The third running of the Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k Road Race, held at the Segendunum Museum, Wallsend, on Sunday attracted a top-class field, led home by the in-form Nick Swinburn of Morpeth Harriers, writes George Patterson.
He was very much involved in a close battle for supremacy with the host club Wallsend Harriers’ Ethiopian Yarod Hagos and only got away to win by the close margin of three seconds on the shorter second lap of the two-lap contest.
Hagos was forced to concede after a strong Swinburn put in a series of late bursts that saw him eventually cross the finish line in a season’s best of 14m51s, which was outside the course record, for which there was a prize purse of £200 to be collected if broken.
One course record that did tumble, however, was the Veteran Men’s record, held by North Shields Poly’s Guy Bracken, which was broken by over a minute when third-placed Ian Hudspith also of Morpeth Harriers crossed the finish line at the museum, in an excellent 15m2s, thus being the first Over 40 Veteran Man finisher.
Not far behind Hudspith in fourth spot was his Morpeth Harriers clubmate Matthew Nicholson, who recorded a time of 15m07s.
The Blue and White vests of Morpeth Harriers continued to figure among the leading finishers, with Thomas Straughan (10th) 15m54s, John Butters (13th) 16m01s, Elliot Kelly (19th, first U17 Man) 16m08s, Sam Hancox (22nd) 16m19s, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, Fergus Bates (23rd, second Over-40 Male) 16m28s, and Michael Thomsen (34th) 17m06s.
Straughan, Butters, Kelly, Hancox and Bates all ran new personal-best performances, with Kelly taking a whole minute off his previous best for the distance, and jumping up to second in the 2014 rankings for U17 Men.
However, he will now move up an age group to U20 Men for Track and Road and Cross Country competition, where he will no doubt make some impact.
Other Morpeth Harriers Men’s results were as follows:
Rob Hancox (53rd, fourth Over-45 Male) 18m12s, Jim Alder (71st, second Over-50 Male) 18m53s, Peter Scaife (100th, fifth Over-50 Male) 20m26s, and Mark Crosby (111th, seventh Over-50 Male) 20m46s.
Like his son Sam, Rob Hancox also achieved new figures.
In the Women’s race Alison Brown was the leading Morpeth Harriers finisher.
Finishing in 15th place in a season’s best 20m24s, she was the first Junior Woman home.
Next home for Morpeth Harriers in 18th place was Kate Chapman in 20m44s.
Not far behind Kate in 19th place was her Morpeth Harriers clubmate Lindsay Turnbull, who clocked 20m47s, and was third Over 40 Woman.
Shuna Rank of Morpeth Harriers ran well to finish as 29th Woman and was fourth in the Over-45 category in 21m45s, a new personal best.
Lesley Chapman finished second in the Over-55 Women’s section, when she finished 33nd in 22m27s.
Pam Woodcock won the Over-60 Women’s section by finishing 40th in 24m03s.
The event also incorporated the North East Masters 5k Championships, and several Morpeth Harriers figured among the medals.
The event had 192 finishers.
Clocking an excellent time of 77m14s, Morpeth Harrier Ian Harding won the tough and testing Coniston 14-Mile Road Race, held in Cumbria on Saturday.
He won with three minutes to spare over his closest rival John Battrick of Norfolk Beach Runners.
Morpeth Harrier Archie Jenkins donned two different sets of spikes for his outings at the World Masters Athletics Championships, held in Budapest, Hungary last week.
Firstly on March 25, he competed in the 8k Cross Country event, where he finished 31st, and was seventh Briton in the Over-60 section.
Two days later, he displayed his talents on the indoor circuit, where he finished 21st in the Over-60 Men’s 3000m in 12m06.87s.