In that, there would be no one more pleased than Gaines, when the day eventually ended, however his day would certainly be most brightened by the very sight of Rory Leonard coming home to clinch the approximately 8.9k Championship, run by the Junior Men.
On Saturday, it was only natural that Leonard would be one of the likely favourites for victory, however being a first year Junior, and up against rivals a good year older than himself, he would certainly have to work his socks off to make it more of a reality.
He certainly did that in abundance, and it wasn’t until the final downhill that he felt confident of victory.
Prior to that, there had only been two other Morpeth National Cross-Country title holders, and they were also both Under 13 Girls, they were firstly Angie Foster in Birmingham in 1989, and Lyndsey Bradley, again in Luton, but on a different course in 1993.
who took individual Silver, with Shaftesbury’s Jeremy Dempsey a further four seconds adrift in third
place taking the individual Bronze medal.
Unfortunately, Morpeth Harriers only just missed out on team medals in the Junior Men’s event, finishing in fourth place overall, nine points adrift of third placed Reading AC, with Tonbridge winning from Cambridge and Coleridge by a margin of twenty-three points.
This was despite excellent supporting runs by Kieran Hedley (43rd), Alex Brown (50th), and Matthew Briggs (74th), in a finishing field of 201 runners, which meant that they had finished as first Northern club, ahead of Preston who were sixth, who were the Northern Champions at Pontefract.
Long term injury victim Taylor Glover is obviously a big miss to the success of this age group.
and Emile Cairess of Leeds City.
Avery, who also just lost out to Cairess in last month’s Northern Championship at Pontefract, was still determined to add another Gold Medal to the one that he had won on the very same course just over twelve months previous in the 2018 Northern Championship, so much so, that he again went to the front in the final quarter as they battled the more hillier stretches of the tough demanding circuit.
and Mahamed and Cairess made their respective moves to steal clear.
At the finish line, Mahamed took the Gold by a mere second,
adding to the Junior title that he won in London in 2018.
Meanwhile Avery hung on for the Bronze medal, twenty-nine seconds adrift,
just holding off a fast finishing John Millar of Ipswich.
Unfortunately, on the first of the two gruelling Senior Men’s laps, Morpeth lost the services
of Thomas Straughan, who was forced out with a leg strain,
and later in the event, they also lost Jordan Scott, who had been well
to the fore in the field of 2006 finishers.
in the form of Andrew Lawrence.
The club could only finish as eighteenth team behind winners Leeds City, second placed Tonbridge,
and third placed Bristol and West, with further scoring counts coming from Adam Pratt (259th),
Alistair Douglass (302nd), Phillip Winkler (317th), and Tom Innes (461st).
They were sixth from the North however, and retained their mantle as first from the region, ahead of Tyne Bridge Harriers, who were twenty second overall, and Gateshead Harriers, who were twenty ninth.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in the Senior Men’s event were Mark Snowball (476th),
David Nicholson (1053rd), and Steve Haswell (1258th).
Morpeth did well to finish as tenth team here, behind winners Invicta of Kent,
with Charnwood and Tonbridge taking the minor team medals.
Nevertheless, Morpeth were second from the North to Trafford AC,
who were one place and twenty-four points ahead of them.
Finishing in 52nd place, Daniel Melling led the Morpeth squad home, just one place,
and a mere second ahead of club colleague Rowan Bennett, with Tom Balsdon (104th),
and Lewis Eke (163rd), completing the Morpeth scoring tally.
Lewis, who has been putting a great deal of effort into his training without competing,
did extremely well in the 272 strong field of finishers.
who finished 20th in their 3k event behind winners South London Harriers.
Their first finisher in the 408 strong field was Ryan Davies, who finished in sixtieth place overall.
Other Morpeth scoring finishers were Bertie Marr (104th), Joe Dixon (183rd), and Joseph Hudspith (212th).
The club were seventh from the North, and first from the region.
who just won by a two second margin.
finished in 40th and 96th places respectively in a finishing field of 129.
and was twenty third from the North, and third from the region.
They were led home by Ben Walker, who finished in 100th place,
followed by Dylan Davies and Sam Tait, who were 136th and 291st respectively.
Rebecca Bradley was 216th in the Under 15 Girls 4k event.
There was some disappointment in the Morpeth camp however by the lack of commitment shown
to these championships, shown by some of their more Senior age groups,
especially with the event being held closer to home.