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Having already run an Under 23 5k European qualifying time last month, Morpeth Harrier Rory Leonard continued his fine run of spring form with a new personal best in the 1500m at Saturday night’s BMC Grand Prix meeting at Stretford, Manchester.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 9:40 am
Jess and Ed Gardiner compare notes at the weekend.

Finishing sixth overall, Leonard clocked 3 minutes 44.75 seconds and later shared his feelings on Twitter at also being invited to June’s Muller Olympic trials in Manchester over both the 1500m and 5000m:

‘From my first race at school four and a half years ago to being invited to the 2021 Olymmpic trials…Feels weird, quite cool,’ he posted.

Elsewhere over the weekend, several Morpeth Harriers travelled down the A19 to take part in the latest NECAA Open Track and Field meeting at Middlesbrough Sports Village.

Two athletes getting down to the job in hand despite a cool breeze and a long programme were brother and sister Ed and Jess Gardiner. Primarily Hammer specialists, the two KEVI sixth formers took on the challenge for the afternoon of the Discus.

Competing for once in the same pool of the competition, older sibling Jess – who had competed in Hull in near monsoon competitions only the previous day in an England Athletics Invitational Event – was able to encourage and support younger brother Ed to an on the day victory and a huge new personal best of 31.15 metres, despite it being his first outing with the heavier 1.5 kg implement.

The throw saw him placed as the highest ranked North East thrower for his age group and also put him in the top twenty for that age in the UK.

Not to be outdone, Jess threw 32.16 m with the 1kg disc, a season’s best throw, to also record a victory.

Another Harrier with a successful afternoon was Under 20 Triple Jumper Charlotte Earl. Winning the competition by some 80cm from her nearest rival Libby Currie of New Marske, Charlotte managed a best of 10.72m.

Fellow jumper Abbie Ross was similarly victorious, this time in the Long Jump, with a best of 4.74m in the U20s.

On the track there were wins for both Joe Close and Will de Vere-Owen in their respective 1500m heats.

Former Border Harrier Close took a remarkable 12 seconds off his previous best for the distance with a time of 4m 36.10s, winning by over six seconds from his nearest rival.

De Vere-Owen recorded his victory in 4:20:12, winning by a smaller margin of some two seconds.

Club colleague Liam Roche was 5th in the same heat, but did record a new pb of 4:23:52. Will’s younger sister Molly finished sixth in her heat in her first ever outing over the distance.

The fastest heat of the afternoon saw Senior Ali Douglas come in in 4th place in 4:03:36, not far off his best ever time for the distance, and U/17 Bertie Marr take four seconds off his previous best time when finishing 12th in 4:19:94.

Morpeth Harriers are supporting a scheme to ‘recycle your running shoes.’

Anyone wanting to donate their old shoes, for use in Kenya and Uganda, should contact Richard Hunter directly via Facebook.