Harriers prominent in UK Cross Country Challenge at Liverpool

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Morpeth athletes were prominent finishers at Saturday’s UK Cross Challenge meeting, held at Sefton Park in Liverpool.

Thgis was an event which also included the UK Trials for competitors with budding ambitions to compete in the forthcoming European Cross-Country Championships, being held in Tilburg, in the Netherlands next month.

In the Under 17 Men’s event, Daniel Dixon produced an excellent run, finishing 11th, only 31 seconds adrift of race winner Hamish Armitt of Giffnock North, in Scotland.

Dixon’s Morpeth colleague Daniel Melling also produced an excellent run to finish 23rd, a further 17 seconds adrift.

In the Senior Women’s event Mhairi MacLennan of Morpeth finished ninth, only 39 seconds adrift of Cardiff winner Charlotte Arter.

James Young of Morpeth, competed for Lancaster University in the Senior Men’s event, finishing in 109th place.

Unfortunately, Morpeth’s leading Under 20 Man Rory Leonard could not finish his event, due to nasty chest infection that he had been suffering from in the week leading up to proceedings and retired feeling the loss of a possible and hoped for place on the GB team in Tilburg.

He will now need to take time out to recover, and hopefully pick up things in time for tackling major competitions in the early part of 2019.

* 109 complete teams competed for honours in Saturday’s Norman Woodcock Memorial Road Relays, sponsored by Lookers Kia of Scotswood Road, organised by Elswick Harriers, and held on the inside tracks within Newcastle Racecourse at High Gosforth Park.

Amongst those teams, were no less than seven from Morpeth Harriers, with three of those squads achieving podium placings.

All three leg squads were made up of mixed genders with each leg being 1.67mile.

Morpeth’s Senior A team, won the event by a margin of 20 seconds from Sunderland Strollers, posting a total time of 25m35s, courtesy of Alistair Douglass (8m05s), who led everyone home on leg one, Rachelle Falloon (9m32s), and Thomas Straughan (7m58s).

Straughan’ s time was the fastest overall on the day, with Douglass’s first leg time, emerging as the second fastest.

Falloon’s second leg time proved to be the fifth fastest Women’s time, with Sunderland Strollers International Alyson Dixon posting the fastest overall time of 8m48s on the same second leg,

Morpeth Harriers D team, who were labelled as their Over 50’s A team, finished a close second to North Shields Poly, courtesy of Phil Walker (9m14s), Jane Briggs (10m50s), and Paul Waterston (9m21s), only losing out for gold, by a mere six seconds.

The clubs F team, who were the O60’s squad, completed a full set of medal colours, when finishing third behind Sunderland Strollers B, courtesy of Les Cavill (10m59s), Pam Woodcock (12m43s), and Gavin Bayne (11m24s).

Morpeth Harriers C team, who were representing the clubs Over 40 section, finished a very close fourth, only just under a minute adrift of bronze placing, despite excellent running by Jamie Johnson (9m43s), Helen King (10m01s), and David Swinburne (9m09s).

The Morpeth Harriers E team, who were representative of the clubs Over 50 B team, finished a close fourth, and only 33 seconds adrift of bronze medals.

Competing for this squad were Paul Bellingham (10m07s), Sue Smith (11m43s), and Neil McAnany (9m19s).

Another fourth placing Morpeth squad were their G team, who were represented as the clubs Over 60 B team.

Running in this squad were Mike Steven (10m44s), Cath Young (12m32s), who had been press ganged out of semi-retirement to compete, and Lesley Chapman (12m31s).

Finally, the Morpeth Senior B team, who were represented by Steve Major (10m46s), Lorna MacDonald (10m04s), and Claire Calverley (10m57s), finished in 38th place.

* Almost 100 members and friends gathered at Gianni’s Italian Restaurant in Morpeth for the annual presentation evening..

Guest of honour was Nigel Reeves, owner of Reeves, the Pension Specialist, who are the clubs sponsor for the forthcoming three years.

Ben Waterfield received the Sporting Morpethian Trophy for the Best Performance by an Under 15/13 Boy, on him winning the 800m Championship at the North East Track and Field Championships.

Rory Leonard received the Boutflower Cup for the Best Performance by an U20/17 Man, for not only winning the U17 Inter Counties Cross Country title, but in addition, both the North East and Northern titles.

Bobbie Griffiths received the GRE Plate Shield for producing the best performance in Track and Field by a Female.

For their contribution to the clubs Young Athletes squad, Tom Balsdon (U17 Men), Ben Waterfield (U15/13 Boys), Holly Peck (U17 Women), and Jessica Gardiner (U15/13 Girls), each respectively received the Woolworths Trophy, Des Slowey Trophy, YAL U17 Trophy, and YAL Under 15/13 Girls Trophy.

Dylan Davies received the Bill Woods Shield, on being judged as the Most Improved Young Athlete of 2018.

Club Service Awards went to YAL Female Team Manager and coach Dave Thomas (Bellerby Shield), and George Patterson, Press Officer, and Hudson Stoker, Webmaster, (Millennium Trophy) for raising the club’s profile in the community.

The final presentation saw the re-introduction of the Morpeth Harriers Athlete of the Month Award, newly sponsored by Reeves.

The first recipient of the award for October, was U 15 Boy athlete Euan Duffin, who has not only improved his own competitive abilities over recent months, but is now very much a leading player in a successful club squad.