Morpeth men eighth in national road relays
A combative team performance from Morpeth Harriers’ Senior Men’s squad saw them finish in the top ten at the National Six Stage Road Relays, held at Sutton Park, Birmingham on a blustery Sunday afternoon.
Posting an overall time of 1 hour 48 minutes and 52 seconds, the team finished in eighth place overall, their highest team placing in the competition for a number of years.
The relay, which draws together the leading running clubs from all over England and Wales, was won by an apparently unstoppable Leeds City AC in a time of 1:44:46, although the lead at the front had changed hands between no less than five clubs during the race, including Newham and Essex Beagles, Aldershot Farnham and District, Cambridge and Coleridge AC and Cardiff, with Leeds only coming out finally on top on the last leg.
Sam Hancox got Morpeth’s challenge under way on leg 1, always a fiercely contested one, and his clocking of 18:05 saw them in 27th place. In his first outing in a Morpeth vest, new recruit Chris Parr, however, moved the club up some 17 places to 10th with a posting of 17:46, the third fastest for the leg.
The team slipped slightly to 16th after Phil Winkler’s 18:55 third leg, but George Lowry battled back to 12th with 18:06 on leg 4.
Youngster Alex Brown moved the team up one more place on leg 5 with 18:38, and it was left again to Carl Avery to see what he could do on the final leg.
As he had done in the Northern event, Avery once more pulled out all the stops for a flying last leg of 17:22, the second fastest clocking for leg 6 behind Graham Rush of Leeds and just outside the top ten fastest overall of the day, to move the team up a further three places into 8th, only some 3 minutes 15 seconds off a medal placing.
Competing in her first World 5000m Final in Doha on Saturday Laura Weightman performed superbly when she finished seventh in a top class field that was led home by Kenyan pre-race favourite Helen Obiri who posted a Championship record winning time of 14m26.72s.
Weightman was the second European, posting a new personal best time of 14m44.57s, and taking a whole seven seconds off her previous figures, Her next target is a third Olympic appearance in 2020.