Two very strong team results that included a gold medal for the men and a silver
for the women were the stand out headlines from a raft of very strong individual
performances at the Northern 5k Championships at Sunderland on Wednesday 15th July 2015.
The midweek evening run, hosted by Sunderland Harriers from their Silksworth Sports Centre HQ,
has always attracted a strong field, and with the event incorporating not just the
North Eastern but the Northern Athletics Association Championships this year,
there were high quality fields in both races.
Indeed, such has been the growing popularity of the race that this year,
for the first time, the decision was taken to separate the women’s and men’s races,
with the older male Over 50 veterans joining the women.
This was probably a wise choice for all concerned,
as the fast downhill start and narrow paths,
have in recent years seen a number of fallers
as competitors race pell-mell for the first left hand turn.
It was the women and older male vets who got proceedings off
and the race was soon headed by leading veteran Guy Bracken
of North Shields Polytechnic Harriers.
Bracken has been in ominous form of late
(and had indeed raced on both Saturday and Sunday in Scotland)
as he builds up to the World Masters Championships in France later in the month,
and his time of 15 minutes and 39 seconds was some
40 seconds faster than he had run last year.
A strong field in the women’s race saw another athlete in excellent form,
Justina Heslop of Elswick Harriers, take gold in a time of 16 minutes 28 seconds
with Vale Royal runner Amelia Petitit in second beating Rosie Smith of Durham (17m 16s) into third.
Morpeth’s Emma Holt narrowly missed out on the individual medals in fifth
and had at least the satisfaction of running a personal best (17m 23s),
but with club colleagues Vickey Gibbs coming in 12th overall
and picking up a silver medal as 2nd Over 35 (18m 43s)
and Catriona Macdonald in 16th place,
Morpeth secured a team silver.
They were in fact unfortunate this was not gold, as their team points
(based on overall positions of first three counting runners)
were the same as gold medallists Tyne Bridge Harriers,
but in such cases the position of the third scoring runner is the deciding factor.
In the Over 50 male veterans race Rob Hancox showed he had thankfully
put the trauma of the Tynedale 10k behind him when he finished
4th O/50 in a time of 17m 31s (another pb), with Paul Brown 8th O/50 in 18m 11s,
Alistair Macdonald 14th in 19m 45s and Peter Scaife 15th in 19m 50s.
In his first race on home soil since moving up a vets category meanwhile,
Gavin Bayne was first Over 60 in 19 m 03s.
Morpeth Harriers were near the front of perhaps an even stronger male field
which included Dan Jenkins of Durham City and Carl Smith of Leeds City,
with Lewis Timmins in prominent form having won the previous week’s
Bridges of the Tyne 5 mile race. It was North East based Smith,
however, who pulled away on the second lap of the lakes to win,
just as he had done at Wallsend in April, in a season’s best performance of 14m 37s.
A fiercely contested battle behind him saw Timmins hold off Jenkins to take silver
in 14m 52s with Carl Avery of Morpeth in fifth (14m 57s).
Thereafter a string of noteworthy performances by Morpeth’s men –
many of which were personal bests - saw them dominate the proceedings
with Ross Floyd 7th in 15m 11s, Chris Smith 9th and 1st Over 35 in 15m 13s,
Ian Harding 11th in 15m 17s, Tom Straughan 12th in 15m 20s,
Kevin Calvert 14th in 15m 29s, Karl Taylor 15th in 15m 31s,
Sam Hancox 21st in 15m 44s, Elliot Kelly 24th in 15m 51s,
Jordan Scott 27th in 16m 2s, Fergus Bates 36th and 2nd O/45 in 16m 21s,
Mark Snowball 47th in 16m 47s, Matt Forster 66th in 17m 21s
and U17 Jack Armstrong 85th in 17m 53s. .
While Timmins, Avery and Floyd took a resounding team gold,
their next three would also have taken silver had more than
one prize per club been permitted, and such was the strength
of the performance that the club provided four
of the top ten runners and eight of the top fifteen.
Report by Peter Scaife
An on the day victory by a clear margin of nearly 120 points,
firmly confirmed Morpeth Harriers band of Young Athletes,
both Male and Female, as Division 1 Champions,
in their final round North East Youth Development League match,
held at the new Middlesbrough Sports Village, on Sunday 19th July 2015.
It also meant that the clubs record over the four fixtures had gone undamaged,
with them achieving a hundred percent record of match wins.
A very close match raged throughout the day, resulting in only 232 points
dividing first placed Morpeth Harriers and the bottom placed club
Tynedale Harriers, with only 92.5 points dividing the second,
third, fourth, and fifth placed clubs.
Five days prior to enjoying her particular experience of winning
the Women’s 1500m at London’s Olympic Park,
Morpeth Harrier Laura Weightman’s younger brother Adam,
who also runs for the club, was also enjoying
his own experience of the same venue,
when he competed in the Morrison’s sponsored Newham 10k Road Race.
Adam finished in 466th position, in a time of 43m22s.
Although his finishing time was not as fast
as he would have wished for, he still described
the experience of running on the
Olympic track as wonderful,
and was an opportunity he would not
have missed out on at any price.
It could very well all go down to the wire for survival in Division 2 of the Northern Senior Track and Field League for Morpeth Harriers, following their third round match held at Princess Mary Stadium at Cleckheaton in Yorkshire, on Sunday 12th July 2015.
In a very tight and warm match, where only around fifty points
separated the third, fourth and fifth placed clubs,
Morpeth were fifth, only two points adrift of fourth placed
Middlesbrough Mandale, who will host the final fixture in August.
The on the day competition itself brought Morpeth Harriers
four A string and four B string victories in the Men’s events,
and two B string victories in the Women’s events.
Once again Ady Whitwam was very much a star performer
in the Men’s track events, winning both the A race
in the 3000m Steeplechase, and 5000m,
with respective clockings of 9m52.6s and 15m42.0s,
Unfortunately Morpeth couldn’t muster a B string Steeplechaser
on this occasion,however in the 5000m Ady’s front running efforts
were well supported by Robert Balmbra,
who won the B race in 16m40.6s,
just outpacing Skyrac’s Paul Fotherby.
Morpeth Harriers were very dominant in the Men’s sprint events,
with Jack Hepple winning the 100m A race
in his first outing in a month following injury.
Although his winning time of 11.0s was a little slower
than he would have wished, he can nevertheless be
delighted with the victory after his layoff.
Daniel Moore can also be pleased with his B string win in 11.5s
Moore was further pleased when he won the 200m A race in 23.2s
David Storey, who was also making a competitive
comeback following a spell of inactivity.
Was well pleased with his 200m B string victory in 23.8s.
In the Men’s 1500m event, Morpeth Harriers
Chris Smith and Thomas Straughan
brought more valuable points to the clubs tally by
finishing third and first in the respective A and B strings.
Chris clocked 4m09.5s, and Thomas posted a time of 4m18.6s.
Youngsters James Young and Jacob Hopkins competed
in the A and B string 400m and 800m for Morpeth Harriers.
Young finished fourth in the A string 400m in 54.6s,
and he was an excellent second in the A string 800m in 2m01.6s.
Hopkins performed well to finish third in the B string 400m,
and he was an excellent second in the B string 800m in 2m15.5s.
In the Men’s 4x100m Relay, Jack Hepple, Daniel Moore,
Thomas Straughan and David Thomas combined well to
bring Morpeth Harriers home in second place in 46.0s,
only losing out by half a second to Middlesbrough Mandale.
Kirsty Lang, who two days beforehand had been giving support
to younger brother Ruaridh, as he won a Bronze medal in the
Junior Boys Discus at the English Schools Track and Field Championships,
was one of the best performers in Morpeth’s Women’s efforts towards their points tally.
Running in her first ever 400m Hurdles event, she clocked a time of 74.5s,
which earned her an excellent second place.
Also in her very first 100m Hurdles she finished third in 18.1s.
Showing plenty of competitive appetite, she set new figures of 18.91m
when finishing fourth in the B string Discus,
and in one of her specialist events, the High Jump,
she cleared 1.40m for second place.
Another hardworking Morpeth Harriers competitor in the
Women’s events was Vicky Gibbs, who finished third in
her first ever 1500m in the A race in 5m28.1s,
and second in the 3000m A race in 11m04.2s.
Respective winning B race efforts came from
Charlotte Jewell (5m34.2s), and Alison Brown (12m25.7s).
Megan Deakin and Naomi Arkle, one of Morpeth Harriers youngest
ever Senior sprints pairing both performed well against older opposition.
Deakin finished fifth in the A string 100m in 13.3s,
and equalled her personal best of 27.2s in the 200m A race slightly later.
Meanwhile Arkle, in only her second ever outing in the Senior league,
did well to finish third respectively in the B string events in 13.3s and 27.3s.
Again in the Women’s 400m and 800m events it was younger athletes
Amber Cormack and Lauren Eadington who flew the Morpeth Harriers flag.
In the 400m A race Amber clocked 64.0s for sixth place,
and Lauren in her first ever 400m event clocked 71.2s in the B race for fifth place.
The pairing clocked 2m27.5s and 2m42.3s in the 800m,
respectively finishing fifth and third.
In the throws, Claire Reid finished second in the A string Discus (28.42m),
fifth in the A string Javelin (19.29m), and sixth in the A string Hammer (27.75m).
Naomi Arkle gained a personal best of 7.04m for fourth place in the Shot.
The Women’s 4 x 400m Relay saw Morpeth Harriers finish a close third in 4m27.1s,
courtesy of Amber Cormack, Lauren Eadington, Alison Brown an Megan Deakin.
In the Women’s 4 x 100m, Morpeth finished fourth in 56.2s,
courtesy of Megan Deakin, Kirsty Lang, Lauren Eadington, and Amber Cormack.
On reflection the result for Morpeth Harriers was well achieved by the athletes
who competed on the day, however there was some disappointment
in the non show by some of the clubs athletes,
after the promised commitment to travel.
A good committed club turn out at all costs in the final match
at Middlesbrough in August is now certainly required
if current league status is to be preserved.
MATCH RESULT (Subject to Further Scrutiny)
1st City of York 393pts,
2nd Gateshead Harriers 363pts,
3rd Skyrac 338pts,
4th Middlesbrough Mandale 289pts,
5th Morpeth Harriers 287pts,
6th North Shields Poly 211pts.