Harriers make sure of a home victory

The early stages of the Morpeth 11k Road Race. Photo by Keith Robertson.
The early stages of the Morpeth 11k Road Race. Photo by Keith Robertson.

THE host club was victorious in the Men’s section at the annual Morpeth Harriers’ 11k Road Race on New Year’s Day, writes George Patterson.

Ian Harding’s only previous experience of the event had been in 2005, when he had finished third behind two-times winner Nathan Shrubb.

He crossed the finish line on the Stanners in Morpeth in an excellent 33m41s. This gave Harding a good 57 seconds winning margin over Sale Harrier Daniel Bradford, who had finished fourth in the corresponding event 12 months previously when the organisers had been forced to shorten the course due to the icy conditions.

Third place in the Men’s race went to Leeds City’s Carl Smith, who clocked 34m53s.

Morpeth Harrier Sam Forester, who had travelled home from Nuremberg in Germany specially for the event, finished fourth in 35m39s.

Fifth place went to Low Fell Harrier John Archer, who had been the first to wilt in a five-strong leading pack that had opened up a gap in the first mile. His time was 36m16s.

North Shields Poly’s Graeme Cook finished sixth in 36m45s and there was a very close fight for seventh and eighth place between Claremont’s Brendan McMillan (37m19s) and Elswick’s Paul Turner (37m27s).

First Male Veteran home was Morpeth Harrier Paul Waterston, in ninth place in 38m09s, closely followed by the second Veteran Man and fellow clubmate Phil Walker, who clocked 38m20s.

Michelle Holt of Sunderland Harriers was a very clear winner of the Women’s event, crossing the finish line in 23rd place overall.

Her time of 41m57s was a good 2m44s clear of her nearest rival, Joanne Lee of Tynedale Harriers – who was 36th overall.

Lee was closely followed home in 37th place by Morpeth’s Kate Chapman, who can feel well pleased with her effort of 44m49s.

Morpeth Harriers dominated both the Men’s and Women’s team events, with the aforementioned Chapman being supported by the efforts of Marie Drosdowicz (67th in 49m06s) and Pam Woodcock (94th in 54m14s).

Harding, Forester and Waterston were the Morpeth counters in the successful Men’s team effort.

Another host club success was Gavin Bayne’s victory in the Over 55 Men’s category by finishing 31st in 43m28s.

Morpeth Harriers wish to thank Morpeth Rugby Club for the use of its premises for registration and the after-race presentation, and to the Red Cross for its first aid provision and its members and friends who gave their valued assistance on the day to ensure the continued success of the event.

Many thanks and congratulations should also go to Kevin Bray, who very efficiently carried out his duties as Race Director for the very first time.

The main race sponsor was Benfield Motors (Morpeth) [Mr Patterson provided additional sponsorship].

l Two Morpeth Harriers were amongst the leading finishers in the 25th Woodlawn Christmas Pudding Run, held at Whitley Bay on Boxing Day.

In a 400-plus strong field, Michael Dawson was very much involved in a close finish, finishing third behind Leeds City’s Carl Smith and Gateshead’s Callum Johnson.

Dawson’s time of 16m05s was only 10 seconds adrift of his rivals, with the first two being given equal clockings.

They were followed in turn by a quick procession of hardy club runners, including eighth placed Andrew Lawrence of Morpeth, who clocked 16m43s. He was one place and two seconds ahead of the highly acclaimed Kate Avery of Shildon, who was the event’s first lady finisher by a clear three-and-a-half minutes.

l Morpeth Harrier Ben Harrison celebrated the festive season in style by capturing victory in the 4k Christmas Road Race in Lancaster on Tuesday, December 27, in a time of 12m52s.

This was too good for his closest rival Peter Twigg, of the host club Lancaster and Morecambe, who in turn clocked 13m27s.