Harriers’ hot times on a freezing cold day

WHILE there was a very evident chill factor in the conditions at the annual Elswick Harriers Good Friday Road Races, held at Newburn Business Park, the action could clearly be very much described as hot, writes George Patterson.

And athletes from Morpeth Harriers were very much to the fore in terms of honours achieved.

The club managed to break three one-year-old course records in the act of achieving three team victories, one second-placed team and a third-placed team in addition to providing the winner of the U13 Boys’ event, second in the U13 Girls and also a second in the U15 Girls’ event.

A dominant Senior Men’s A squad took the lead from early efforts shown by Gateshead Harriers in their 4x2.2mile relay, from the second leg onwards, run by Nick Swinburn (10m43s).

Jonny Nisbet had the squad handily placed third with his first-leg clocking of 10m50s.

Following Swinburn’s effort, Graeme Taylor (10m42s), and Matt Nicholson (10m39s) sealed a very handsome victory, clocking a total time that was eight seconds inside the old course record.

The Senior Men’s B team came through well to place 21st team, with first leg runner Thomas Straughan clocking their fastest time of 11m11s, which had them in sixth place at the time.

Celebrating his 18th birthday, second-leg runner Sam Hancox maintained a good steady performance with his clocking of 11m59s.

U17 athlete Joe Elder (13m49s) and veteran Jim Alder (13m15s) took the team to their final placing.

Rob Hancox clocked 12m55s for an incomplete Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s C team.

Neil Wilkinson’s 11m00s on leg one, was the fastest Veteran Men’s clocking of the day and it paved the way for a record-breaking victory by Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men’s A team, with further excellent support coming from Fergus Bates (11m28s), Paul Waterston (11m41s) and Terry Wall (11m34s).

The Morpeth Harriers Veteran Men’s B team ran superbly to finish third, with Billy Gilroy clocking the third fastest Over 50 time of 11m40s on leg one.

Mick Thomsen (11m40s), Phil Walker (11m50s) and John Butters, with an excellent 11m21s, completed the B squad’s splendid effort.

Ashley Gibson (11m41s), third fastest, Emma Holt (12m47s) and Laura Weightman (11m23s), second fastest of the day, combined to give Morpeth Harriers Senior Women’s A team a record-breaking team victory in their 3x2.2 mile contest.

The Morpeth Harriers Senior Women’s B team also performed well to finish in eighth place.

U17 athlete Alison Brown had them placed 19th on leg one with her clocking of 13m50s.

Lorna MacDonald (14m02s) and Gemma Floyd (13m12s) completed the team’s effort.

U17 athlete Hannah Sheerin competed for an incomplete Morpeth Harriers Senior Women’s C, where she clocked 14m22s.

Morpeth Harriers Veteran Women’s squad performed well to finish in second team place.

Their fastest clocking of 13m37s was completed by first-leg runner Joanne Brown.

Gwenda Cavill (14m39s) and Lindsay Turnbull (14m13s) completed the team’s effort.

In the U13 Boys’ event, Morpeth’s Kieran Hedley had a superb runaway victory in 9m01s.

Fellow clubmates Alex Cunningham, Josh Burton, Adam Shewry and Mark Booth ran well to finish eighth, 15th, 18th and 23rd respectively.

Lizzie Rank finished second in the U13 Girls’ event and Amber Cormack ran strongly to take second in the U15 Girls’ event.

Morpeth Harriers’ other finisher in the U13 Girls’ event, Lucy Huddleston, finished 23rd.

SUNDAY’S ninth running of the North Tyneside 10k attracted an entry of 1,900 runners and the first over the finish line was Morpeth Harrier Ian Hudspith, who. in what could be described as ideal conditions, clocked an excellent 30m25s, which was agonisingly five seconds outside the previous course record, set by his clubmate Serod Batochir when winning in 2011.

Hudspith also led home a Morpeth Harriers one, two, three, with Nick Swinburn and Michael Dawson filling the minor placings in 31m56s and 32m44s respectively.

Also well up the field was Michael Thomsen, who probably had one of his best runs in a blue and white vest, when finishing 10th in 34m39s.

Not far behind him was clubmate Paul Waterston, who finished 14th in 35m20s, and was third Over 45 Veteran man.

Two of Morpeth Harriers younger brigade were next to finish, having each performed well.

Elliot Kelly was first U17 in 27th place in 36m50s and Matthew Boyle can feel well pleased in finishing 32nd in 37m11s.

Other Morpeth Harriers finishers known at time of going to press were Gordon Dixon (89th, 39m06s), Jim Alder (108th, 39m45s), Jane Briggs (213th, 42m28s), Eric Adams (294th, 44m04s), Gordon Gemmell (355th, 45m22s) and Claire Gutcher (367th, 45m35s).

On the men’s team front Morpeth Harriers were easy winners, with second place going to North Shields Poly and Wallsend Harriers finishing third.

Such was the strength of Morpeth Harriers, their Men’s B team were sixth.