The annual North East Masters Athletics Association Cross-Country Championships were held at Burn Closes Dene, Willington Quay, Wallsend, on Saturday, and there was an excellent turnout of veteran athletes, including 10 from Morpeth Harriers.
Morpeth had four age-category winners at the North Tyneside event, plus a team victory for their male over-55 squad.
Finishing 14th in the male 35-to-64 event, Paul Waterston won the over-50 section by two places and 40 seconds from Low Fell’s Lawrence Johnson. David Nicholson was a clear winner of the over-60 section, finishing 51st, beating South Shields Harrier Peter Walker, who finished 72nd, one place ahead of Morpeth’s Gavin Bayne, who took the bronze medal.
Nicholson also led the three-man Morpeth squad – including Bayne and Paul Bellingham, who finished 63rd overall – that took the over-55 veteran men’s team title.
Morpeth’s Paul Bentley finished fourth overall in the over-65 male event, and he was first in the over-70 category.
In the same event, Morpeth’s Walter Ryder finished 11th overall, and was first over-75 Veteran Man.
Other Morpeth Harriers competing in the championships were John Butters, fourth overall and second over-40; Fergus Bates, 10th overall and third over-45; Mike Steven, 84th finisher and 14th over-55; and Archie Jenkins, 97th to finish and eighth over-60.
The North Eastern counties selectors have now finalised their selections for the teams to represent the region at the forthcoming UK Counties Athletics Union Inter-Counties Championships to be held at Cofton Park, Birmingham, on Saturday, March 12.
The region’s senior men, winners of the inter-counties team title for a record fifth consecutive time in 2015, have no fewer than five members of the club in their line-up.
They are Carl Avery, Peter Newton, Jonny Taylor, Lewis Timmins, and Ross Floyd.
Morpeth’s Emma Holt and Josie Cram are included in a very strong North East senior women’s line-up. Joe Armstrong and Nathan Cox are included in the junior men’s squad. Alison Brown and Charlotte Jewell run in the junior women’s event.
Newly-crowned Northern champion Scott Beattie and his Morpeth club-mate Kieran Hedley line-up in the under-17 men’s squad.
Four Harriers have won selection to the under-15 boys’ squad, with Daniel Dixon, Taylor Glover, Rory Leonard and Ross Charlton all included in the line-up, while Ben Walker joins the under-13 boys.
Two Harriers are included in the under-13 girls’ team – Holly Peck and Lily Heaton.