Athletes shine on return
Competitive athletics finally returned to the north east last Saturday with a match between athletes from Morpeth Harriers, Blyth Running Club and North Shields Polytechnic (NSP) Harriers.
Held at Morpeth under strict UK Athletics Covid-19 guidance, competition was limited to a small number of events featuring around 70 athletes.
For all distances over 100m there could only be three in each race, while throwers repeatedly sanitised and cleaned equipment.
The outstanding performance of the meeting was by senior Craig Charlton, the Scottish indoor champion, in the shot with a personal best of 16.93m, which keeps him in third place in the UK rankings.
James Wordsworth, of NSP, last year's English Schools Athletics Association U17s discus champion, recorded a personal best shot of 15.12m and then bagged a personal best of 46.54m in the discus.
Morpeth’s Edward Gardiner (U15s) celebrated a personal best of 28.08m in the discus and not to be outdone, big sister Jessica (U17s) threw well in both discus (32.88m) and hammer (44.02m), falling just short of her lifetime bests.
Morpeth’s Amy Lott (U17s) registered a massive personal best of 37.13m in the hammer. She also ran personal bests in the 200m (27.3s) and 100m (13.2s). Amy is the Scottish 60m hurdles champion and ranked fifth in the UK, but moved up to try the U20s 100m hurdles for the first time ever. Her time of 15.5s was just 0.2s outside the ESAA qualifier for next summer.
The fastest times of the day were run by Matthew Waterfield of Morpeth, last season's ESAA 400m champion, who clocked 11.3s in the 100m and 22.7s in the 200m.
The fastest senior woman was Jessica Young-Rogers, also of Morpeth, with 12.8s for the 100m and 25.9s for the 200m, just outside her best. Also in the senior ranks there were personal bests for both Lynsey Storey and Laura Kincaid in the 100m.
Veteran over-45 sprinter Trevor Hodgson ran a very good 12.8s for 100m.
In the U15s 75m hurdles Hannah Lott, last season's Scottish U13s champion, and Saveena Mullin, only U13, both ran the U15 hurdles for the first time ever, recording respectable times of 15.5s and 13.9s to go to Power of 10.
Credit for the whole day is especially due to Morpeth track and field coach Dave Thomas, without whose tireless efforts and dedication – not least in dealing with a veritable Everest of paperwork for track and trace – the meeting would never have gone ahead.