The annual cross country relays held at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy in Birtley on Sunday morning were again a happy hunting ground for Morpeth Harriers, with the club retaining the Senior Men’s trophy they won last year and finishing second in the Senior Women’s.
With the competition incorporating once the North East Masters Athletics Association relays, there were also team medals in the Over 55 and Over 45 men’s races.
Perhaps the most exciting of the day’s three races was the final Senior Men’s, which saw a very close competition between teams from Morpeth and Tyne Bridge.
The B team of Joe Armstrong, Kieran Hedley and Liam Roarty led for a large section of the race, but they were eventually overhauled by the A Team of Taylor Glover, Ross Floyd and Alex Brown on the final leg, who eventually took the tape and the gold medal.
Tyne Bridge were second with the Morpeth B Team taking a very creditable third and bronze medals.
In the NEMAA Men’s Masters relays Morpeth’s Over 45 A team of Jamie Johnson (12:11), Jason Dawson (12:23) and Lee Bennett (11:41) picked up a bronze medal and were 13th overall.
The Over 55 Men’s team were once again victorious for the third year running in their category, claiming a team gold thanks to the efforts of Tim Miley (12:32), Paul Bellingham (13:18) and Neil Macanany (12:57).
Leading Over 65 Dave Nicholson was unfortunate not to have a team in his category around him,but did have the consolation of running the fastest category time of the day (12:31).
Second race of the day was the Senior and Veteran Women’s race. In the first leg Morpeth’s young Robyn Bennett was second in 12:05.
Lindsay Quinn (13:13) soon took the lead for Morpeth on leg two, but she was hunted down by one of two young Birtley AC runners who put the host club into pole position at the end of the leg.
It was down to O/35 veteran Jane Hodgson to try and reel her in on the last leg. Despite clocking 11:51 the gap was just too great, howeve,r and the team had to settle for a commendable silver.
The club’s veteran women’s team of Sue Smith (15:34), Frances Naylor (17:54) and Jill Bennett (16:01) placed 44th and eighth O/45 team.