Trip denies Leonard a silver medal in 3000m race at Bedford

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Rory Leonard of Morpeth Harriers was only a few strides away from an England Athletics silver medal, when he was sensationally tripped at the weekend.

Leonard was clipped by Swansea Harrier Conor Smith as the pair raced for the finish in the 3000m at the combined U20/U23 Track and Field Championships held at Bedford County Stadium on Saturday.

The Morpeth runner always held a front running position in the seven and a half lap event and was very much in control of things at the bell, going away from eventual winner James Vincent of Cardiff with 300m remaining.

As the finish straight was reached Leonard dug deeply as Vincent challenged.

Vincent came wide as the finish line beckoned, eventually kicking away for gold.

Meanwhile, Leonard kept a true line remaining on the edge of lane one, but with around 15m remaining, Smith went for the narrowest of gaps close to the inside, and clipped the heels of Leonard, which brought the pair of them to the floor, ruining the chances of a medal for either of them.

Unfortunately, the proximity of others around them meant that they lost vital places, despite being able to pick themselves up, otherwise unscathed.

Whilst Smith ran through to finish fifth in 9m16.0s, Leonard finished sixth in 9m16.9s, disappointingly and frustratingly left to rue his lost chance.

Thankfully for Leonard, no injury was sustained, and he will live to fight another day, in a season that up to now, has been going very well.

* North of England Senior Men’s 800m Champion James Young of Morpeth Harriers proved beyond all doubt that he is in a rich vein of form, as he produced a brand new personal best performance in the 1500m C Race at the BMC Gold Standard Meeting, held at Stretford, Manchester, on Tuesday, only a mere 48 hours following his gold medal achievement.

He posted a superb time of 3m50.92s, to win by four seconds from Liverpool Harrier Daniel Preston.

* Morpeth Harrier Scott Beattie further improved his 1500m best at the Watford Gold Standard meeting on Wednesday.

The Tulsa University student has tackled the three and three-quarter lap event on no less than four occasions since early April and has improved his best by around three seconds from 2017, as he clocked 3m49.68s, when finishing sixteenth in a top-class A race field, that were led home by Cambridge and Coleridge athlete Kieran Wood, who clocked 3m44.19s.

* For the second year in succession Morpeth Harrier Jane Hodgson won the Women’s title at the annual Newburn River Run, which was run on a slightly modified course, due to a recent flooding problem, in and around the traditional course route.

As in 2017, Hodgson, who on the previous Saturday finished third in the annual Blaydon Race, set not exactly a million miles away from the Newburn route, once again finished in thirteenth place overall, posting a time of 35m37s, which was around a minute faster than 12 months previous, although on this occasion, the course may well have been slightly shorter due to the modifications.

Hodgson was actually fourth overall home from Morpeth, only being headed by Ian Harding (2nd) 31m29s, Jordan Scott (3rd) 31m45s, and Matthew Boyle (11th) 35m26s, all excellent performances indeed.

The event had 294 finishers, that also included another nine athletes from the ranks of Morpeth Harriers.

Other results as follows: -

Mike Winter (49th) (8th O/45 Man) 39m40s, Paul Banks (51st) (9th O/45 Man) 39m47s, James Johnson (54th) (10th O/40 Man) 40m08s, Richard Kirby (85th) (16th O/45 Man) 41m59s, Lindsay Turnbull (104th) (11th Woman) (3rd O/45 Woman) 43m22s,

Helen King (105th) (12th Woman) (1st O/40 Woman) 43m22s, Jane Kirby (202nd) (35th Woman) (5th O/40 Woman) 51m43s, Clare Walker (203rd) (36th Woman) (6th O/40 Woman) 51m43s, and Carol Parry (204th) (6th O/45 Woman) 51m43s.

* Three Morpeth Harriers took part in the Podium 5k Road Race, held at Barrowford, near Burnley in Lancashire, on Friday.

Mhairi MacLennan was first in the Women’s event, posting a time of 16m11s.

In the Men’s Race, George Lowry finished second in 14m53s, and Nick McCormick finished fifth in 15m11s.

Lowry took seven seconds off his previous 5k figures, MacLennan improved her best by a massive 69 seconds, and for McCormick, he took 15 seconds off the time he did in the event in March.