Harriers shine in Moor mudbath

IN very much mudbath conditions, several athletes from Morpeth Harriers gave good accounts of themselves at the rescheduled third meeting of the Start Fitness sponsored North Eastern Harrier League in Newcastle’s Town Moor on Sunday, writes George Patterson.

Most notable were the runs by Jane Mooney, Peter Newton and Jacob Hopkins.

Fresh from her exertions at the previous week’s Northern Cross Country Championships, Mooney bravely battled her way through from the Fast Pack to win the Senior Women’s race outright.

She also led her club to seventh team place, with supporting runs coming from Emma Pearson (27th Fast Pack) and Claire Bruce (54th Slow Pack).

Newton was the day’s fastest performer in the Senior Men’s event, when he came through from a Fast Pack start to finish third.

The second and fifth fastest performances belonged to his club colleagues Ross Floyd and Michael Dawson, who finished fourth and 17th respectively.

With further Morpeth Harriers team support coming from Gary Jones (55th Fast Pack), Rob Hancox (94th Slow Pack) and Peter Scaife (143rd Slow Pack), the club finished as sixth team on the day, but still maintain their season’s fight for Division One supremacy.

Hopkins produced an excellent run to finish second as Morpeth Harriers’ sole competitor in the Under 13 Boys event.

In her very first Harrier League outing, Morpeth’s Lizzie Rank competed well to finish sixth in the Under 13 Girls event and was third from the Slow Pack.

Sam Hancox also had a good run when he finished fourth in the Under 17 Men’s event from the Slow Pack.

Henrik Paulsen and Joe Elder finished 17th and 25th respectively in the Under 15 Boys event, the latter running from the Fast Pack.

l Jonnie Nisbet, Ailsa McGregor, Hannah Rank and Alison Brown were the pick of the Morpeth Harriers representing Northumberland at the Northern Schools Inter Counties Championships, held at a cold and windy Haydon Bridge School on Saturday.

Nisbet ran excellently to finish fifth and only slightly adrift of the leaders in the Intermediate Boys event, and was first home for the county who won the section.

Fellow Morpeth Harrier Philip Caldwell emerged as fourth counter in 15th place overall.

McGregor and Rank were fifth and sixth home for a winning Northumberland squad in the Senior Girls event when they placed eighth and tenth respectively.

Jessica Caldwell and Catriona MacDonald were 11th and 12th home for the county by finishing 28th and 30th.

Brown was third home for Northumberland in the Junior Girls event when she finished 15th, and Jessica Morrison and Sarah Wilkes placed 33rd and 52nd to finish as sixth and 12th respectively.

In the Junior Boys event, Philip Winkler was Northumberland’s eighth counter in 34th place and was three places ahead of his Morpeth Harriers clubmate Ryan Green who was ninth counter.

In the Senior and Minor Boys events, Morpeth Harriers James Woolett and Sam Fisher finished 34th and 25th respectively.

At this juncture, Nisbet, McGregor, Rank, and Brown should find themselves included in the Northumberland squad who will compete in the English Schools Cross Country Championships at Nottingham in March following their day’s efforts.

l Dorset based Morpeth Harrier Nathan Shrubb entered a whole new generation of road race running experience on Sunday when he achieved his first ever half marathon victory.

Shrubb headed a finishing field of 456 when he crossed the finish line in the 19th Blackmore Vale Lions event, held in Sherborne, in a time of 72m23s. His only previous half marathon experience had been in 2007, when he finished 81st in the Bupa Great North Run in a time of 75m53s.

l Andrew Lawrence of Morpeth Harriers finished a very good runner up to Herne Hill’s Jeff Cunningham in Sunday’s Gordon Pirie 10 Mile Cross Country Race, held at Coulsdon in Surrey, in a time of 60m35s.

l Morpeth Harrier Jonathan Taylor was Newcastle’s only winner in Sunday’s McCain City Challenge Match One held at Sheffield Indoor Arena.

Taylor won the Men’s 1500m in 3m47.82s, which was around three seconds adrift of his best indoor clocking. Newcastle finished seventh of eight in the match.

l Competing for their Scottish club Ron Hill Cambuslang, Morpeth Harriers Neil Wilkinson and Archie Jenkins finished sixth and 119th respectively in the Men’s race at the Scottish Masters Cross Country Championships, held at Kirkcaldy on Saturday.

In Wilkinson’s case, it saw him accrue a Gold team medal as third counter and he was also third Over 40 man home. Jenkins was 12th home in the Over 55 Men’s category.