Wilkinson walks away with women’s title

Sarah Wilkinson in action at Elswick.
Sarah Wilkinson in action at Elswick.
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MORPETH Harrier Sarah Wilkinson comfortably won the Senior Women’s event at the annual Elswick Harriers Good Friday Road Races, held at Newburn’s Riverside Business Park, and added to the course record-breaking victory achieved by her club’s Senior Men in their four leg relay, writes George Patterson.

Wilkinson achieved her superb victory in the warm conditions that prevailed, and the manner and margin that she held over runner-up Michelle Holt of Sunderland, definitely confirmed that the veteran Scottish International is in a rich vein of form, in preparation for the European Masters 10,000metres which takes place in Paris next month.

She clocked 12m24s over the 2.28mile course, which although is still some way outside Dianne Henaghan’s course record, it still shows that she could well rank amongst the favourites for European honours.

That time gave her a 29 second margin over Holt, with Alison Dargie of the host club finishing third, a further 15 seconds adrift.

Morpeth Harriers finished as third team, with further support coming from 13th placed Ailsa McGregor (14m07s), who finished third in her own personal battle against fellow U17s, whose race was incorporated into the event, and Jane Briggs, who finished 22nd in 14m45s, and was seventh Female Veteran Woman.

Other Morpeth finishers in this event were Claire Bruce (29th) (11th Vet) 16m11s, Pam Woodcock (37th) (16thVet) 17m00s, and Lucy Shuttleworth (38th) (10th U/17) 17m11s.

Morpeth Harriers Senior Men, when winning by over two minutes from Gateshead Harriers broke the previous course record by an excellent forty one seconds.

Ian Hudspith clocked the days fastest time of 10m33s for the 2.28mile on leg three, paving the way for Peter Newton to clinch the record breaking victory, with his own excellent 10m35s, which proved to be the second fastest behind Hudspith.

Nick Swinburn on first leg, had clocked the third fastest time of the day of 10m39s on first leg, and with Ian Harding managing the fourth fastest time of 10m48s on second leg, the Morpeth Harriers A team proved to be uncatchable.

The Morpeth Harriers Senior Mens B team were also a formidable force, when they came home in third place, and well ahead of Gateshead Harriers B and C teams, who filled fourth and fifth team places.

Fastest for the Morpeth B team was Neil Wilkinson, who clocked an impressive 11m04s on Leg One, which was well supported by the runs by Michael Morris (11m10s), Gary Jones (11m45s), and Neil Gunstone (12m05s), who was having his first official outing for the club, following his transfer from Scottish club Dundee Hawkhill.

It was also a successful day for Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men, where their A team fought out a tremendous battle with Sunderland Harriers, only to finish second by a margin of 26 seconds.

Terry Wall gave his all for Morpeth on the final leg, as he clocked the days fastest Veteran time of 11m36, after being well supported by the earlier legs of Alan Shepherd (12m21s), George Hall (13m15s), and Gavin Bayne (12m04s).

Morpeth Harriers Veteran Mens B team finished sixth, courtesy of Chris Waugh (12m26s), Rob Hancox (13m45s), Peter Scaife (14m32s), and Paul Waterston (12m22s).

In the younger age group races, Morpeth Harriers had excellent performers in Alison Brown, Philip Winkler, Ryan Green, and Jacob Hopkins.

Alison was a fast finishing fifth in the U15 Girls 1.8mile event in a time of 10m55s.

Sarah Wilkes, also running for Morpeth finished eighth in 11m34s.

After an injury ridden winter, Philip Winkler did well to finish ninth in the U15 Boys 2.28mile event in 13m07s.

Ryan Green and Jacob Hopkins clearly showed their immense improvement levels, when finishing fourth and eighth respectively in the U13 Boys 1.8mile event in 10m21s, and 10m50s.

Morpeth’s Sam Hancox finished fifteenth in the U17 Mens 2.28mile event in 13m57s.

ATHLETICS News from America clearly outlines that Morpeth Harriers Lewis Timmins and Delyth James are currently in good form on the track as they continue their studies at Tulsa and New Mexico Universities respectively.

Both were competing at the prestigious Mt Sac Relay meeting in Walnut CA, and in their respective Mens 10,000metres and 5000metres events they clocked new personal bests of 29m26.64s, and 16m40.45s to finish 13th and 8th in each case.

HE came, He saw, He conquered, very prophetic words indeed for a warm and sunny Easter Sunday, however, very justified in the case of Morpeth Harriers Mongolian International Serod Batochir, as for the second week in a row he made instant headlines.

Exactly a week after finishing ninth in the London Marathon, he led a field of over 2000 runners home to the finish line at St Mary’s Island, Whitley Bay in the seventh North Tyneside 10k sponsored by North Tyneside Council.

At 10am, outside North Shields Parks Leisure Centre, the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Linda Arkley sent the runners on their way, and it wasn’t long before Batochir was into his stride.

Seeing off an exuberant early challenge from his Morpeth Harriers clubmate Ian Harding, he stepped on the gas to draw well clear after a mile, and relishing the conditions he set off to create a new Mens course record of 30m20s, which bettered the 2010 figures set by Coventry Godiva’s Matthew Armstrong by 69 seconds, and his own clocking for the distance, set in 2009, the previous record, by a mammoth 73 seconds.

Harding meanwhile remained a lone figure in second place throughout, to come home in 31m28s, which was one second inside the old record, which was a welcome consolation.

It was very nearly a Morpeth Harriers one-two-three, had Durham’s Dan Garbutt not stepped in to grab third place from Michael Dawson, who could take added delight by bettering his previous figures on the course by an excellent twenty eight seconds, with his clocking of 32m05s.

Ross Floyd finished sixth in 33m13s, to further confirm Morpeth Harriers dominance in the Mens team race.

Further down the field Morpeth’s Fergus Bates can feel well pleased with his run, when he finished 43rd in 37m40s, and he was ninth in the Over 40 Veteran Mens section.

In the Womens race, won by Durham City’s Rosie Smith, in a new Womens record time of 35m40s, Morpeth Harrier Sarah Graham was first home for the club.

Sarah was sixth Lady overall, when she finished 79th in 39m24s.

Second Lady home from the club was Louise Laverton, who when finishing 106th in 40m26s, was also second in the Over 40 Womens age group.

Third home for Morpeth in the Womens race was Kate Chapman, who came through to finish 140th in 41m45s, and was fifteenth Lady in the race.

Other Morpeth Harriers results at the time of going to press were as follows:-

Jim Alder (113th) (13th O/45) 40m48s, Graeme Leathard (136th) (15th O/45) 41m37s, Peter Scaife (183rd) (12th O/50) 42m47s, Maria Drosdowicz (278th) (3rd O/50 Lady) 44m47s, Michelle Woodley (332nd) (7th O/35 Lady).