Eight athletes from Morpeth Harriers travelled to Liverpool on Saturday to compete in the third meeting of the UK Cross Country Challenge, which also incorporated the European Trials, and were held on the usually demanding conditions in Sefton Park, of ankle deep mud.
As a result of his finishing an excellent fifth in the Under 20 Men’s event, Scott Beattie who is currently studying at Tulsa University in America, will be lining up in the GB team that takes part in the European Cross-Country Championships, in Samorin, Slovakia on December 10.
It is a great and welcome opportunity for Beattie, who earlier this year was in his country’s line up for the World Championships, which were held in a dry and dusty South Africa.
Unfortunately, it also means that Beattie will be missing the North Eastern Cross-Country Championships at Redcar, which are held on the same weekend, where he would have been defending the title that he won in fine style at Aykley Heads 12 months ago.
Another superb Morpeth performer in Liverpool on Saturday, was Under 17 Man Rory Leonard, who only lost out for victory by a meagre seven seconds in a hard-fought contest.
Cambridge and Coleridge athlete Thomas Keen won the event, and Leonard also fended off the very close attentions of George Pool of Hastings, and Josh Dickinson of City of York, to claim the runners up spot.
In the very competitive Senior Men’s event, Carl Avery was the first home of Morpeth’s three finishers.
Avery finished a well accomplished 33rd, and the club’s other athletes in the event were James Taylor (135th), and Under 23 athlete James Young, who finished slightly behind in 149th spot, and was 48th in his age group.
Morpeth also had three athletes in the equally competitive Senior Women’s event.
First home was Scottish Under 23 International Mhairi MacLennan, who finished a superb 14th, but not far in front of Commonwealth Games bound Laura Weightman, who gave her all in finishing 20th, and the clubs trio were completed by Emma Holt, who finished a very accomplished 50th.
MacLennan will also be on the European Championship plane alongside club colleague Beattie, by virtue of being fourth Under23.
The next outings for Weightman and Holt will be those forthcoming regional championships at Redcar, when it is hoped that they will mount a formidable club challenge, and for the former, a chance of retaining the title that she won twelve months ago.
Overall, a good day for the club in Liverpool, two qualifying for the European Championships, and one making the podium on the day.
The Intermediate Boys of King Edward VI School in Morpeth, made up entirely of athletes from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers, finished eighth out of 27 teams in Saturday’s English Schools Cross Country Cup Final, held at Sevenoaks School in Kent.
They were led home by Euan Duffin, who finished in 16th place.
The other three scoring performances came from Thomas Cunningham (33rd), Dylan Davies (47th), and Ben Walker (94th). Additional non-scoring performances came from Ben Waterfield (125th), and Dylan Gooding (129th).