PBs for Harriers despite strong winds

Strong winds affected competing athletes’ times in the first in the series of BMC North East Regional Meetings, held at Maiden Castle, near Durham, on the evening of Monday, May 11, writes George Patterson.

Despite this factor, three Morpeth Harriers set new personal bests in the 800m events.

In a good turnout, there were 12 races in all, and Kevin Calvert, Elliot Kelly and Rhiannon Hedley set new figures of 1m59.3s, 2m04.5s and 2m40.5s respectively.

Calvert finished second in the third race of the night, with fellow Morpeth Harrier Nathan Shrubb only slightly adrift in third place in 2m01.9s.

Kelly finished third in the fifth race on track and was only two seconds adrift of the winner, fellow U20 athlete Sam Garrett, of New Marske.

In the final race of the night, Hedley finished third.

The fastest race of the night was won by Woodford Green’s Jonathan Cooke in 1m52.2s, and Morpeth Harriers Andy Wiles and Nick Swinburn finished third and fifth respectively in 1m54.1s, and 2m00.0s.

Just adrift of Swinburn in terms of time was Lewis Timmins, who finished sixth in the B-race in 2m00.3s.

Morpeth Harriers did have a race winner on the night in Ryan Green, who now looks to be getting closer to his better form.

He was agonisingly just narrowly adrift of his pb, when he won the C race in 1m57.8s, and will no doubt feel all the better from his good performance considering the windy conditions.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Phil Winkler finished fifth in the same race as Green, in a time of 2m04.4s.

The blue-and-white vests of Morpeth Harriers figured very prominently among the action at the second Start Fitness North Eastern Grand Prix meeting, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium, last Wednesday evening.

None more so than in the graded 800m, where the club had no fewer than eight, with seven in the feature A-race, which had the Jimmy Hedley Cup as a rich prize for the winner.

The night itself went to Ryan Green, who not only won the trophy, but also bettered his pb by a whole second with his excellent clocking of 1m56.2s.

Very fractionally adrift of him in second place and also setting new figures of 1m56.7s was clubmate Adam Gibbs, who is really experiencing a purple patch of form and was clearly elated by his run, despite just missing out on some silverware for his trophy cabinet.

Other good Morpeth performances in the 800m A- race came from James Young (fifth, third Junior Man ) 2m01.1s (new pb), Elliot Kelly (sixth, fourth Junior Man) 2m02.9s (new pb), Philip Winkler (seventh, fifth Junior Man) 2m02.9s, Ross Floyd (eighth) 2m03.2s, and Adam Weightman (ninth, sixth Junior Man) 2m06.6s (new pb).

In the slower run 800m B-race, Morpeth Harrier Amber Cormack, who was celebrating her 18th birthday, clocked 2m27.3s and was the faster of the two Junior Women on the track.

Other events on the night also saw new pb achieved by several Morpeth Harriers.

The U13 Girls’ 200m saw new figures of 31.1s and 32.1s respectively for Holly Peck and Lily Heaton, who finished sixth and seventh fastest.

Peck and Heaton also achieved new figures of 2m31.3s and 2m44.5s in the 800m, saw them finish second and seventh.

Also in the 800m, Morpeth’s Rhiannon Hedley set new figures of 2m39.7s, achieving her second new pb in the space of two days, which saw her finish in fourth place.

In the U15 Boys’ 800m, Taylor Glover, Connor Marshall, Matthew Waterfield, and Ross Charlton of Morpeth Harriers all achieved new pb of 2m09.3s, 2m25.4s, 2m26.3s and 2m27.2s respectively, which gave them second, seventh, eighth and ninth fastest times.

Waterfield had earlier also achieved new figures of 42.3s in the 300m, where club colleague Joe Dowd also achieved a new pb of 40.6s. Waterfield finished second to Dowd.

Also competing in the U15 Boys’ 800m for Morpeth Harriers was Alex Cunningham. He was 11th fastest in 2m31.6s.

Alex’s younger brother Thomas did well in the U13 Boys’ 800m, finishing fourth in 2m36.2s, which was fractionally outside his best performance.

In the graded Men’s 100m, Morpeth’s Sean O’Hara achieved a new pb of 11.6s, which made him the fastest U17 man on view.

He actually finished third overall in the A-race, which was won by his Morpeth Harriers clubmate, and training partner Jack Hepple in a time of 10.8s, which although not a pb, was certainly well clear of his opposition, and came off the back of two excellent performances five days earlier at Crawley.

Competing as a higher competition athlete for Gateshead Harriers in their British League Division Two fixture, where he won both the 100m and 200m B-events in respective times of 10.91s and 21.54s, and on both occasions against strong headwinds, with the latter being a new pb, Hepple is clearly in the form of his life.

This all bodes well for him, as he prepares himself for the challenge of the North Eastern Outdoor Championships, where he hopes to emulate his double gold medal victory of 12 months ago in the Junior Men’s 100m and 200m, by adding the Senior Men’s titles to his collection.

Ironically, the only man standing in his way appears to be the Gateshead Harriers A-race runner at Crawley, Christian Carson, who took the senior titles last year.

The U15 Girls’ 200m saw Morpeth Harrier Nadine Arkle set a new pb of 28.4s, which gave her the fourth fastest time of the event, and hopefully has provided a timely boost of form for the talented teenager, who has suffered a few setbacks in fitness recently.

Elder sister Naomi finished as third U17 Woman in the graded 100m, in a time of 13.6s.

In the Junior Women’s 100m, Morpeth Harriers Beth Laidler and Lauren Smith were third and fourth fastest, with respective times of 13.7s and 13.9s.

Two Morpeth Harriers had first-time experiences on the night.

Megan Deakin, who has only just graduated from U17 Women’s age group to U20, clocked 63.1s in her first competitive 400m, which gave her an equal first clocking with Shildon’s Georgia Hurst, and Adam Shewry, who clocked 10m04.1s in his first ever U17 Men’s 3000m, placing him third in his age group.

Emma Holt had perhaps the biggest pb achievement for a Morpeth Harrier on the night, when she took a whole 34 seconds off her previous best in the Senior Women’s 3000m, clocking a very respectable 10m04.8s.

In only his second ever U17 Men’s 3000m, Morpeth Harrier Kieran Hedley clocked a new pb of 9m13.3s and was second in his age group.

A record field of 144 complete finishing teams competed in the annual Gordon Smith Memorial Road Relays, organised by Wallsend Harriers, and held at Segedunum last Wednesday evening.

Conditions were ideal for the event, which incorporated three legs of two laps around the circuit, and three of the finishing teams came from Morpeth Harriers.

The Northumbrian club fielded two finishing Women’s teams and one Men’s squad.

Tony Lewis (11m51s), Gavin Bayne (13m11s) and Paul Bellingham (13m41s) saw the Morpeth Harriers Men finish 36th of 86 teams in a total time of 38m49s.

The club’s two Women’s squads finished 14th and 45th respectively in a field of 58 finishing teams.

Jo Carruthers (13m13s), Gwenda Cavill (14m52s) and Shuna Rank (15m17s), competed for the A-team, who had a total finishing time of 43m22s.

Lesley Chapman (15m40s), Pam Woodcock (16m33s) and Jane Blackett (17m30s) formed a Women’s B-team, who clocked a total finishing time of 49m43s.

Evergreen Morpeth Harriers Veteran Archie Jenkins competed in the European Masters 10k Road Race, held in Grosseto, Italy, on Friday.

Finishing 29th in the strongly-contested Over 60 Men’s section, he was seventh home from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who were fourth behind a rampant host squad in the team race. Archie’s finishing time was 48m04s.

Two new awards were presented to athletes at Morpeth Harriers’ Clubhouse at Mitford Road on the evening of Monday, May 11.

They were made in honour of their former club chairman and very much respected honoured official Bill Woods, who very suddenly passed away last August, following a short illness.

The awards were presented by club chairman David Swinburne, and long serving club secretary Mike Bateman, who had served the club alongside Bill for many years, and described his former club colleague as a friend who had worked very hard in various capacities for them, and would have been very proud to know that these particular awards had been made in memory of him, as during his many years had been very supportive of the development of young talents from grass roots, and the two recipients certainly fulfilled that category.

Sam Hancox had been a regular contributor to the club’s Senior Men’s Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League effort, competing in all six of the meetings, plus the Sherman Cup competition, which the club had won again, and he had been one of the point scorers.

Jamie Duguid had also been a regular contributor like Sam and he was presented with the Junior award, after his performances for the club’s U15 Boys throughout the winter campaign.