Two team bronze for Harriers at the NE XC
Two team bronze medals and three top ten individual finishes were the headline results for Morpeth Harriers at the North of England Cross Country Championships on Saturday.
The event was held for the first time in the rural setting of the Camp Hill Estate in Bedale, North Yorkshire.
Robyn Bennett’s ninth place finish in the Junior Women’s 6.2km race was an early highlight, finishing in a time of 23 minutes, 42 seconds.
Younger brother Rowan was able to go one better shortly afterwards in the under-17 competition, not only finishing in seventh place but leading the under-17 team to a fine bronze medal behind winners Vale Royal AC and local rivals Houghton Harriers.
Bennett was supported by Dylan Gooding in 35th, Dylan Davies in 51st and Tom Balsdon 57th, all delighted to pick up a team bronze.
There was a matching medal in the u-15 boys. This time it was Joe Dixon, just outside the top ten in 11th position, who was first home, with supporting runs courtesy of Dylan’s younger brother Ryan (15th), Sam Tate (46th) and Liam Roche (64th).
The club’s junior men’s squad were unfortunate in narrowly missing out on a third medal, finishing in fourth place behind Preston Harriers, Chesterfield AC and Vale Royal. Kieran Hedley, who has looked stronger with every race run over the last month, was back first for the club in 18th with Taylor Glover and Dan Melling 27th and 28th.
The longest and final race of the day was the Senior Men’s 12.3k over three laps and through several challenging sections.
An early group of four that featured last year’s champion, Morpeth’s Carl Avery, along with Joe Steward of East Cheshire Harriers, Linton Taylor of Leeds City and Gateshead’s Calum Johnson, quickly formed at the front and it was clear that the medals would be between these four.
It was only on the last lap that Johnson - who Avery had beaten convincingly at Alnwick before Christmas, but who was perhaps finding the conditions more to his liking - finally made the decisive move.
He pulled away to win by a margin of some 16 seconds from Steward and Taylor, with Avery left in perhaps the worst position to finish fourth.