Harriers make fine cross-country debut

editorial image

Posting four very consistent times, Morpeth Harriers’ senior men made an excellent Northern Athletics Cross-Country Relay Championship debut at Graves Park in Sheffield.

Ross Floyd (10m29s), Karl Taylor (10m43s), Ian Harding (10m41s) and Chris Smith (10m42s) finished fourth in 42m35s, behind winners Leeds City, who finished in 41m42s for the 4 x 2mile contest.

Second place went to Lincoln Wellington (42m06s), and third place to Liverpool Harriers (42m10s).

Initially, Morpeth had finished fifth, but that was changed in the judges’ room when the original second-placed club, Sheffield University, were disqualified for fielding an ineligible first-leg runner.

Team manager Jim Alder described Morpeth’s performance as creditable, saying he had been very pleased with the outcome.

The squad had progressed from a very good first-leg starting point of eighth, and he felt that they had been consistent right throughout a tightly-fought contest at the front end of a field of 38 finishing clubs.

All four runners had been among the fastest in their legs.

North East rivals Durham City finished 15th in 45m03s, with Dan Jenkin being their fastest, in 10m28s, getting home just ahead of Floyd.

The third set of races in Harriers’ 2015 series of young athletes’ road championships, sponsored by Linden Homes, took place at Lancaster Park.

The heavy showers that had fallen just before the event gave way to a light drizzle, so the runners had near-perfect conditions for their journey around the 1.3-mile one-lap course.

The under-17 men’s event was won by Scott Beattie, who clocked the fastest time this year on the course, coming home in 7m05s, eight seconds ahead of second-placed Kieran Hedley.

Third place went to Jacob Hopkins, who was a further 15 seconds adrift, with a time of 7m28s.

Beattie, Hedley, and Hopkins will receive respective gold, silver and bronze awards at a presentation night at the end of November.

Also receiving a gold medal for her efforts in the under-17 women’s event will be Abby Sheldon, who, as the lone entrant, in her particular race managed to complete the 1.3-mile circuit in 9m28s.

Other under-17 men’s performances were as follows:

Adam Shewry (4th) 8m04s, Jamie Duguid (5th) 8m23s, and Mitchell Cryer (6th) 11m55s.

Emma Holt made a winning return to competitive action on Sunday after an enforced period of absence owing to a work-related injury.

She won the women’s race at the Gibside Fruit Bowl Multi-Terrain Race, held within the grounds of the National Trust property, near Rowlands Gill, Gateshead.

Posting a time of 45m18s, she finished in 15th place, slightly over two minutes clear of her closest rival Hazelle Webster-Costello, of Jarrow and Hebburn.

Another Morpeth Harrier having an excellent run in the event was John Butters, who finished fourth in 41m54s and was first veteran man.

The event was won by Jordan Bell, of host club Blackhill Bounders, in a time of 40m05s. He managed to pull clear from his club colleague Gary Wallace to win by 15 seconds.

Third place went to Jarrow and Hebburn’s Brendan McMillan, who clocked 41m07s.

Other Harriers competing in the 440-strong field of finishers were Kevin Bray (100th) (18th over-50 man) 53m10s, Mark Crosby (130th) (25th over-50 man), Jane Briggs (285th) (19th over-45 woman) 65m31s, Carol Parry (286th) (20th over-45 woman) 65m32s, and Sue Smith (289th) (21st over-45 woman) 65m52s.

Carl Avery triumphed in Adelaide, Australia, in the world duathlon championships.

On Sunday, the Seahouses-based British Champion retained his AG Sprint World title that he won in 2014, winning by 43 seconds over his closest rival, Iain Gillam.

His Morpeth Harriers club-mate Steve Patterson, also out in Australia with Avery, finished 82nd, and was 12th overall in the 35 to 39 age group posting a time of 63m15s.

Well done to both athletes on their superb achievements, and no doubt enjoying a diversion away from their usual athletics activities with their club.