A busy weekend of athletics centred around Sunday’s Great North Run included a good number of Morpeth Harriers in competitive action.
Sam Hancox got the weekend off to a flying start for the club early on Saturday morning by winning the Great North 5k on Newcastle Quayside in a time of 15 minutes and 29 seconds.
Buoyed by the atmosphere and good-natured crowds, Hancox was clearly elated by his performance in a high profile race of this nature, and was later flattered to receive his winner’s medal from Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba, who would finish third the following day in the women’s Great North Run behind Kenyans Priscah Jeptoo and race winner Vivian Cheruiyot.
In the following day’s men’s race — won comfortably by returning Olympic champion Mo Farah in a time of 1 hour and 4 seconds, from American Dathan Ritzenhein — Ian Hudspith was once again first home for the club, finishing as leading veteran male and 15th overall in a time of 1 hour 6 minutes 52 seconds.
Sadly, he was unable to beat the long-standing Over 45 male veteran record of Billy Venus of 1:05:40, set some 30 years ago, a record which looks like it may be around for some time yet.
Hudspith was followed by a string of leading runners from the club, with Carl Avery 31st in 1:09:31, and London-based Andy Lawrence showing he had finally put this year’s injury problems behind him by finishing 34th in a time of 1:09:31.
Ade Whitwam was another who made the journey North worthwhile when recording 1:11:28 for 40th place. Ross Floyd’s 45th place in 1:12:35 meant the club had provided five finishers in the top 50.
Other leading Morpeth times were: Simon O’Donnell, 94th in 1:16:41; Mark Snowball, 143rd in 1:18:53; Mark Brown, a remarkable 1:22:08 for 236th, now well along the recovery path after some wilderness years; Matthew Boyle, 256th in 1:22:45; and Rob Hancox, who despite a distressing last 200 yards, in which he collapsed and had to be helped over the line, still recorded 1:25:30.
• Morpeth’s Olympic Women’s 1500m finalist Laura Weightman finished fourth to fellow Olympian Laura Muir in the Women’s Mile Road Race on the Newcastle/Gateshead quayside on Saturday in the Great North City Games, held as part of the Great North Run Festival.
Weightman clocked 4m36.74s, just outpacing Scotland’s Eilish McColgan.
Meanwhile, Muir won in 4m33.99s.
• Several Morpeth Harriers were in competitive action in the annual Junior Great North Run, which was also held on the quayside on Saturday.
Best of the performers were Holly Peck, Ross Charlton, and Ben Walker.
Holly made a podium place, taking the Bronze medal in the Girls’ 13 to 14 year section, posting a time of 15m03s, behind Darlington’s India Pentland, who won Gold in 14m52s. Jarrow and Hebburn’s Sophie Robson finished second in 14m53s.
Ross Charlton finished sixth in the Boys’ 13 to 14 year race, posting a time of 13m39s.
In the Boys’ 11 to 12 year age group event, Ben Walker finished ninth in 15m10s.
In the Girls’ nine to 10 years Sophia Cunningham was 26th in 19m55s.