Rain can’t halt Harriers from striding onward

DESPITE severe rainstorms which lashed the region during the previous week, organisers of the annual Tynedale 10k Road Race managed to raise a smile when their race went ahead as planned on Wednesday, July 4, writes George Patterson.

It was achieved by a great deal of goodwill being exercised between organisers and competitors and in the end 515 finishers managed to complete the tough and testing course between Ovingham and Wylam.

Morpeth Harriers athletes were well to the fore and they achieved success by winning the Women’s team race ahead of Blyth and Heaton, while their Men finished third behind Tyne Bridge Harriers and Wallsend Harriers. Triumphant was Jane Hodgson, who won the Women’s event by placing 31st overall in 37m25s and led her club to the team title, with good supporting runs by Joanne Brown (seventh Woman, 85th and first Over 40 Woman) in 40m27s and Kate Chapman (ninth Woman and 90th) in 40m40s.

In the Men’s race, Morpeth were led home by Neil Wilkinson, who was second Over 40 Veteran Man when finishing fourth overall in 34m08s. He was supported in the team effort by Michael Thomsen (ninth) in 35m02s, and Phil Walker (19th and third O/45) in 36m17s.

Other Morpeth Harriers results were as follows: Tom Brookes (28th) 37m07s, Gordon Dixon (29th and first O/50) 37m17s, Matthew Boyle (33rd) 37m52s, Sam Hancox (50th) 38m48s, Mike Winter (53rd and 15th O/40) 38m57s, Rob Hancox (68th and 11th O/45) 39m39s, Jim Alder (88th and seventh O/50) 40m35s, Hamish McCallister-Williams (97th and ninth O/50) 41m08s, Richard Sill (136th and first O/55) 42m56s, Jane Briggs (137th and third O/40 Woman) 43m00s, Mike Steven (153rd and fourth O/55) 43m45s, Marie Drozdowicz (234th and first O/50 Woman) 47m12s, and Eric Adams (490th) 63m59s.

• Another event which organisers managed to successfully complete was the 56th annual Chevy Chase Fell Race, which took place at Wooler on Saturday.

Recent weather meant that organisers were forced into finding a safer routing for the 20-mile enduring tough course through the Cheviots and 142 competitors managed to complete, including four from Morpeth Harriers.

First home for the club was former World Fell representative Nick Swinburn, who managed to finish fifth in 1h58m32s. Next came John Butters, who was 40th in 2h37m22s.

Mike Steven battled well to finish 57th in 2h48m51s, and was eighth in his Over 50 age category. First home in the Over 50 Woman category was Morpeth’s Marie Drozdowicz, who was 81st overall in 3h03m05s.

• Four Morpeth Harriers travelled to Stretford in Manchester on Saturday to compete in the latest in the series of BMC Grand Prix meetings.

Ashley Gibson ran extremely well in the Women’s 1500m A race to record a new personal best of 4m18.72s when finishing a close fourth behind Shaftesbury Barnet’s Amy Campbell.

In the Men’s 1500m A race, Jonny Taylor finished seventh behind Stockport’s Ross Millington, the UK 5000m Champion, and was just outside his personal best when clocking 3m42.57s.

Fellow Harriers Matthew Nicholson and Lewis Timmins finished ninth and eighth in the respective 1500m B and E events, with clockings of 3m51.33s and 3m56.78s.

• Morpeth Harriers Ryan Green and Phil Winkler represented Northumberland at the Sainsbury’s English Schools Track and Field Championships held at Gateshead’s International Stadium on Friday and Saturday.

While Winkler went out in the heats of the Intermediate Boys’ 800m with his clocking of 2m04.24s, up against boys a year older, Green managed to get into the final of the Junior Boys’ 800m with his lifetime second best clocking of 2m02.82s, which placed him second in his heat.

Unfortunately in the final, he suffered a strained hamstring during the early stages and was forced to pull out after completing one lap of the two lap event.

• This coming Saturday, the new Morpeth Athletics Track at King Edward VI School sees its first event, with the Northumberland Athletics Network hosting an inter-club competition involving its members – Morpeth Harriers, Alnwick Harriers, Blyth Running Club and Tynedale Harriers.

The event gets under way at 1pm, and there are track races over 200m, 1500m, 800m, 100m, and 4x100m for Under 13, Under 15, and Under 17 athletes of both genders, plus there are field events covering shot, javelin, long jump and high jump for the same age groups.

Clubs are allowed four athletes in each age group, however there will be places available for additional non scoring athletes. Full details of the event can be found on the Harriers website – www.morpethharriers.freeservers.com