SEVERAL athletes from Morpeth Harriers successfully kick-started their Cross Country season on Saturday when competing at the Sunderland Harriers Open event, writes George Patterson.
Philip Winkler and Jonnie Nisbet celebrated by recording excellent individual placings, and good runs by Ailsa Jones, Jacob Hopkins and Maxine Czarneka saw them achieve minor medals.
There were also a handful of excellent improved performances, particularly from Philip Caldwell, Alison Brown, Elliot Kelly, Harriet Priest and Lauren Robson.
Despite feeling unwell before and after the event, held at Farringdon School, Winkler took his place on the startline in the U15 Boys’ race and was boosted to win with nine seconds to spare over his Chester-le-Street rival Thomas Gouldings.
Not far behind Philip came clubmate Kelly, who is really starting to show his potential. He showed this with a highly-commendable placing of fifth, and was very close to battling for a minor medal.
Ryan Green came through steadily to finish ninth, and other Morpeth Harriers to finish in this event were Jarod Lewis (12th) and Joe Elder (17th).
Nisbet made a comfortable job of winning the U17 Men’s event with 12 seconds to spare over his closest rival, however the shining light for Morpeth Harriers in this race was definitely Caldwell, who battled well throughout and was not far away from the minor placings when he finished fifth.
Other Morpeth Harriers U17 Men’s finishers were Sam Hancox (15th) and Jack Hepple (16th).
Jones won herself a silver medal in the U11 Girls’ event, which also saw excellent performances being set by Priest (sixth) and Robson (seventh).
Hopkins ran excellently to take a bronze medal in the U13 Boys’ event, and there were also good Morpeth finishers in Euan Jones (10th) and Hamish Thomson (25th).
Czarneka finished third behind a rampant Rosie Smith of Durham City in the Senior and Veteran Women’s event and Gemma Floyd can feel pleased with her placing of eighth.
Despite having one of her best runs, Brown can count herself very unlucky to be run out of the medals in the U15 Girls’ event when she finished fourth.
Morpeth Harriers had an excellent turnout in the U13 Girls’ event, managing to field no less than six runners.
Placings were as follows: Lizzie Rank (ninth), Abbie Elliot (12th), Olivia Priest (15th), Harriet Grace (16th), Georgia Priest (18th) and Florence Thomson (22nd).
In the U11 Boys’ event, Robbie Elder finished 13th.
• Three Morpeth Harriers competed in the 800m BMC races that accompanied the Northumberland Classic events at Hexham on Saturday, September 3.
Ryan Green and Philip Winkler both enjoyed victories in the B and C events in respective times of 2m12.6s and 2m12.3s. In Green’s case he very nearly equalled his personal best.
Laura Weightman finished fifth in a male dominated A race in a time of 2m07.9s, which was around three seconds adrift of her personal best.
• On Saturday, Morpeth Harrier Archie Jenkins retained his Veterans’ North East Over 55 10,000m title when clocking 46m59.4s.
The following day, clubmate Andrew Lawrence knocked nearly two minutes off his previous best time when finishing 31st in the Bristol Half Marathon in 73m16s.
Meanwhile, Weightman set new personal best figures of 4m07.94s when she placed fifth in the fastest heat of the 1500m at Stretford on September 6.
• Four Morpeth Harriers competed in Sunday’s Wallington 10k. First home was Tom Brookes, who had an excellent run to finish third overall in 39m28s.
Next home from the club was Lawrence Clark, who finished 37th in 45m11s and was sixth in the Over 35 Veteran Men’s category.
Pam Woodcock had an excellent run to finish as first Over 60 Lady, when placing 79th overall in 49m56s, and Kate Fearns completed the club’s quartet when coming home in 91st place, and was second to Pam in the age category, with a time of 51m38s.