Several Morpeth Harriers featured at the first meeting in the 2015-16 Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League series, held at Tanfield, County Durham, on Saturday.
Sam Hancox, Kieran Hedley, Ross Charlton, Taylor Glover, Ben Walker, Dylan Davies, Holly Peck and Lily Heaton were all among the star performers.
It was also a day when the club also enjoyed seeing their under-15 boys achieve a team win and no fewer than three second-team places.
Their senior men finished third in the division 1 team challenge behind Sunderland Harriers and last season’s champions, Tyne Bridge Harriers.
The senior men were led home by a delighted young Sam Hancox, who, in doing so, also achieved his first-ever individual Harrier League medal for finishing third, behind Sunderland Harrier Michael Edwards, who was leading his club to team victory.
Running from the medium pack, Hancox was only a mere 27 seconds away from outright victory himself, and he was sixth fastest in a starting field of more than 600 runners, a record in itself for the senior men’s event. Some 590 actually completed the course, and further Morpeth Harriers team support on the day came from Sam’s father, Rob, who also had a superb run to finish 18th from the slow pack.
Two places behind Rob, and also running from the sSlow pack was new signing Mark Cockburn, who unfortunately is still not able to count in team competition following his transfer from neighbours Alnwick Harriers. Nevertheless, it was good that he should crown his first outing for the club with an excellent performance, and he looks to have plenty to offer for the future.
Next counter for Morpeth was the diehard Paul Waterston, who seems to thrive on the cross-country circuit, and he ran well to finish 24th from the slow pack. Fourth counter for Morpeth was Mark Snowball, who finished 30th from the medium pack.
Clocking the fourth fastest time of the day, Morpeth’s fifth counter was Thomas Straughan, who came through from the fast pack to finish in 36th place.
The club’s scoring count for third team place was completed by Tim Miley, who finished 64th from the slow pack.
Kieran Hedley had an absolutely outstanding run to win the under-17 men’s race from the slow pack, earning a Harrier League individual gold medal.
Running steadily in the first half, he gradually made his way to the front, and at halfway, he took the lead, which he maintained throughout the second lap, clocking the fastest time of the day, posting a winning margin of 39 seconds over his closest rivals, Cameron Stainsby and Cameron Allen, both of Durham City Harriers, who won the under-17 men’s team race ahead of second-placed Morpeth.
Hedley was very ably supported in the club’s team efforts by Adam Shewry and Josh Burton, who both produced good runs to finish eighth and 11th respectively from the slow pack.
Morpeth’s Ross Charlton certainly made his mark in his first under-15 boys’ Harrier League outing, by finishing second from the slow pack, and helped himself to an individual silver medal.
He also led his club to a superb team victory on the day, with further good supporting runs coming from Jordan Hedgecock (6th) (slow pack), and Daniel Melling (10th) (slow pack).
Another outstanding run for Morpeth in the under-15 boys’ event came from Taylor Glover.
Although not actually counting in the winning three, Glover nevertheless achieved his own moment of glory by clocking the second fastest time on the day, finishing 14th from the fast pack.
Morpeth under-13 boys finished second to Durham City in their team race.
They were led home by Ben Walker, who finished a close second, only losing out for individual victory by 10 seconds.
Running from the slow pack, Walker was ninth fastest in the race, and he collected an individual silver medal for his efforts.
Further excellent team support came from Dylan Davies, who finished fourth from the slow pack, and Jack Barrett, who, in his first Harrier League outing, finished 21st from the slow pack.
Not far behind Jack was club colleague Thomas Cunningham, who ran well to finish in 24th place overall from the fast pack, with his time being the seventh equal fastest in the race.
Other Morpeth Harriers’ performances in the under-13 boys’ event came from Joshua Adams (43rd) (slow pack), Aaron Haldane (52nd) (slow pack), and Reece Garrett (61st) (slow pack).
Holly Peck and Lily Heaton both produced excellent runs for Morpeth in the under-13 girls’ event, which saw the club finish a very close second to Birtley AC, only losing out for team victory by a mere point.
Peck and Heaton, both running from the fast pack, clocked the fastest and second fastest times of the day, when finishing 10th and 11th respectively.
Completing the Morpeth scoring trio was Rhiannon Hedley, who finished 18th from the fast pack, clocking the seventh fastest time of the day.
Morpeth under-17/under-20 women’s squad finished as fourth team in their event.