Although there were no medals won by athletes from Morpeth Harriers at the Northern Athletics Road Relays, at Birchwood Park, near Warrington, on Saturday, there were a great deal of excellent performances from the club, none more so than the U13 Boys squad, writes George Patterson.
They achieved the club’s best position on the day, when they finally came home in sixth spot in their 3x3000m event, posting a total finishing time of 34m36s, only a mere 46 seconds adrift of bronze medallists Leigh Harriers.
It was indeed an excellent achievement, as all three members of the squad had never competed in this level of road competition previously.
Junior Great North Run podium finisher Ross Charlton got them off to an excellent start, when he came home in sixth place on leg one, posting a superb time of 11m04s, which would eventually emerge as the eighth fastest overall on the day and was only around 20 seconds adrift of the medals at that stage.
Second-leg runner Thomas Cunningham did lose a little bit of ground with his clocking of 11m59s, but only surrendered a couple of places to eventual winners Warrington, who grabbed an early bit of glory on their local patch, and City of Sheffield.
Final leg runner for Morpeth Harriers was Daniel Dixon, who grabbed his own piece of glory by clawing back the two lost places with his clocking of 11m33s, using his strength and determination for battle that he clearly obtains through his junior triathlon experiences.
For once, Morpeth Harriers Senior Men were adrift of the leading protagonists in their 6x6000m event.
After a shaky start, the A-team eventually came through to finish eighth and were around three minutes adrift of the medals.
Carl Avery on first leg came home in 17th place, posting a time of 19m25s, which was just five seconds and one place ahead of his B-team compatriot Karl Taylor.
Second-leg runner Nathan Shrubb got the A-team up to 15th with his clocking of 19m48s, while B-team runner Ryan Stephenson held on to 18th spot with his clocking of 20m12s.
Making his Northern 6 Stage debut for Morpeth, Andy Wiles succeeded in progressing to eighth place on leg three, with his clocking of 19m09s, which was the A-team’s fastest time of the day.
Meanwhile, on leg three for the Morpeth B-team was Thomas Straughan, who slipped back a further two places to 20th, with his clocking of 20m38s.
Another Northern debutant for the Morpeth A-team was Kevin Calvert, who got the squad up to their highest placing on the day of seventh, with his clocking of 19m42s for the 6000m distance.
On leg four for Morpeth B-team was Elliot Kelly, who was making his Senior Championship debut. He gave his all as he got round in 21m07s, but unfortunately slipped back to 24th at the hands of some experienced senior opposition.
Despite losing a little ground in terms of time, Morpeth Harriers A-team fifth-leg runner Ross Floyd held on to seventh spot with his individual clocking of 20m13s.
Jordan Scott on the penultimate leg for the Morpeth B-team clawed back two places with his clocking of 21m04s.
Despite his clocking of 19m40s, Morpeth A-team sixth and final-leg runner Lewis Timmins slipped one place to eighth.
Morpeth B-team’s final-leg runner Andrew Lawrence clocked an excellent 19m54s as he climbed to 19th to secure their final placing and they were fourth B-team.
The next best performers for Morpeth Harriers were their U17 Men, who placed 11th in their 3x3300m event.
On leg one was Adam Gibbs, who marked his club and Northern debut by producing an excellent run to come home in 23rd place in 11m26s.
Adam Weightman got the squad up to 15th on leg two with his clocking of 11m22s.
Final-leg runner Nathan Cox took the squad up to 11th place with his excellent 10m53s.
Morpeth Harriers’ sole female performers were their U17 Women, who finished 12th of 22 complete teams in their 3x3300m event.
First-leg runner Abby Sheldon had the squad in 16th position as she got round the circuit in 13m28s.
Charlotte Jewell took the squad up to 13th place on leg two with her clocking of 13m54s.
Amber Cormack gained a further place on the final leg with her clocking of 13m14s.
Adam Shewry ran an encouraging first leg for Morpeth Harriers U15 Boys’ squad in their 3x3000m event.
He clocked 10m34s to come home in 17th place.
Alex Cunningham climbed a further three places on the second leg with his clocking of 10m57s.
Making his Northern debut, Jamie Duguid ran gamely, but slipped to 22nd on the final leg with his clocking of 12m02s.
In an event totally dominated by Ugandan athletes, Great Britain and Northern Ireland finished as fifth team in the 30th World Mountain Championships Senior Men’s 11k event, held at Cassette Di Massa in Tuscany, Italy, on Sunday, September 14.
They were led home by Morpeth Harrier Nick Swinburn, who produced a superb performance to finish 19th individually in a time of 59m09s.
Swinburn can feel well pleased with this run, as he had chosen at the start of the season to shelve his usual fell activities in order to make some progression in his middle distance track events.
Despite his choices, he was still chosen to represent his country by the selectors and he more than justified their wisdom in doing so if this performance is to be taken account of.
Two places and 19s behind him was his team-mate Andrew Douglass of Inverclyde and North Highland Harriers, who had actually won his selection by triumphing in the trials, held in Keswick, at the beginning of August.
The first three in the event were all from Uganda, with Isaac Kiprop winning in 53m50s.
Second place went to Daniel Rotich in 55m10s, with third going to Kibet Soyekwo in 55m24s.