MORPETH Harriers’ very own Olympic finalist made an excellent start to her outdoor track season, writes George Patterson.
As the only female runner in a mixed 3000m A race at the Trafford Grand Prix Meeting, held at Stretford, Manchester last Tuesday, Laura Weightman smashed her personal best and her own club record, with superb new figures of 8m43.46s.
This sent her immediately to the top of the UK Women’s rankings for the distance.
l Morpeth Harrier Matthew Nicholson’s final leg clocking of 9m26s proved to be the fastest time and a fitting consolation award, as his club were just outside the medals in fourth spot at the annual Wallsend Harriers-organised Gordon Smith Memorial Road Relays, held on Wednesday, May 15.
He was supported in the three times two-mile effort by father-and-son pairing Rob and Sam Hancox, who clocked 11m25s and 10m31s on their respective legs.
Morpeth finished 50 seconds adrift of third-placed Tyne Bridge Harriers, with North Shields Poly squeezing out the hosts for the overall title.
l On the roads, Morpeth’s Nathan Shrubb performed well to finish second in the Purbeck 10k in Dorset last Friday. He clocked 33m39s, which saw him finish 29 seconds adrift of race winner Ian Habgood of Bournemouth AC.
Some excellent performances, including no less than 11 new personal bests, were achieved by athletes from Morpeth Harriers at the second Start Fitness sponsored North East Grand Prix fixture, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium on Wednesday, May 15.
The club also had six age-group winners on a night when the weather proved favourable, despite the torrential downpour that had prevailed during the hours leading up to the start of the meeting.
One of the outstanding Morpeth wins came in the Under 15 Boys’ 200m, in which Sean O’Hara set new figures of 25.3s. His clubmate Euan Jones was a fraction outside of his personal best with 27.5s.
Despite being just outside of his personal best, Ryan Green, who was judged track athlete of the meeting at the previous fixture, won the Under 17 Men’s 800m in 1m59.8s, finishing just ahead of his clubmate Phillip Winkler, who was delighted to achieve a new personal best for the distance of 2m01.7s, for second place.
New figures for the 800m were also set by Jared Lewis, who clocked 2m07.4s.
Kieran Hedley was just inside his personal best when he finished fifth fastest in the Under 15 Boys’ 800m in 2m21.0s.
Another Morpeth Harriers performer in the 800m was Josh Burton, who clocked 2m40.0s. Mitch Green finished third in the Under 15 Boys’ Shot, with a best of 7.25m.
Two Morpeth Harriers achieved new personal bests in the seeded 3000m event. Jordan Scott was third in the Senior Men’s section in 9m10.6s and Elliot Kelly also placed third in the Under 17 Men’s section, knocking a whole four seconds off his previous best with 9m32.4s.
Another good Morpeth Harriers performer over 3000m was Ashley Gibson, who was easily the fastest Senior Woman on track, with a clocking of 9m36.5s.
Morpeth Harrier Henrik Paulsen won the Under 20 Men’s 400m in 58.1s. Alison Brown was first Under 17 Woman in the 3000m in 11m49s, after earlier competing in the 800m, when she clocked 2m35.0s.
In the Under 13 Boys’ events, Morpeth Harrier Joe Dowd certainly had a busy and successful night’s competition.
He won the high jump, with a new personal-best clearance of 1.25m. He then finished second in the 200m, setting new figures of 29.4s, then whetted his appetite further by competing in the 800m, where he finished fifth in 2m40.0s, just fractionally ahead of clubmate Alex Cunningham, who clocked 2m40.9s.
Fellow Morpeth Harrier Cameron Dick also competed in the Under 13 Boys’ 800m and clocked 2m45.7s.
When finishing fourth in the Under 17 Women’s 800m, Morpeth’s Amber Cormack set new figures of 2m24.4s. Another personal best was achieved by Naomi Arkle in the Under 15 Girls’ 200m, when she placed fourth in 29.6s.
Alex Nesbit equalled his personal best when he finished fourth in the Under 17 Men’s seeded 100m in 12.1s. Lizzie Rank set new figures of 2m41.6s in the Under 15 Girls’ 800m.
Craig Pickup won the Senior Men’s discus with a best of 26.27m, and finished second in the shot with 8.56m.
Ailsa Jones finished third in her first ever Under 13 Girls’ high jump competition and she clocked 2m47.2s in the 800m.
In her very first outing over 800m, Morpeth Harrier Ellie Marshall clocked 2m48.1s.
l Three Morpeth Harriers made the journey to Solihull, West Midlands, on Saturday to take part in the high profile BMC Classic Track Meeting.
In a classy Men’s 1500m C Race, in which the first nine of 14 finishers all finished within nine seconds of each other, Ryan Stephenson finished eighth in a time of 3m55.31s, which was just under five seconds adrift of race winner Kyran Roberts.
Fresh from her 3,000m event at the North Eastern Grand Prix meeting, Morpeth’s Ashley Gibson finished seventh in the Women’s 1500m A race in a time of 4m22.94s, behind GB international Charlene Thomas of Wakefield who won in 4m14.38s.
In the Men’s 5000m C Race, Morpeth Harrier Michael Dawson finished 13th in 15m20.27s, which was a season’s best clocking.
l The Benfield Motor Group Morpeth Harriers Athlete of the Month award for April has gone to a very promising first-year Under 17 prospect, Amber Cormack.
Amber receives her award as a result of some recent excellent performances. She finished second against older rivals in a seeded 300m event at the North Eastern Grand Prix meeting at Jarrow in a time of 45.2s.
She also produced an excellent run to win the Under 17 Women’s 800m at the first meeting of the newly-formed North East Youth Development League, held at Shildon. She won in a time of 2m32.9s.