Morpeth Harriers and Athletic Club had a very busy and moderately successful weekend of athletics activity, mainly centred around two days of National Road Relay competitions at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, over Saturday and Sunday.
At the end of the day, however, the club had no medals to show for their efforts.
The best of the club’s performances undoubtedly belonged to their Under 13 Girls on Sunday, October 4, who made steady progress throughout all of their three 3.86k legs to finish in a well earned 12th place out of 59 complete teams.
Lily Heaton began proceedings well on Leg One when she came home in 17th place, clocking the 34th equal time of the competition of 15m31s, and was only just under a minute adrift of the leaders.
Although losing a little time on the leaders, second leg runner Rhiannon Hedley stuck to the task of improving the placing, and won back a place as she got round in 16m00s, a time that eventually emerged as 59th equal fastest in the competition.
On the final leg, Holly Peck certainly performed well by clawing back four places with her energetic clocking of 15m23s, which proved to be the tenth fastest of the leg, and 28th equal fastest in the competition.
The squad’s combined efforts saw them finish with a total time of 46m54s, which was just under two minutes adrift of some minor medals.
Winners of the Under 13 Girls’ event were a very strong Wreake and Soar Valley AC, who clocked 44m38s.
Morpeth Harriers Under 13 Girls were also very creditably the fourth from the North of England behind Salford Harriers, who finished seventh.
The other Morpeth Harriers Young Athletes squad competing on Sunday were their Under 17 Men, who finished 21st out of 53 finishing clubs.
On a very competitive first leg, Kieran Hedley came home in 29th place in a time of 12m51s over his 3.86k leg, which eventually would emerge as 55th fastest overall.
Things changed quite dramatically however for Morpeth on the second leg, when Scott Beattie clawed back a mammoth 15 places by clocking the fourth fastest time of the leg of 12m08s, which also proved to be the 14th fastest of the competition.
Despite clocking 14m00s on the final leg, Jacob Hopkins surrendered seven places to faster competitors around him, who had obviously been saved for a final challenge.
Morpeth Harriers Under 17 Men finished in a total time of 39m00s, and were fifth club from the North of England behind ninth placed Rotherham.
They were also just under three minutes adrift of the minor medals.
Winners of the Under 17 Men’s competition were Tonbridge, who clocked a total finishing time of 35m51s.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Men returned to the scene of their winning success in the National 12 Stage Road Relay in April on Saturday, October 3, with only one of their squad from six months ago remaining, to do battle in the annual 6 Stage event.
Only Chris Smith remained from the aforementioned squad, and he was the fastest in a much weakened team than the club would have wished to put out, due mainly to other events, holidays and injuries.
All of those who stood in for absentees, some at the last minute, did their best to finish in a well accomplished 38th place, later promoted to 37th at the expense of Reading AC, who having finished 22nd, found themselves disqualified in the judges’ room due to an on-course error by their final leg runner.
The event began tentatively for Morpeth when first leg runner Thomas Straughan unfortunately picked up a thigh strain during proceedings and struggled home in 47th place, posting a finishing time for the 5.85k course of 18m47s.
Leg two saw Chris Smith make significant improvement, clawing back 11 places as he got round the course in 18m32s.
Another six places were won by third leg runner Sam Hancox, whose personal clocking of 18m44s brought the Morpeth squad to the half-way point, around three minutes adrift of the medals.
More improvement in terms of places was achieved on Karl Taylor’s fourth leg as he took his club up to 27th place, clocking 18m47s.
Leg Five saw Elliot Kelly enter the fray, who with his clocking of 20m00s, resolutely did not surrender a place as he handed over to his club’s final leg runner Paul Waterston.
Waterston, managed to get round the circuit in a time of 21m06s, finishing 38th, and in a total finishing time of 1hr55m56s, later to be promoted to 37th because of Reading’s disqualification.
Finishing four places ahead of Morpeth were North East rivals Tyne Bridge Harriers, who clocked 1hr55m06s.
For once the best North East performers on the day were Gateshead Harriers, who having started very brightly courtesy of Lewis Moses finishing 13th in 17m49s, settled back to finish 23rd in 1hr52m48s, later to be elevated to 22nd courtesy of the Reading disqualification.
The only other North East club on view were Jarrow and Hebburn, who unfortunately had only travelled to Sutton Park with four athletes.
Event winners were Tonbridge, who clocked a total time of 1hr47m24s, and were totally the surprise package of the day as their B team finished tenth.
Morpeth Harriers Senior Men emerged as 11th from the North of England on the day, and the only connection to be made with winners Tonbridge is that both clubs were founded in the same year, 1947. Although Morpeth Harriers had entered a Senior Women’s squad for their 4 Stage Relay, they did not travel to contest the event.