FULL-SCALE track and field league athletics will at long last be coming to Morpeth this summer, writes George Patterson.
The new facility at KEVI School, aided by Sport England, Northumberland County Council, and Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure, will play host to at least three scheduled fixtures.
Two will be hosted by Morpeth Harriers, with one being hosted by their neighbours, Blyth Running Club.
The first of these fixtures will take place on Sunday, June 2, when Morpeth will welcome opposition from Birtley, Blaydon, Durham City, Jarrow and Hebburn, and New Marske, in their second-round Division One match in the newly-formed North East Youth Development League, promoted by the North Eastern Counties Athletics Association.
On Sunday, July 28, Blyth Running Club play host to Gateshead Harriers, North Shields Poly, South Shields and Tynedale Harriers, in their fourth and final-round Division Two (North) contest, also in the North East Youth Development League.
The third meeting will be on Saturday, August 3.
It will again be hosted by Morpeth Harriers, who will be competing in their fourth and final North of England Senior League Division Two fixture, against City of York, Gateshead Harriers B, Middlesbrough Mandale, Skyrac of Yorkshire, and North Shields Poly.
Both Morpeth Harriers and Blyth Running Club are eagerly looking forward to at last being able to compete on home territory, rather than having to travel to tracks South of the Tyne for their home matches.
Discussions are also underway with schools’ associations with a view to bringing some of their area championships to the excellent new Morpeth facility.
A FIELD of nearly 500 runners enjoyed excellent conditions at Sunday’s annual Transped Blyth Valley 10k Road Race, run on an out and back multi terrain course from Blyth Harbour to Seaton Sluice.
Amongst those taking part were several athletes from Morpeth Harriers.
First home from the club was Karl Taylor, who placed fourth in 32m47s, and was only 16 seconds adrift of race winner James Buis, who was running in the colours of his new club Border Harriers, following his transfer from Heaton Harriers.
Next home for Morpeth Harriers was new signing Mark McLeod, who finished sixth in 33m23s.
The elder son of former Olympic 10,000 metres silver medallist Mick has chosen to join forces with Morpeth following many years with his father’s club Elswick Harriers, however, is currently going through the required transfer process.
Another Morpeth Harrier having an excellent run was Thomas Straughan, who placed 11th in 33m58s, and he was followed home by clubmate Fergus Bates, who clocked 34m38s when placing 15th, and was second Over 40 Veteran man.
Next home for the club in 22nd and 23rd places were Paul Waterston and Sam Hancox, who clocked 35m58s and 36m05s respectively, and Waterston was fourth Over 45 Veteran man.
Joanne Brown of Morpeth Harriers was first lady Veteran home, when placing 113th in 40m36s.
Results: Mike Winter (64th) (10th O/40) 38m15s, Rob Hancox (66th) (eighth O/45) 38m20s, Steve Haswell (95th) (13th O/45) 39m56s, Lorna MacDonald (137th) (13th lady) 41m53s, Jane Briggs (149th) (third O/40 Lady) (16th lady) 42m11s, Bob Wells (162nd) (second O/65) 42m42s, Scott Wilkes (196th) (24th O/45) 43m49s, Nick Armstrong (205th) (26th O/45) 44m06s, Shuna Rank (230th) (fourth O/45 lady) 45m11s, James McFetrich (249th) 46m06s, Dave Gray (355th) (sixth O/65) 50m50s, Susan Smith (380th) (15th O/45 lady) 52m08s, and Jane Blackett (416th) (fifth O/50 lady).
Well done to all at Blyth Running Club for a splendidly organised event.
TWO Morpeth Harriers competed in the Hartlepool Marina five Mile Road Race on Sunday, an event that also incorporated the Veterans North East Championships.
Archie Jenkins finished 122nd in 35m37s, and was fourth Over 60 man, and was third in the area Championship.
Paul Bentley finished 157th in 37m59s, and was third Over 65 man, however, he won the category for the Championship.
FOUR Morpeth Harriers were prominent finishers in respective 5k Park Runs on Saturday.
In Newcastle Billy Gilroy finished third in a new personal best time of 17m04s.
Meanwhile in Liverpool Princes Run, Michael Thomsen finished second in a new personal best of 17m07s.
Laura Weightman and Sarah Graham had respective victories in the York and Leeds (Roundhay) events, with clockings of 16m14s, and 19m57s.