New Year joy as Newton defends his Morpeth 11k road race title

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Nearly 170 keen runners lined up for the annual Morpeth 11k Road Race, sponsored by Linden Homes, on New Year’s Day.

For the second year in succession, the field were led home by Morpeth Harrier Peter Newton, who crossed the finish line on High Stanners, posting a time of 33m28s, which proved to be 24 seconds faster than his 2016 winning time.

Second place went to Newton’s Morpeth colleague Carl Avery, who was 13 seconds adrift, despite sharing a lead throughout most of the event. He was only dropped once the pair had entered Carlisle Park, which was where Newton scented a second triumph.

It was also the second time that Avery had finished second, having been runner up to Elswick’s Tadele Geremew in 2015.

Third place went to Gateshead Harrier Callum Johnson, who clocked 34m05s, which was 14 seconds faster than his 2016 time when he had finished fourth behind Newton. Fourth place on this occasion went to Morpeth’s Sam Hancox, who posted a finishing time of 34m39s.

Morpeth Harriers also filled fifth, sixth, and seventh places, courtesy of Thomas Straughan, Ian Harding and Lewis Timmins, who posted times of 34m58s, 35m01s, and 35m18s respectively.

Eighth place went to North Shields Poly’s Graham Cook (36m39s), ninth place went to Jarrow & Hebburn’s Brendan McMillan (36m55s), and the top ten finishers were completed by Macclesfield’s Mark Walker (37m07s).

One place behind Walker was leading Veteran Man Jeff Prest, of Trafford AC, who clocked 37m43s.

Morpeth Harriers also provided the winner of the Women’s race, when Over 35 Veteran Jane Hodgson finished 25th overall in 41m18s, one place and 16 seconds ahead of second placed Woman Gina Rutherford, now running in the colours of Jarrow and Hebburn following her transfer from North Shields Poly.

Third placed Woman was Morpeth’s Lorna MacDonald, who finished in 31st overall in 42m18s, five places and 42 seconds ahead of younger sister Catriona, who was fourth.

Completing the top five in the Women’s event was Edinburgh AC’s Madeline Bell, who finished 40th overall, posting a finishing time of 43m30s.

Morpeth Harriers wish to thank race sponsors Linden Homes and George Patterson for their continued generosity, Morpeth Rugby Club for the use of their premises as Race Headquarters, Racenumber.co.uk for providing their online entry service, Dave Todd for First Aid provision by Teesside Voluntary Services, and members and friends for assistance with on-the-day course marshalling, and UK Athletics officials for their valuable help.

Conditions for the event were generally good, with a cool breeze. However, later finishing runners were forced to endure some sleety rainfall.