The warm sunshine that athletes enjoyed over the Easter period had turned cooler for those taking part in the opening meeting of the 2019 Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Grand Prix series, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium last Wednesday.
Twenty-four athletes from the club were in action on the night; five of them achieved age-group wins and 14 personal-best performances during the two-and-a-half hours of competition.
One of the most impressive of those came from Under 20 Matthew Waterfield, who won the opening heat of the combined Under 17/Under 20 Senior 300m, posting a time of 35.33s, taking almost a second off his previous best clocking.
Waterfield had also earlier finished as second in his age group in the 150m, posting a first-time clocking of 16.60s, just missing out on a win overall by a mere fraction of a second.
Another impressive Morpeth age group winner on the night was Alistair Douglass, who was first Senior Man in the Graded 1500m, posting a new personal-best time of 4m03.86s, taking three seconds off his previous figures.
Robyn Bennett finished as fastest Senior Woman in the Graded 1500m, in a time of 5m 0.70s.
In the field events, Morpeth Harriers had two age group winners, courtesy of Bobbie Griffiths, who threw a season’s best 38.02m in the Under 20 Women’s javelin competition, and first Year Under 17 Man Max Marr, who won the long jump, with new figures of 5.77m.
Another Morpeth Harrier competing in the long jump was Abbie Ross, who was fourth in the Under 17 Women’s competition, producing a best effort of 4.34m.
On the track, Morpeth Harrier Ross Charlton impressed in his first outing as an Under 20 Man, finishing second in his age group in the Graded 1500m, posting a finishing time of 4m09.21s, a massive eight seconds off his previous figures.
Another Morpeth Harrier to line up in the opening heat of the graded 1500m was Rowan Bennett, who was sixth fastest Under 17 Man, with his time of 4m20.21s.
In the Graded 150m, Morpeth sprinters Sean O’Hara and David Storey were second and third Senior Men with respective postings of 17.16s and 17.60s, the former representing a new personal-best performance.
Morpeth Under 17 Women Holly Peck and Lily Heaton both finished second fastest respectively in the 1500m and 300m, with times of 4m53.98s, and 46.91s
In the field events, Morpeth athlete Olivia Gent did well to finish third in the Under 15 Girls’ long jump as a first year in her age group, setting new figures of 3.89m. Gent was also fourth fastest Under 15 Girl in the 100m, posting a finishing time of 14.80s.
Max Marr was third fastest Under 17 Man in the 150m, which he was running for the first time, and he posted a finishing time of 18.75s. In another heat, Marr’s Under 20 Club colleague Robbie Anderson was first across the finish line, with a personal-best time of 18.70s, ninth fastest in his age group.
Also running for Morpeth in the Graded 150m were Senior Women Lynsey Cunningham and Laura Kincaid, who emerged as fourth and fifth fastest in their age group, posting respective times of 22.34s and 22.54s.
The Graded 800m for Under 13 and Under 15 athletes saw some excellent performances produced by three Morpeth Harriers. In Heat One, Ryan Davies and Bertie Marr, both in their first year in the Under 15 Boys’ section, finished fifth and sixth, with respective personal-best times of 2m20.11s, and 2m20.57s.
Abi Leiper also won her heat in 2m32.73s, a new personal best by three seconds, fourth fastest in the Under 15 Girls age group.
Running in the Under 17 age group for the first time, Ben Waterfield, Dylan Gooding and Dylan Davies all impressed over 1500m, posting new personal times of 4m23.02s, 4m26.67s, and 4m39.14s respectively. Waterfield and Gooding bettered their previous bests by ten seconds, and Davies bettered his by nine.
Other Morpeth Harriers in action in the 1500m were Rhiannon Hedley, who competed as a first year Under 17 Woman, and was fifth fastest with a time of 5m00.51s, and newcomer Tayla Murdy who posted a time in her first outing, of 5m46.46s.
Ben Waterfield finished off a great night for himself when he posted a new personal best over 300m, of 39.76s, making him fifth fastest Under 17 Man in the race.
The Morpeth Harriers who competed on a relatively cold night – certainly not the best conditions for track-and-field competition – are to be warmly applauded for their encouraging efforts in performance at this early part of the season.