IT was definitely a case of a double celebration for Morpeth Harriers in the annual Morpeth 11k Road Race on New Year’s Day, writes George Patterson.
Ross Floyd scored a 26-second margin of victory in the Men’s event and clubmate Delyth James secured winning success in the Women’s race by 30 seconds.
For Floyd it was a second victory in six days, as the Northumbria Healthcare junior doctor had also achieved victory in the Woodlawn Christmas Pudding Run on Boxing Day and this particular victory proved, to coin a phrase, to be just what the good doctor ordered.
Times were a little on the slow side however, with the 140 plus runners having to encounter a tricky cold breeze on the exposed sections of the course.
Second place went to Morpeth Harrier Matt Nicholson, who is now looking closer to his best, following a lay off.
Floyd and Nicholson had been neck and neck until around halfway at Mitford Steads, however, on the downward homeward stretch on the Whalton Road, the former made his strike for victory, and eventually crossed the finish line in a fairly modest 34m58s.
Nicholson hung on for second place in 35m24s, finishing 46 seconds clear of North Shields Poly’s Scott Ellis, who just outsprinted his own club mate Graeme Cook.
Sunderland Harrier Craig Isherwood finished fifth in 36m42s, and he was followed home in sixth, seventh, and eighth places by a procession of Morpeth Harriers, Nathan Shrubb, Thomas Straughan, and Gary Jones, in respective times of 37m25s, 37m41s, and 38m36s.
Ninth place went to Jeff Prest of Trafford AC, who was also the first veteran man home in 38m52s.
The top ten were completed with Patrick Duffy of Heaton Harriers crossing the Stanners finish line in 38m56s.
Morpeth Harrier Delyth James, made her return trip from her Midland home most fruitful, when she finished 26th overall in 42m07s, to capture the ladies title.
Second place in the ladies race went to Charnwood’s Claire McKittrick, who ran well to finish 29th in 42m37s, and was first lady veteran.
Third place in the ladies event went to Sunderland Harrier Michelle Avery (formerly Holt), who was 32nd overall in 43m09s.
Fourth in the ladies race was Angela Hibbs, now running in the colours of Jarrow and Hebburn, who was 42nd overall in 44m34s.
Fifth placed lady was South Shields Harrier Michelle Ford, who was 48th overall in 44m29s.
Morpeth Harriers wish to thank the Benfield Motor Group for its generous sponsorship of the event, also to press officer George Patterson for his additional sponsorship and Start Fitness for its assistance with prize vouchers.
In addition to this, they would also like to thank Morpeth Rugby Club for the use of their premises for registration and Ted Phizacklea and his Red Cross team for first aid provision.
Last but not least, thanks also go to race director Kevin Bray for his time and effort, his team of helpers and friends of Morpeth Harriers for their marshalling of the event on the day, and to the team of UK Athletics officials who provided race administration.
Full results can be found on the Morpeth Harriers website – www.morpethharriers.freeservers.com
More than 500 hardy competitors took part in the annual Woodlawn Christmas Pudding Run, at Whitley Bay, on Boxing Day, and were led home by Morpeth Harrier Ross Floyd, who well and truly celebrated his Christmas with a one second marginal victory over Cleveland based Steven Hepples, who runs for Newham and Essex Beagles.
It was a determined late challenge by Hepples, to spur Floyd into dramatic action, to secure an excellent and important personal victory in 15m29s, for the approximate 5k distance.
Floyd also spearheaded an excellent Morpeth Harriers domination, with newest recruit Ryan Stephenson, formerly Gateshead Harriers, producing an excellent first run in a Blue and White vest, to finish third in 15m52s, just one second ahead of another of his new club mates Michael Dawson in fourth spot.
Another top performer in a Morpeth vest was Nathan Shrubb, who finished seventh in a time of 16m27s.
Morpeth Harriers superiority in the event was further confirmed, with Ashley Gibson taking the Women’s title in 17m32s, with a winning margin of 16 seconds over Wallsend Harrier Danielle Hodgkinson.
Other Morpeth Harriers who featured in the top 20 finishers were Phil Walker and Paul Waterston, although their actual finishing positions are still to be confirmed, along with other members from the club who turned out, in an event where the entire proceeds go to the Woodlawn special needs school, at Whitley Bay.
Further performances from the Saltwell Road Races, held on Saturday, December 22, 2012, confirm that Morpeth Harrier Alison Brown, produced an excellent win in the U17 Women’s event, (5k approx), in a time of 19m48s, which gave her just over a minute marginal victory over her closest rival.
In the Senior Men’s 10k event, Morpeth Harrier Archie Jenkins was second in the Over 60 Male category, when finishing 111th overall in a time of 45m33s.
Fellow Morpeth Harrier James McFetrich finished 160th in 48m01s.
Two Morpeth Harriers travelled to Clitheroe in Lancashire on Sunday to compete in the annual Ribble 10k, which also incorporated the North of England Championships.
In a total field of 1,070 finishers, Graeme Taylor finished 46th in a time of 32m39s, and Michael Thomsen finished 113th in 35m58s.
The event was won by Bristol and West’s David Bishop in 30m02s.