Conditions far from ideal for the senior runners
By the time the club’s Senior Women, competing in the event for the first time in a while, were ready to race the course had cut up badly for the 127 teams taking part.
On the always crowded leg 1, Michelle Thompson came home in 12:44 with Josie Cram, back in competitive action after a long period of injury, having a good run in a time of 12:02, moving the team up to 50th.
Last leg runner Rachelle Falloon, who had struggled all week with a debilitating virus and was unfortunately nowhere near her best, still managed to get round in 12:12 and the team therefore finished in a more than respectable 36th position in a time of 36:5. Aldershot and Farnham won the race in 31:09 with Leeds City in 2nd and Cambridge and Coleridge 3rd.
Biggest field of the day was in the Senior Men’s race, with nearly 200 teams in all. At the front of the race, it was once more an apparently unbeatable Leeds City – surely the strongest club in the country at present – winning in a time of 1 hour 5 minutes 14 seconds with Cambridge and Coleridge in 2nd and Bedford and County 3rd.
Missing leading runner and cross country specialist Carl Avery, Morpeth’s A team did well however to make a top ten finish like their Junior counterparts. They were also second team from the North of England behind Leeds City.
Chris Parr got the club off to a strong start, running 16:24 for 13th place and Sam Hancox moved them up to 7th with a super 17:01. George Lowry’s 17:23 saw them drop just one place and youngster Alex Brown, fast becoming a veteran of national championships, again showed he was in no way overawed by the quality of the field around him, holding on to a top ten place with 17:30.
The final time of 1 hour 8 minutes was less than two minutes off a bronze medal with the team finishing in a final position of 9th.
The B team of Joe Armstrong (17:37), Phil Winkler (18:06), Ali Douglas and Jordan Scott were most unfortunate in that Douglas’ chip failed to register on completion of his leg, and so the team’s final time was not recorded .
Given the atrocious conditions, both the performances and the commitment from all who travelled were exemplary.