ACHIEVING his second road race victory inside six days gave Morpeth Harrier Nick Swinburn particular pleasure last week when he won his own club’s prestigious 10k Road Race in its 16th year of existence, writes George Patterson.
It marked Swinburn’s third victory in the event, having firstly won it in 2006 followed by a 30-second faster victory in 2008. And he could also feel very pleased in that he was nearly a minute inside his previous time, with his new clocking of 31m26s.
That time gave a comfortable margin of an 89-second victory over the runner-up, club colleague and sometimes training partner, Ross Floyd.
It also meant that Swinburn and Floyd had captured gold and silver medals in the incorporated North East Counties Athletics Association Championship.
Third place went to Elswick Harrier Mark McLeod, elder son of the Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Mike, who clocked 33m17s, just outpacing fourth-placed man Alex Tate, of a Cambridgeshire club with the most amusing name of Muddy Mucky Munkees, certainly a first appearance by them.
Fifth place went to another previous winner, Nathan Shrubb of Morpeth Harriers, whose previous victory had been in 2009. Shrubb’s time was 33m37s.
Sixth place went to Keith Smith of Tyne Bridge Harriers, who was also the first Veteran Man, finishing in a time of 33m50s. He finished 20 seconds ahead of Morpeth Harrier Terry Wall, who is a previous three-time winner of the event and was second Veteran Man on this occasion.
Eighth finisher was Chris Smith, of Wallsend Harriers, who clocked 34m30s, finishing just six seconds ahead of ninth-placed and ever-improving Morpeth Harrier Mick Thomsen.
The top ten was rounded out by another Wallsend Harrier Brian Hetherington, who clocked 34m42s.
Morpeth Harrier Jane Hodgson was a very emphatic winner of the Women’s race when she finished 31st overall in 37m13s.
This put her 28 places and nearly two minutes clear of second-placed Alison Dargie of Elswick Harriers, with third place going to Wallsend Harrier Vicky Hindson, who finished 62nd in 39m25s. Dargie was also the first Veteran Lady finisher.
Hodgson, Dargie and Hindson also received gold, silver and bronze North Eastern Championship medals for their efforts.
All of the championship medals and their individual prize rewards in the event were presented by Bill McGuirk, Chairman of NECAA and also current President of Northern Athletics, who thanked Morpeth Harriers for their efforts in putting on the event.
Further honours for Morpeth Harriers on the night saw Gordon Dixon claim the Over 50 Veteran Men’s title when he finished 23rd in a time of 36m25s.
Morpeth Harriers wish to thank Benfield Motors, whose Renault Silverlink dealership provided the main sponsorship to the event.
They are grateful to additional sponsors Phil Walker Chartered Financial Planning and Chris Dentice, Stanton Hall Gardens, for their generosity. Start Fitness and
Piramal Health Care receive many thanks and appreciation for prize support and pre-race parking respectively.
Additionally, the club would like to thank Coca Cola Enterprises for supplying Abbey Well water, Morpeth Town FC for the use of Craik Park for Race Headquarters, Ted Phizacklea and his Red Cross team for First Aid availability and all their members and friends for their much valued help and assistance on the night.
The event attracted a finishing field of 299 runners and can be regarded as an all round success. Full results can be viewed at www.morpethharriers.freeservers.com
• Torrential rain, accompanied by a raging thunderstorm, forced the abandonment of Morpeth Harriers’ fourth and final round Northern League Division Three match, held at Churchill Playing Fields, Whitley Bay, on Sunday.
With the match having seen the completion of eight track and nine field events, organisers Wallsend Harriers were obliged to declare the match void according to league regulations.
Before the heavens opened there had been some exceptional performances, including some from Morpeth Harriers, who were much indebted to some of their younger age athletes who turned out in force to bolster their ranks.
The decision to abandon was not taken lightly, however it was felt to be wise on the grounds of safety.
Despite the abandonment, the promotion and relegation issues will remain unaltered and Morpeth Harriers, along with North Shields Poly, face life in 2013 in Division Two after achieving promotion.
This is a tremendous result for the hardworking Morpeth Harriers Women’s and Men’s Track and Field Team Managers Mike Bateman and John Thompson and David Swinburne respectively.