A handful of Morpeth Harriers travelled West along the A69 to either Ovingham or Haltwhistle on Sunday morning in search of a competitive run.
The pretty stretch of the Tyne Valley running through Ovingham, Bywell and Styford formed the route of the annual Tynedale 10 mile race and attracted some seven Morpeth Harriers.
The Tynedale 10 has been in existence for many years – and is popularly known as ‘the jelly tea’ on account of the free food provided at the local Middle School afterwards – and had previously followed a course from Hexham to Ovingham via Corbridge.
Traffic issues forced the organisers, local outfit Tynedale Harriers, to find a new route three years ago, however, and following an unpopular effort to stage the race on a very challenging track up at Hexham race course, this year saw the race reverting to an out and back route West from Ovingham that encompassed what had previously been the last five miles of the race.
The race itself was won by the colourfully named Sparrow Morley of Tyne Bridge in a time of 59 minutes and 33 seconds with South African Gerda Steyn first woman home, and indeed third overall, in 1 hour and 8 seconds.
First home for Morpeth was Over 50 veteran Phil Walker, 12th overall and second in his category in 1: 02: 48. Lorna Macdonald had the distinction of being second female finisher, and was 22nd overall, in 1: 06: 21.
Behind them were: Mike Steven, 51st and 4th Over 60 in 1: 13: 13; Kevin Bray, 56th and 5th Over 55 in 1: 14: 50; Alan Hyde, 68th in 1: 17:32; Hamish Mcallister-Williams, 77th in 1: 20: 31 and Norman Clark, 78th in 1: 20: 40. Clark had the distinction of being 1st Over 65 competitor.
Hardier souls travelled further West along the valley to Haltwhistle to take part in the second running of the Haltwhistle half-marathon, a scenic and largely off-road event that included an old railway viaduct and even a small stretch through a local front garden!
In a race won by James Mckenzie of Heaton Harriers in 1: 18: 39 with Gemma Bradley of Saltwell first woman home in 1: 32: 11, Helen King took the honours for Morpeth, finishing as second woman home but first Over 40 in a time of 1: 34: 44. Richard Kirby was 49th in 1: 38: 53, Lindsay Turnbull 2nd Over 45 and 86th overall in 1: 47: 29, Carol Parry 129th just over the 2 hour mark in 2: 1: 50 and Clare Hiscox 157th in 2: 11:11.
* Once again it was Kurt Heron of Ashington who overcame the Morpeth challenge at Saturday’s Druridge Bay Park Run. Heron won in 16mins 32secs coming home 29secs ahead of Andrew Lawrence who clocked 17mins 1sec.
Alistair Douglass finished third in 17mins 19secs. Rob Morris also gained a top ten place when finishing 6th in 18mins 44secs. In the Women’s race, Ella Duffield finished second in a time of 22mins 59secs, crossing the line in 42nd position overall. The winner was Janine Routledge of Heaton who recorded 20mins 47secs.
Mark Snowball was more successful at Gibside, winning by exactly a minute on this tough course, in a time of 18mins 29secs.
Rob Morris also ran at the Derwentside Hellhole 10km Multi Terrain event at Stanley. He finished in 4th place on the difficult course in a time of 41mins 37secs, in a race won by David Best of Blackhill Bounders in 38mins 50secs.
* Next Saturday will see the start of the cross country season proper with the first of the North Eastern Harrier League races at Wrekenton.