Harriers on top form at Memorial Road Race

The young Morpeth Harriers athletes with their medals.
The young Morpeth Harriers athletes with their medals.

MORPETH Harriers were very much in dominant form as a club at Sunday’s annual Heaton Memorial Road Races, held at Newcastle’s Exhibition Park and Town Moor areas.

Despite a restart to the Senior Men’s 10k event, due to the front-runners mistaking a passing cyclist as their official lead bike, which resulted in them leading virtually the entire 700-plus-strong field hopelessly off course, Ian Hudspith masterfully carved out a superb individual victory, over what was a newly-redesigned route in a time of 31m26s, which gave him a 38-second margin over his closest rival Richard Morrell of Teesside-based New Marske Harriers.

Third place went to Sunderland Harrier Kevin Calvert, who was a further 43 seconds adrift.

Morpeth Harriers also found team and individual success in the U13 Boys’ 3k event, with Kieran Hedley leading the field home in an excellent 10m47s.

Further Morpeth Harriers’ winning team support came from Joe Dowd (fourth) 11m58s, and Alex Cunningham (fifth) 11m58s.

In the U15 Boys’ 3k event, Ryan Green broke the course record by all of five seconds, when he won in 9m50s, beating Gateshead Harrier Joe Armstrong, who was also a second inside his very own course record, with his clocking of 9m54s.

Morpeth Harriers also found team success in the combined U17/U20 Men’s 5k event, with Jonny Nisbet finishing second in 16m02s, Elliot Kelly finishing fifth in 17m09s, and Sam Hancox finishing ninth in 17m47s.

Kelly was also first U17 finisher.

Morpeth Harriers also had some good minor placings to show for their efforts.

Ross Charlton finished second in the U11 Boys’ 1k event in 4m09s, Rhiannon Hedley finished third in the U11 Girls’ 1k event in 4m30s, Lizzie Rank finished third in the U13 Girls’ 3k event in 12m34s, and Alison Brown finished third in the U17 Women’s 5k event in 20m11s.

Other Morpeth Harriers results are as follows: U13 Boys’ 3k: Cameron Dick (eighth) 12m22s, Adam Shewry (14th) 13m29s, and Matthew Briggs (15th) 14m33s.

Senior Men 10k: Ed Hillier (86th) 40m17s, Steve Haswell (162nd) 43m42s, Eric Adams (184th) 44m20s. Senior Women 10k: Jane Briggs (Second O40 Vet Lady) 44m34s, Marie Drosdowicz (third O50 Vet Lady) 47m41s.

AROUND 100 Morpeth Harriers and supporters gathered for what is hoped to become a new annual Presentation Night, which was held at Marabinis Italian Restaurant in Morpeth on the evening of Sunday, November 4.

The event, which was splendidly organised by club coach Paddy Paulsen in order to celebrate some of Morpeth Harriers’ achievements over the past six to nine months, included awards presented to the respective club champions on the road, and recent Sherman Cup, and Davison Shield achievements by their men and women, plus an extra surprise award to the Most Improved Young Athlete in 2012.

Long-serving club secretary Mike Bateman was MC for the night, and even he himself was taken by surprise when at the end of proceedings he was singled out for a special award.

It was presented to him by organiser Paddy Paulsen in recognition of his continued sterling work for the club in the year that Morpeth Harriers’ long-awaited new track facility came to fruition, a project that had only succeeded with his determination and devotion.

The main club awards were presented by club president Jim Alder MBE, with assistance from club chairman David Swinburne.

A prize draw was organised by Paddy Paulsen, and a fund-raising domino card was organised by Ken MacDonald.

Club Awards

U11 Boys’ Club Road Championship: 1 Mark Booth, 2 Joe Briddon, 3 Ross Charlton. U11 Girls’ Club Road Championship: 1 Holly Peck, 2 Hannah Dickson. U13 Boys’ Club Road Championship: 1 Kieran Hedley, 2 Philip Kirby, 3 Alex Cunningham. U13 Girls Club Road Championship: 1 Ailsa Jones, 2 Teegan Dryden, 3 Kate Seymour. U15 Boys’ Club Road Championship: 1 Ryan Green, 2 Jarod Lewis, 3 Jacob Hopkins. U15 Girls’ Club Road Championship: 1 Amber Cormack, 2 Florence Thomson, 3 Harriet Grace. U17 Men’s Club Road Championship: 1 Philip Winkler, 2 Elliot Kelly, 3 Joe Elder. U17 Women’s Club Road Championship: 1 Alison Brown, 2 Hannah Sheerin, 3 Sarah Wilkes.

Ross Floyd also received an award as being second in the Senior Men’s Club Road Championship, which was held within the Morpeth 10k at the end of July 2012.

First and third places went to Nick Swinburn, and Nathan Shrubb, who were unable to be present for their awards.

A large cheer went up when it was announced that the award for the Most Improved Young Athlete for 2012 had gone to Henrik Paulsen.

His progress from where he was in respect of his ability and potential at the end of 2011, and where he is now, had been quite phenomenal in athletics terms, and had certainly impressed the judges.

A great deal of this had been achieved with his hard work overseen by his coach and mentor Mick Groves, and more latterly with sprints coach Eddie Hedley, which had seen him finish third in the U17 Men’s section of the North Eastern Athletics League Grand Prix, and in addition he had progressed from making an odd guest appearance in Senior Northern League matches to being a fully-fledged member of the regular squad.