The Farringdon Cross Country relays, the traditional curtain-raiser to the North East cross country season, took place at Sunderland last weekend, and there was a good turn-out from Morpeth Harriers, particularly in the Junior ranks.
First off were the under 11 boys and girls. Sophia Cunningham was first home for Morpeth in 25th place in a time of 5 minutes 17 seconds, and she was followed shortly after by Lauren Garrett (30th in 5m 28s) and Keira Peck (32nd in 5m 31s).
In the boys race, James Tilley was just outside the top 10 in 12th place in a time of 4m 32s, with Corban Cryer 24th in 5m 22s.
The under 13 boys and girls races saw some very strong performances. The girls race was won by Holly Peck in a time of 11m 22s with club colleague Rhiannon Hedley close on her heels in second place some eight seconds behind her. Erin Tweddell was 33rd in 16m 17s.
There were three Morpeth boys in the top 10 of their race, with Thomas Cunningham first home in 4th place (10m 35s), Dylan Davies 6th in 11m 12s and Andrew Hudspith 9th in 11m 21s. A strong representation by Morpeth in this race also saw Aaron Haldane come home 27th (12m 25s), Jack Barrett 28th (12m 33s) and Reece Garrett 39th (14m 1s).
Gracie Hutton was Morpeth’s sole representative in the Under 15 girls, finishing 10th in 12m 27s, but there were six boys in the same age group, with Taylor Glover winning in a time of 9m 38s. Taylor’s winning run was backed up by Joe Dowd, 4th in 10m 4s, Connor Marshall (5th in 10m 17s), Alex Cunningham (10th in 10m 52s), Matthew Waterfield (12th in 11m 4s) and Daniel Melling (14th in 11m 6s).
In the final Junior category, the Under 17s, Abby Sheldon was the sole representative for the club, finishing in a time of 12m 36s in 4th place overall.
In the boys race, Kieran Hedley had to settle for 2nd place by only 10 seconds (9m 22s). Jacob Hopkins was 11th in 10m 13s and Adam Shewry 14th in 10m 42s.
Ross Floyd’s final leg performance was the highlight for Morpeth Harriers of the Senior and Veteran Men’s competition, run over a distance of approximately 1.8 miles as a relay over four legs.
With most of the club’s senior men unavailable, the Senior team was very much a youthful development squad to which Floyd was able to add his considerable experience.
Sam Hancox got the team off to a good start in a time of 9 minutes and 19 seconds to come home in sixth place and he handed on to the youngest member of the squad,
James Young (9m 49s) only dropped one place and handed on to Jonny Nisbit, competing for the club for the first time in a while having been studying at University in Stirling. Nisbit moved the team up to fifth with a clocking of 9m 33s, but with the team outside the medals, it was all to on the last leg.
An in-form Floyd showed all his experience with a tremendous time of 8m 54s which was equal fastest of the day, and in so doing brought the team home in third place with a total aggregate time of 37m 35s. Sunderland Harriers, on their home turf, won in a time of 36m 53s from Tyne Bridge second in 37m 10s.
In the Veterans race, Morpeth Harriers managed a respectable sixth place with an overall clocking of 42m 36s.
Paul Waterston on the first leg finished in sixth place (10m 20s) with Rob Hancox moving the team up one position when running some two seconds faster.
Steve Haswell (11m 2s) and Phil Walker (10m 56s) completed the final two legs of a competition won by Tyne Bridge Harriers for whom Steve Cairns’ clocking of 9m 19s was the stand-out performance of the day.