It was a very Happy New Year indeed for Peter Newton and Danielle Hodgkinson, respective winners of the Men’s and Women’s sections, in the annual Morpeth New Years Day Road Race.
A total of 173 finishers faced the starter in the event at the bottom of Dogger Bank, on Mitford Road, and all very much relished the conditions, which although a little chilly, offered very little in terms of a wind factor.
This proved very welcome on the more extreme rural stretches of the tough demanding course, which incorporated areas from Mitford to Mitford Steads, and the downward Whalton Road, on the return journey to Morpeth.
Morpeth Harrier Newton, the North Eastern Counties 10,000 metre Track Champion, took firm advantage at the 5k point, on the approximate 11k course.
Despite some desperate challenges from his second placed club colleague, Lewis Timmins, Gateshead’s Callum Johnson, competing over the distance for the first time, Border’s Chris Steele, and Salford’s Thomas Cornthwaite, he managed to hold on for victory on the Stanners, posting an excellent finishing time of 33m52s.
That time gave him a 12 second cushion over Timmins, who also managed to hold off the close attentions of third placed Cornthwaite, who posted a time of 34m13s.
The non wind factor was very much apparent, as the top eight finishers in the event, all managed to dip under the 35 minute barrier.
Just adrift of a podium place was Johnson, who posted a time of 34m19s.
Only five seconds behind him in fifth place was Steele.
The next four places were filled by Morpeth Harriers in the form of Sam Hancox (34m30s), Karl Taylor (34m33s), Thomas Straughan (34m52s), and Ross Floyd (35m33s).
Graeme Cook of North Shields Poly completed the top ten finishers, posting a time of 35m38s.
Finishing 13th in 36m39s, Morpeth Harrier John Butters was the first Over 40 Man home.
Birchfield’s Danielle Hodgkinson proved to be an emphatic winner of the Women’s race, posting a time of 39m52s, finishing 20th overall in the race, she was one minute and fifty three seconds, and nine places clear of her closest rival, North Shields Poly Junior, Jacqueline Penn.
Third place in the Women’s event went to Elswick Harrier Judith Nutt, who finished 36th overall in 42m24s, and was also first Veteran Lady finisher.
The next Senior Lady finisher was Morpeth Harrier Alison Brown, who clocked 46m19s, finishing 63rd overall, and was the first Lady home from the host club.
She just beat off the close attentions of Low Fell’s Cheryl Parkin, who was three seconds and one place behind.
Sixth place in the Women’s race went to North Shields Poly’s Cheryl Hall, who finished 73rd overall, posting a time of 47m05s.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in the Ladies race were, Lesley Chapman (11th Lady) (102nd) 51m06s, Tracy Kenny (12th Lady) (107th) 51m57s, Jilly Bell (22nd Lady) (141st) 57m46s, and Frances Naylor (24th Lady) (147th) 60m17s.
Full event results are available for download from the Morpeth Harriers club website on www.morpethharriers.com