Snowball takes the tape in the Kielder 10k race

The week’s athletics was dominated by marathons, with the annual Kielder Marathon weekend taking place in the West of our county while Sunday saw the return of the Virgin Money London Marathon to the capital.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 1:18 pm
Mark Snowball winning the Kielder 10k race on Saturday.

The Kielder Marathon weekend has steadily grown in scale and now offers a wide range of different sporting challenges, with an individual and team Run – Bike – Run event on the Saturday along with a 10km race which has grown in popularity. Sunday sees both Half and Full Marathon events take place, as well as Junior races.

Conditions were poor on Saturday for the 600-plus field in the 10k, but the weather couldn’t deter Morpeth’s Mark Snowball, who took a fine victory with a time of 35:45. Snowball’s nearest challenge came ironically from his twin brother Chris, the ex Ashington Hirst runner, now competing for Wakefield AC, chasing him all the way with a time of 36:37. O45 John Butters confessed to struggling with the cold but still came home in fourth in 38:18.

Morpeth’s Laura Mclean was 128th and 32nd female finisher in 54:41.

Sunday’s runners were grateful that conditions had improved for the day’s Half and Full Marathon events. Remarkably, after his previous day’s exertions, John Butters put himself on the start line once again and this time had a much better outing, coming home in second place overall in a time of 1:18:33 behind race winner David Holmes who clocked 1:16:39. The field of 634 proved the half marathon to be the most popular event.

Louise Burt, Morpeth’s only representative, was 214th and 50th female finisher, just outside the two hour mark in 2:00:10.

The full marathon was won by a runner from Keswick AC, Russell Maddams, who made it back in under three hours with a time of 2:54:25. Regular participant Morpeth’s Andy Hebden, though very short of training, still managed to finish in 13th place overall in 3:16:45.

Further down the field, 2011 race winner Jane Hodgson trotted round with her brother and ex Morpeth RUFC first team skipper Paul Mooney, the two finishing together in 4:39:52.

Meanwhile there was another winner for Morpeth Harriers, with Sophie Pledger coming home first in the U11 1.5 km event in a time of 5:06.

There were some 36,000 finishers in Sunday’s London Marathon.

There were only two Morpeth Harriers who took part this year, experienced O40 Gary Jones finishing in 2:52:33 for 1211th place, and Paul Banks (O/50), 2426th in 3:03:10.

Three of Morpeth’s talented young athletes were also chosen to run for the North East in the British Road Racing Championships for young athletes.

An inter-area competition, this is held at the same time as the London Borough Challenge and run over a much shorter distance of 2.6 miles.

Will de Vere Owen was 25th and third counter for the NE in the U17 men in a time of 7:41. An under the weather Millie Breese was 40th and fourth counter for the matching U17 women in 9:05 and Joe Close 51st and fourth counter in 8:39 in the U15 boys race.