Three gold medals for Morpeth in relay races
Winning medals in four out of the five competitions with three of those medals gold, Morpeth Harriers were a dominant force at the Signals Relays on Saturday afternoon at Hetton-le-Hole.
In the O50s race, Morpeth men won ahead of Noirth Shields and Sunderland with the triumphant team of Guy Bracken, Rob Hancox, Alistair Macdonald, and Lee Bennett,
In the Senior Women’s race Cat Macdonald, Kate Gaffing,Millie Breese and Rachelle Falloon won with a total time of 52:54., some 45 seconds ahead of second place Jarrow and Hebburn with Gateshead Harriers in third.
While overall numbers were definitely down for Race 2, the Senior and Over 40’s Men’s race saw Morpeth up against traditional rivals Sunderland and Gateshead Harriers. Matthew Briggs, Ali Douglas, Tom Straughan, Phil Winkler, Dan Melling and Ross Floyd had a cumulative time of 1:06:18 with Sunderland Harriers a distant second in 1:08:43 and Gateshead third (1:08:52).
The Senior Men’s race was also notable for a complete team of Mike Bateman coached U17 and U 18 athletes. With Will de Vere Owen on leg 1 (11:10), Bertie Marr on leg 2 (11:35), Joe Dixon (11:26) on leg 3, Liam Roche (12:05) on 4, Joe Anderson (11:50) on 5 and James Tilley (12:15) completing the team, this was a highly impressive outing by the teen tyros, who even got themselves up in to second at one point, and shows the future remains bright for the club. Their final overall time of 1:10:21 put them in 5th place, a tremendous achievement.
A further Morpeth Senior team featured Richard Johnson on leg 1 (11:32), Tom Innes on 2 (11:34), Mark Snowball on 3 (11:55) – having been unable to resist completing the Carlisle Park parkrun at 9 the same morning - and Jake Parmley on 4 (12:38). It was made up with a couple of Vets, Andrew Richardson in his first ever Signals, 13:47 on 5, and O/60 Paul Bellingham (14:49), who willingly stepped out of the Over 50s to make up a complete team.
Finishing in a respectable 1:16:15, the team still placed just outside the top ten in 11th place overall.
The Over 40s competition is run in conjunction with the Seniors over six legs, and was won by Darlington Harriers in 1:15:36 with John Clifford running the fastest O/40 leg of 11:26.
Sunderland Harriers were pipped by Darlington into second place, but there was a further medal for Morpeth with an excellent bronze in the competition despite the absence of some of the club’s leading Vets.
After early legs by Eric Adams (14:05) and Jamie Johnson (13:39), John Butters, another athlete in excellent shape having, like Bennett, won his category at Watergate, got the club into medal contention with a flying 11:42, the second fastest O/40 time of the day.
Back competing for the club after a number of years watching sons Dylan and Ryan, prosper, Mark Davies ran 13:42 on leg 4 with O/50 Jason Dawson another runner stepping down on leg 5 (13:18).
Graeme Thorpe finished the count with 12:55 for a cumulative total of 1:19:21 and a medal that was very much the icing on the cake.