THERE were some excellent Morpeth Harriers performances at the fourth Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Harrier League meeting, writes George Patterson.
Despite some pre-event rain the course at Cardinal Hume School in Wrekenton, Gateshead, was in good raceable condition, although there were some heavy patches of ground.
This did nothing to deter Morpeth Harrier Ryan Green, who took a handsome victory by a margin of 28 seconds in the first event on the programme, the Under 13 Boys’.
He clocked the fourth fastest overall time of the day, while using his 100 second Slow Pack advantage well.
Philip Kirby, having his first run for the club as an Under 13 Boy, ran superbly to come home in eighth place from the Slow Pack.
With Jacob Hopkins also coming through well in the Fast Pack to finish 16th, Morpeth Harriers snatched a four-point-margin team victory on the day from Tynedale Harriers.
Matt Nicholson showed he had recovered well from his previous week’s exertions at Alton Towers, where he finished 35th, working his way through to second place from the Fast Pack.
He recorded the fastest Senior Men’s overall time of the day and was closely followed in third place by his clubmate Peter Newton, who was second fastest on the day from the Fast Pack.
Morpeth eventually finished as second team on the day to their Division One rivals Sunderland Harriers, which means that in the Grand Prix stakes they are equal top currently with Heaton Harriers – who on the day took a bit of a nose dive by placing fourth in the divisional count.
Meanwhile, Nicholson had also added greatly to his chances of retaining the individual Senior Men’s trophy that he won last year.
Further excellent team counts came from Paul Waterston (14th from Medium Pack), Michael Dawson (22nd from Fast Pack), Ross Floyd (28th from Fast Pack) and Alistair MacDonald (57th from Slow Pack).
Jane Mooney bounced right back to the top of the leaderboard in the Senior Women’s Grand Prix standings by running the day’s fastest time when coming through to place third overall with a superb performance.
Morpeth Harriers’ only other finisher in this event was Claire Bruce, who placed 45th from the Slow Pack, which disappointingly once again meant there was no team challenge by the club.
Sam Hancox and Henrik Paulsen were Morpeth Harriers’ sole competitors in the Under 17 Men’s and Under 15 Boys’ events respectively.
Sam finished 11th running from the Fast Pack and Henrik finished 31st from the Slow Pack.
l Morpeth Harrier Jonathan Taylor finished second in Sunday’s Snake Lane 10-mile Road Race at Pocklington, near York, to New Marske’s Ricky Stevenson in a time of 49m43s.
l Competing for her Scottish club Edinburgh AC, Morpeth Harrier Alison Brown won her Under 15 Girls’ age category race at the Borders Cross Country League on Sunday.
In doing so, she also took an extra award by winning the overall Junior Female Trophy courtesy of her three wins in the series.
l Seven Morpeth Harriers are included in North East Counties teams competing at the UK Inter Counties Cross Country Championships, held at Birmingham’s Cofton Park this Saturday.
Matt Nicholson and Peter Newton make the Senior Men’s squad and Jane Mooney is in the Senior Women’s squad.
Jonnie Nisbet is in the Under 17 Men’s team, Ailsa McGregor and Hannah Rank are in the Under 17 Women’s team and Jessica Caldwell makes the start list in the Under 20 Women’s squad.
Morpeth Harrier Nick McCormick will represent Great Britain in the Men’s 1500m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships, scheduled to be held from Friday until Sunday in Paris.