through Tranwell and Tranwell Woods on Tuesday 6th August 2019.
Won in a time of 32 minutes and 35 seconds by Jordan Bell of Blackhill Bounders with Hannah Wood of Low Fell Running Club first woman home (37m 42s), this year’s race was sponsored for the first time by Bellway and also featured for the first time on the popular RunBritain website run by British Athletics. In addition, the North East Counties Athletics Association 10k road championships were incorporated into the race which included competitors from clubs as far North as Gala Harriers and as far South as Coventry Godiva.
A brisk first lap saw a leading group of Bell, David Green of North Shields Polytechnic and Morpeth Harriers Karl Taylor and Tom Innes quickly established at the front of the race. It was on the second lap, however, when Bell put his foot down and quickly took time out of his rivals, soon establishing a clear gap on the second lap through Tranwell Woods.
Watched by his father Stewy, a longstanding Blackhill Bounder and himself a multiple NECAA winner, Bell finished strongly and his lead over second place Green was 30 seconds by the end of the race. Taylor was third in 33m 27s, having just got away from Innes who did have the consolation of running a big personal best of 33m 36s however.
While this was the first time for many years that Morpeth could not provide a race winner on home turf, the club did however have the consolation of finishing clearly ahead in the four man team competition, with teenager Matthew Briggs running a pb of 35m 1s to finish 7th and the final counter Lee Bennett, 11th in 35m 31s and 1st Over 50 male. NSP finished as 2nd men’s team.
In the woman’s race, meanwhile, it was a similar story with another runner from south of the Tyne taking the honours. A comparative newcomer to the sport, Low Fell’s Hannah Wood had, like Bell, broken away from a lead group featuring veteran Stephanie Maclean-Dann of NSP and Morpeth’s Robyn Bennett on the second lap and finished with a lead of well over a minute by the end, with Maclean-Dann 2nd in 38m 55s and Bennett 3rd in 39m 10s.
Again there was a winning team prize for Morpeth, however, with Bennett supported by
Lorna Macdonald, 4th in 39m 40s, Tayla Murdy – who ran a pb of 44m 28s – and Lindsey Quinn, 23rd in 47m 11s, another pb. NSP were once more 2nd team home.
Other Morpeth finishers included: Matthew Boyle, 16th in 37m; Will Clark, 39th in 39m 12s; Richard Castledine, making a long-awaited return to competition, 42nd in 39m 20s; Paul Waterston, 55th in 40m 12s; Gary Mason, running a big pb with 42m 30s; Paul Bellingham, 105th in 44m 43s and Stephen Johnstone 106th in 44m 51s; Jennifer Belton, 147th overall in 48m 12s; Nobby Clark, 162nd in 49m 10s and Sarah Routledge, 177th in 50m 29s.
While the inclement conditions made watching a challenge for spectators, it certainly didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of later runners, with 243 runners finishing the 6.2 mile/10k course in under the hour and the final two finishers in 260th and 261st clocking 77 minutes.
NECAA Championship medals were presented to the first three men and first three women post race by Bill McGurk, Chairman of NECAA and a generous range of 10k prizes by Emma Chesterton of Bellway, whose sponsorship of the race recognized its importance to the local community.
The club are grateful for the generous support of their lead sponsor but also to their additional sponsors: Piramal Healthcare, who also provided free use of their parking facilities; Coca Cola Enterprises, who also supplied the smartwater at the finish; Chris Dentice of Stanton Hall Gardens; and Phil Walker Wealth Management.
In addition, Morpeth Town FC kindly provided use of their facilities for registration and prize-giving,
and Pegasus RDA the use of their toilet facilities.
A big note of appreciation on behalf of the club to Kevin Bray who worked tirelessly as race director and who faced the added pressure of assessment by RunBritain on the night.
Also to all the many members who turned out to marshal,
man water stations, officiate and help out on the night.