Morpeth pair among first three Britons in Brussels

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Morpeth Harriers duo Nick Swinburn and Carl Avery both produced excellent performances in Brussels in Belgium on Sunday.

They were competing in the high profile Cross-Cup Meeting, in the senior men’s event, run over a distance of 10.5km.

Nick was representing Great Britain, and Carl was running for the North of England for the first time, also making his first representative appearance.

Swinburn finished a superb fourth in the 64-strong field, only 34 seconds adrift of Ethiopian winner Faisa Tasama, with a time of 32m53s.

He was the first Briton home, and Avery was the third, in 14th place, posting a superb time of 33m24s.

Both athletes were very pleased with their runs, as was North of England Team Manager Steve Gaines, himself a former Morpeth Harrier.

 In last week’s Morpeth Herald, we reported on Morpeth Harriers’ team performances and various successes at the annual North Eastern Counties Cross-Country Championships, held at Sedgefield, County Durham.

It has now been confirmed that the club did win the overall trophy for their men’s performances.

Sadly, they just missed out on the overall women’s trophy.

There was a three-way split involved where they finished on exactly the same points as Birtley Athletics Club and Gateshead Harriers.

The trophy went to Birtley on the basis that they had scored in all four of the women’s events, but Morpeth and Gateshead had only done so in three events.

Morpeth did, however, win the overall trophy scored over both genders.

 A host of excellent performances certainly led to a great deal of deliberation by judges, before making their final decisions on who was the Linden Homes-sponsored Morpeth Harriers athlete of the month for November.

Eventually, they decided to give the award to under-15 boy Taylor Glover for his two consecutive performances in the space of a week at the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League Meetings held at Aykley Heads in County Durham and Druridge Bay.

Glover finished ninth overall at Aykley Heads, as second counter in his club’s team victory, and was third fastest in the event.

At Druridge Bay, he again finished ninth, but on this occasion he was the fastest, and his club again had a team victory, with him being the third counter.

Taylor is pictured receiving his certificate of achievement at the Morpeth Harriers clubhouse in Mitford Road, on Monday, December 14.

 Morpeth Harrier John Butters was an emphatic winner of the Simonside Cairns fell race in Rothbury on Sunday, December 13, posting a time of 85m02s, a clear 37 seconds ahead of his closest rival, the unattached Andrew Shaw, who was 10 seconds ahead of another unattached athlete, Ben Grayson, in third place.

Butters was always among a lead group of five until the last two miles, whereupon he managed to eventually pull away, producing an unassailable lead.

Other Morpeth Harriers performances of note in the event came from Steve Haswell, 22nd in 93m30s; Richard Kirby, 36th in 101m59s; and Gary Mason, 49th in 107m10s.

A total of 78 competitors took part in the race, being run for the 20th time, and they were all subject to conditions extremely heavy under foot, with an array of obstacles to overcome such as fallen trees, ice, snow, collapsed footbridges and the mandatory muddy streams that were replacing the footpaths.

However, all were hugely rewarded with very clear and unobstructed views across the Simonside moorland above the Northumberland town as a picturesque backdrop to their strenuous activity.