from Morpeth Harriers.

Josie Cram, who is enjoying a long-awaited return to racing mode certainly kept her good form intact when she finished as fifth lady behind last week’s North Eastern Cross Country Champion Rosie Smith, who won in 35m05s.

Cram clocked a finishing time of 40m25s.

Further Morpeth Harriers results came from Mark Crosby (11th Over-50) 46m24s, and Archie Jenkins (fourth Over-60) 48m07s.

Over 350 competitors took part in this very popular pre-Christmas event.

Six Morpeth Harriers took part in Saturday’s Druridge Bay Park Run, all of them finishing in the top 25 on the 5k course.

First home in what was his second run on the course was Phillip Winkler, who set new figures for himself of 17m31s.

Just over a minute behind him in second place was clubmate Mark Snowball, who clocked 18m38s.

Graeme Leathard was next home from Morpeth Harriers, finishing fifth in 20m49s.

Richard Kirby set new figures on the course of 21m35s, when finishing ninth.

Father and daughter Scott and Sarah Wilkes finished in 15th and 24th places in respective times of 22m55s and 24m08s.

Meanwhile, at Whitley Bay, Morpeth Harrier Tony Lewis warmed up his Christmas by finishing in fifth spot in 18m18s, this being his first run on the course.