Harriers pound the streets of London

Pam Woodcock and Paul Waterston, award winners at Morpeth Harriers' Veterans Grand Prix Presentation Night. Photo by Hudson Stoker.
Pam Woodcock and Paul Waterston, award winners at Morpeth Harriers' Veterans Grand Prix Presentation Night. Photo by Hudson Stoker.
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THOUSANDS of dedicated runners descended on the nation’s capital on Sunday to take part in the annual London Marathon, this year once again sponsored by Virgin, writes George Patterson.

Among them were several athletes from Morpeth Harriers.

First home from the club was London-based Andrew Lawrence, who unfortunately on this occasion was not wearing the usual colours donned by his first claim club.

Mainly because of local support and pressure, he chose to wear the colours of his second claim club Highgate Harriers.

Nevertheless, we record that he finished 354th overall, and as 249th male, in a time of 2hrs46m04s.

Second Morpeth Harriers finisher was Neil Gunstone, who clocked 3hrs00m52s, to come home 1,399th overall and as 1,343rd male finisher.

Next home was Mike Winter, who clocked 3hrs01m49s for 1,487th place overall as 1,422nd male.

Fourth home from the club was Matthew Forster, who finished in 1,657th place overall, and was 1,578th male in 3hr04m03s.

Three Morpeth Harriers women were also among the finishers.

Charlotte Wilson was first of these, finishing 2,177th overall, and was 141st woman, in a finishing time of 3hr09m49s.

Second woman home from the club was Lorna MacDonald, who clocked 3hr22m10s, and 3,550th overall, and was 372nd woman.

At the time of going to press, Morpeth Harriers’ only other known finisher Kate Chapman.

She finished 4,021st overall and was 463rd woman finisher in 3hr25m58s.

TWO Morpeth Harriers were called up to represent the North East in the London Marathon, British Athletics Mini Marathon Regional Challenge.

In the U13 Boys’ event, where the North East finished as fifth team, Kieran Hedley was fourth counter in 35th place overall.

Alison Brown was fifth counter for the North East U17 Women’s squad, who finished as ninth team. She finished in 64th place overall.

FOUR young athletes from Morpeth Harriers, certainly made enthusiastic starts to their track season, at the Anne Marie Readshaw Memorial Open Meeting, held at Shildon Stadium, Co Durham, on Sunday, April 14.

A very welcome early-season victory came the way of Jacob Hopkins in the U15 Boys’ 800m, where he clocked a new personal best of 2m16.9s.

It will be a particular boost to Hopkins, coming off the back of what he would very readily describe as a disappointing cross-country campaign.

The Benet Biscop, Bedlington, pupil suffered from various problems mainly associated with his growth, however, with Sunday’s performance, he clearly showed that he has a dearth of fitness that will see him successfully through his second year term in his particular age group and this was the start he had always wished for, along with his club and team-mates.

One team-mate, who also benefited from a good performance on Sunday, was Kieran Hedley, who by comparison to Hopkins had a more successful cross-country season.

Hedley ran well to finish third behind Hopkins and that by degree is excellent, as he is in the first year of the U15 age group. His finishing time of 2m21.6s was a new personal best.

Also performing well was Hedley’s younger sister Rhiannon, who is one of the youngest in the U11 Girls’ age group, and her performance to finish third in the 600m in 2m12.5s speaks volumes towards a successful future in the sport.

Finally, Elliot Kelly can feel well pleased with his second in the U17 Men’s 3000m in 10m02.0s, finishing behind Birtley’s Tom Goulding.

THIRTY members of Morpeth Harriers gathered at the Joiners Arms, Morpeth, on the evening of Sunday, April 14, to celebrate athletic achievements by their colleagues, at the 2012 Veterans Grand Prix Presentation, sponsored by Phil Walker Financial Planner of St James’s Place Wealth Management.

As host, Walker thanked all of those present for their attendance and hoped that all would enjoy their evening.

He introduced himself as the event sponsor and outlined some of the work that his company carried out and the charities that they additionally supported. He said that proceeds from the prize raffle to be held that evening would be supporting some of those charities chosen by the St James’s Foundation, including underprivileged, and unwell children.

Phil went on to say that the new Grand Prix format appeared to be working well, and was pleased to add that 20 people had competed in six of the qualifying events and that 25 Veterans had actually entered the event overall.

Later, he paid tribute to the valued help and contribution that he had received from John Butters in keeping the Grand Prix tables updated, with his immense computer skills, and Pam Woodcock for her sponsors knowledge as his predecessor to the event.

The following received awards for their achievements in the 2012 Morpeth Harriers Veterans Grand Prix:

League One: Winner: Paul Waterston, Runner-up: Chris Waugh.

League Two: Winner: Mick Thomsen, Runner-up: Bob Sewell.

League Three: Winner: Fergus Bates, Runner-up: Jim Alder.

League Four: Winner: Scott Wilkes, Runner-up: Peter Maylia.

Overall champions 2012: Male: Paul Waterston. Female: Pam Woodcock.

At the close of proceedings, Bob Sewell proposed a vote of thanks to Phil Walker for his generosity as sponsor and for providing an enjoyable year of events and for the enjoyable evening.

Phil Walker has indicated that he will continue to sponsor the Morpeth Harriers Veterans Grand Prix during the forthcoming year.

Thanks also go to the management of the Joiners Arms, Morpeth, for the provision of their back room and for the buffet that was enjoyed by all.

MATTHEW Nicholson of Morpeth Harriers can count himself very unlucky in coming up against an athlete of the calibre of Ethiopian Tadele Geremew, now running for Elswick Harriers, in Sunday’s Wallsend Harriers Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k Road Race.

For Nicholson had established a very healthy lead up until the halfway point and only lost out to Geremew in the later stages.

Geremew won with 21 seconds to spare over Nicholson, as the Morpeth man powered home relentlessly in 15m21s.

Only Sale Harrier Nick Samuels, husband of newly-signed Wallsend Harrier Sonia, who won the Women’s race in a new course record time, could get anywhere near Nicholson and Geremew and finished third in 15m32s.

Another prominent Morpeth Harriers performer was Thomas Straughan, who finished 12th in 16m20s.

Billy Gilroy showed he is getting back to excellent form and was second Over 50 Veteran, when he finished 19th in 16m45s.

One place behind Gilroy was Fergus Bates, who clocked 16m48s, and was third Over 40 Veteran Man.

U20 athlete Sam Hancox continued his run of superb form by placing 22nd in 17m07s.

Other Morpeth performers were Mike Hegarty (33rd) 17m38s, Chris Waugh (39th) (fourth O/50) 18m00s, Rob Hancox (53rd) (eighth O/45) 18m39s, Nick Armstrong (11th O/45) 20m21s, Pauline Brennan) (129th) (21s Lady) (second O/40 Lady) 21m36s, Archie Jenkins (130th) (third O/60) 21m40s, and Shuna Rank (135th) (25th lady) (fifth /35 Lady) 22m15s.

FOR the second month in a row, the Benfield Motor Group Morpeth Harriers Athlete of the Month award has gone to one of their very much younger up and coming stars.

For March 2013, the judges have selected U13 Girl Lizzie Rank, who produced an excellent run to be one of the fastest performers at the fifth and penultimate Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League at Alnwick and also finished an excellent second in her age group event at the cold and windy Elswick Road Races, held at Newburn Business Park on Good Friday.

Lizzie is pictured receiving her performance certificate from Morpeth Harriers Club chairman David Swinburne, at their clubhouse on Mitford Road on Monday, April 15.

She now joins a list of previous winners for selection for a possible more lucrative award when the Benfield Motor Group Morpeth Harriers Athlete of the Year 2012-13 is decided in July.