Lewis runs quicker to retain North East title

LEWIS Timmins recorded a fine victory in the North East Athletics Association 5k Championships in Sunderland last Wednesday.

The Morpeth Harrier not only retained his title, but in the process sliced a good 20 seconds off his time from 2012.

In a race which the club has consistently dominated for a number of years, Timmins was part of a small leading group at the front of the field up to the halfway point, choosing to push on thereafter to cross the finishing line in a time of 14 minutes and 40 seconds.

His winning margin by the end of the race was a good five seconds over his nearest rival, Mark Hood of Sunderland Harriers.

In close succession behind Timmins were club colleagues Mark McLeod, fifth in 15m 10s, Ross Floyd, eighth in 15m 15s, Ryan Stephenson, 10th in 15m 27s, and Nathan Shrubb, 17th in 15m 57s.

On a night when conditions on the two-lap course round the lakes at the Silksworth Sports Centre were clearly propitious, there were a host of fast times, a number of personal bests and two of the fastest category times in the UK for 2013.

The winning time of Alyson Dixon of Sunderland Strollers in the women’s race – 15m 52s – was a UK best this year, as was the 15m 47s run by Guy Bracken of North Shields Polytechnic Harriers in the Over 50 category.

For Morpeth, personal bests came thick and fast with Jordan Scott breaking the 16-minute barrier for the first time (18th in 15m 59s), and Rob and Sam Hancox keeping them in the family by running 18m 15s (88th place) and 16m 59s (42nd) respectively.

It was also a family affair for the clan Macdonald, with Alistair running strongly to finish second to Bracken in the Over 50 category in a time of 17m 48s and daughter Lorna knocking a good 30 seconds off her previous best time for the distance by running 20m 18s. Mum Margaret completed the turn-out in a time of 26m 50s.

There were category wins for Phil Walker – first Over 45 male veteran in a time of 16m 56s, which was no mean achievement having competed strongly in the Coastal Run a few days earlier – and Bob Wells, who was first Over 65 in 20m 58s.

Other Morpeth Harriers performances and personal bests (denoted with pb next to their time) included the following: Tom Straughan, 26th in 16m 20s (pb); Fergus Bates, 33rd in 16m 33s (pb); Mike Thomsen, 35th in 16m 45s (pb); Matt Forster, 49th in 17m 18s (pb); Mark Snowball, 130th in 19m 36s (pb); Kate Chapman, seventh senior female in 19m 55s; and Peter Scaife, 161st in 20m 24s.

IN a season of highs and lows, Morpeth Harrier Phillip Winkler will have taken a lot of pleasure in achieving a much-awaited resurgence of better form when he clocked a very impressive new personal best of 2m00.7s to place second to Tyne Bridge Harrier Sparrow Morley in the 800m D race at the recent BMC series of races at Maiden Castle, Durham, on Monday, July 15.

Another Morpeth Harrier to perform well on the night was Ashley Gibson, who ran a season’s best of 2m11.0s when finishing fourth in a mixed 800m G race.

Jacob Hopkins’ good season continued when he finished third in the mixed 800m H race in 2m13.6s, as did English Schools select Amber Cormack who was second lady home in the mixed 800m I race in a time of 2m19.7s, finishing just a fraction behind fellow Under 17 athlete Philippa Chambers of Gateshead Harriers.

MORPETH Harriers have now fully completed their presentation of Certificates for the Benfield Motor Group Athlete of the Month Awards for 2012/13.

The judges were very closely split on two recipients for the month of May, so they decided to combine the awards for May and June 2013.

Joe Dowd (Under 13 Boy) and Jacob Hopkins (Under 15 Boy) were the chosen runners, particularly for their performances at the North Eastern Counties Track and Field Championships and at the North East Youth Development League.

Very shortly, Morpeth Harriers will complete the process by presenting the Benfield yearly awards. Three athletes will receive monetary prizes courtesy of the sponsors.