SATURDAY’S weekly park runs, held in Gateshead’s Saltwell Park and Newcastle’s Exhibition Park, brought respective successes for athletes from Morpeth Harriers.
Graeme Taylor was the main man in Gateshead when he broke his own 5k course record in a time of 16m11s, which shows that the former Jarrow and Hebburn athlete is well back on the road to recovery following knee surgery earlier this year.
In Newcastle, young Sam Hancox produced a second excellent performance within a week when he clocked a new personal best of 17m03s, finishing slightly ahead of his club colleague Phil Walker, who was recorded with the same time.
Hancox won the judges’ nod for second spot, with the Veteran Walker being given third place. Both were victorious in their age category.
Hancox, an Under 20 athlete, achieved his first win in a road race in the Run Northumberland 5k a week last Sunday.
He led a field of 44 finishers home in 18m31s, a field which included 12 of his club colleagues.
The first of those was Thomas Straughan, who nearly took victory himself, finishing only one second adrift of Hancox.
Third place went to Walker, who was first Veteran Man in 18m41s. Stephen Bradley was next home for Morpeth, finishing sixth in 20m01s.
Five seconds behind him was Gordon Dixon, who was third Veteran Man. One place behind him came Alistair MacDonald, who was fourth Veteran Man in 20m11s.
Only one second and one place behind Alistair was Rob Hancox, father of the winner, who was fifth Veteran Man.
Next home for Morpeth in 17th spot was Chris Waugh, who was tenth Veteran Man in 22m59s.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in the 5k were: Lorna MacDonald (20th and 3rd Lady) 23m43s, Kathryn Foley (21st, 4th Lady and 3rd O/35 Lady) 23m45s, Archie Jenkins (26th and 14th Veteran Man) 24m10s, Pam Woodcock (32nd and 1st O/60 Lady) 26m20s, and Margaret MacDonald (40th and 3rd O/45 Lady) 29m56s.
The course was actually lengthened by approximately 400metres on the day by the organiser because of the movement of the start and finish points.
The club also had six runners taking part in the 10k event. They were led home by Gemma Floyd, who was 15th overall in 40m47s, and was third Lady finisher.
Other placings were: Eric Adams (31st) 44m13s, Matthew Levison (39th) 46m21s, Sue Smith (75th and 3rd O/45 Lady) 51m21s, Peter Maylia (90th and 5th O/55 Man) 53m19s, and Jane Blackett (129th and 7th O/45 Lady) 59m58s.
l Morpeth Harrier Nathan Shrubb certainly blew away his individual disappointments from the previous week’s National Six Stage Relays when he finished an excellent seventh in a top class field in the annual Cabbage Patch 10 Mile Road Race, held in Twickenham, London, on Sunday.
Shrubb clocked 53m23s and was just under six minutes adrift of race winner Andrew Lesuda of Kenya.
Clubmate Andrew Lawrence turned in a good cross country performance when he finished 35th in the Senior Men’s event at the first meeting of the Metropolitan League at Claybury, East London, on Saturday.
London-based Lawrence was competing for his second claim club Highgate Harriers and clocked 27m46s behind winner Peter Huck of Newham, who finished the course in 25m03s.
l The time-served policy of saving the best for last was clearly emphasised in the finish to Monday night’s Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men’s Club Championship race, which saw Philip Winkler just outpace Elliot Kelly by a mere second over the two lap affair of just under two-and-three-quarter miles round Lancaster Park.
It was the final event in the series of Young Athletes Championships and Winkler and Kelly certainly made for a keen contest of wits and speed as they got round in 15m19s and 15m20s respectively.
The pair had gone through halfway locked together in 7m30s and their final clockings are a testimony to the fact that they both put in a relentless final lap.
Joe Elder held on to take a well earned Bronze medal in 17m57s with Henrik Paulsen, normally a sprint specialist, bravely getting round for fourth place in 18m41s.
The one lap Under 17 Women’s Championship was clearly won by Alison Brown in 8m39s, with Hannah Sheerin (9m11s) and Sarah Wilkes (9m18s) claiming the minor medals.
Fourth place in the Under 17 Women’s race went to Charlotte Jewell, who had unfortunately missed her Under 15 Girls Championship due to injury but was allowed to run as a guest competitor.
She did well to get round in 9m51s, however the official fourth finisher in the Under 17 Women’s Championship was Alice Kelly, who clocked 9m58s.
l The Whitley Bay Park Run record was smashed a week last Saturday by Morpeth Harrier Ian Harding.
He crossed the finish line in 15m40s to win by nearly a minute.