Morpeth runners make light of heavy conditions at Alnwick
It was certainly a very muddy end to the season for the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League on Saturday, with the final fixture being held at The Pastures, close to Alnwick Castle.
Despite an absolute deluge of overnight rain, which continued into the early morning, proceedings got under way on time, and all ten programmed events were completed, mostly in a murky, misty atmosphere.
With tricky conditions before them, competitors were very much up for the task in hand.
And it was certainly a good day at the office for athletes from Morpeth Harriers, who showered themselves literally with success by taking no less than three league titles, three on the day team victories, and had two individual winners.
The club’s Senior Women will compete next season for the first time in the upper echelon of their three divisions following some excellent performances, which gave them the Division 2 title, finishing one point ahead of Gosforth Harriers, who had won on the day by a mere two points.
Despite missing leading light Emma Holt, the team managed to muster a strong enough number to complete the task.
It was Jane Hodgson who led the squad home, finishing second overall and posting the fastest time of the day, which has also given her the Veteran Women’s Grand Prix title for the season.
Running from the fast pack, and giving 200 seconds to the vast majority of the 300-plus finishing field, she finished only a mere 16 seconds adrift of North Shields Poly’s Carla Maley, who had managed to hold on throughout from the Slow Pack.
Supporting Jane in the team count for Morpeth were Gemma Floyd (14th), Jane Briggs (81st) and Jane Kirby (111th).
A very dominant performance by Morpeth’s U17 Men saw them clinch the league title over Durham City by one point.
Leading the Morpeth charge was Kieran Hedley.
Hedley, running from the Fast Pack and giving 200 seconds to a portion of the 30-strong field of finishers, posted the fastest time of the day to win by 24 seconds from club colleague Taylor Glover.
Morpeth’s scoring count was completed by an excellent run by Joe Ramshaw, who finished fourth.
The U15 Boys ended their superb season, which has seen them execute four on the day victories, including this one, by winning their league title by a margin of seven points over Durham City.
On Saturday they won by a margin of eight points over hosts Alnwick Harriers, courtesy of Daniel Melling (fourth), Ross Charlton (seventh) and Thomas Cunningham (15th).
A superb on the day win by the U13 Boys’ squad saw them finish an excellent third cumulatively for the season.
They were led home by Callum Rowell, who finished fifth, with further support coming from Ryan Davies in ninth, and older brother Dylan in 13th.
Holly Peck completed a fantastic Harrier League season by winning once again from the Fast Pack in the U15 Girls’ event.
She has also posted the fastest time in all six meetings, creating a unique record for a young athlete, which means that she is a very clear winner of her age group Grand Prix.
Peck won by a 24 second margin over her closest rival Lydia James, of Houghton.
On the day, Morpeth Harriers U15 Girls finished as fifth team behind Houghton, and second to them for the season, losing out by three points.
The Senior Men finished seventh in their final Division 1 race, which meant that they finished fourth cumulatively for the season, behind clear winners Tyne Bridge Harriers.
Posting what was to emerge as the fastest overall time of the day over the three-lap course, Ian Harding was first home for the club when finishing fourth from the Medium Pack.
Second home for Morpeth was Jordan Scott, who finished in 26th place from the Fast Pack.
Further scoring counts for Morpeth came from Tim Miley (52nd), David Nicholson (118th), Rob Hancox (132nd) and Alistair Douglass (140th).
Morpeth had four runners competing in the non-scoring U11 Boys’ event, which had a total of 85 finishers. Three of those four managed to finish in the top 13 of the field.
Joseph Hudspith was first home in fifth place overall, and only 15 seconds adrift of the winner. Four seconds and two places behind him was club colleague Dylan Walker.
Harry Jackson also ran well to finish in 13th place.
Morpeth have five athletes lined up to receive Grand Prix awards from the League at a forthcoming presentation, date to be confirmed, to be held at the Newcastle premises of the event sponsor Start Fitness.