on Monday 21 March, at Preston Cemetery,
North Shields, NE29 9NJ.
A humanist service.
The funeral for Eric Appleby will take place at 1.30pm
on Monday 21 March, at Preston Cemetery,
North Shields, NE29 9NJ.
A humanist service.
Some older members will be saddened to learn of the death of one of the regions
well known veteran athletes Eric Appleby of Heaton Harriers.
Sadly Eric passed away on Monday 7th March, following a hard fought battle with cancer,
a battle fought with much dignity, which was very much one of his trademarks,
something which very much endeared him to his fellow running colleagues,
both within his own club, to whom he was most loyal,
and from other clubs around him, including those within Morpeth Harriers.
Eric was very much a successful product of the 80’s running boom,
and whilst remaining a very modest and gentle man, in the truest sense of the word,
he was also very much a fierce and feared competitor in the competitive athletics field.
In life, he trained as hard as he worked, as a sign-writer for Fenwick’s Ltd, the Department Store,
and if not competing at an evening event, he would often be seen
running home from work to his home in Battle Hill, just off the Coast Road.
He always had a few tales to tell about those runs, and some of the experiences along the way.
When he retired he found more time for his sport,
despite having to have a pacemaker fitted during his 7th decade,
and even resorted to getting on his bike every day,
to travel down to King Edward’s Bay in Tynemouth for a daily swim in the sea.
In his later years, with the rise of the weekend Park Run, Eric found new challenges,
and his sheer determination saw him complete 200 Newcastle Park Runs in August 2014.
He also used to take part in some of the regions other Park Run’s,
and would often be seen boarding a bus on a Saturday Morning,
using his Bus Pass entitlement to its fullest extent,
heading towards a more distant venue.
Eric will always be regarded as being a legendary character in the sport,
and will be fondly remembered by fellow competitors and athletics officials nationwide.
A true Sportsman and Gentleman.
Funeral Arrangements are still unknown, and we will post
these on our website once they become available to us.
9.30am Monday 7th March 2016 – not the usual start time for a marathon!
Nevertheless this is when the remarkable character, who is Ben Smith,
plans to start his 189th consecutive day of running the marathon distance !
His camper van, emblazoned with 401 Challenge logo’s, pulls into the car park beside our clubhouse.
I’m there with Andrew Richardson, Lorna McDonald, Damian Foster, Emma Sanderson & Bob Sewell with his bike,
George & Hud and we are all curious to see who emerges from the van.
And here he is, tall, bearded, slim and very fit looking – he’s kitted up, friendly, chatty and ready to go !
He is 33 years old and only started running two and a half years ago as rehabilitation
following a stroke he suffered when he was 29. He worked in the city,
in a high powered pressurised environment, was burning the candle at both ends,
weighed over 17 stones and as a result of the stroke temporarily lost his sight and speech.
It was a BIG wake up call!
He had a friend who ran and this friend cajoled him into going to Southville Running Club in Bristol.
Ben said the thought of going to a running club was intimidating because you ‘assume everyone is going to be better than you’.
But he found the experience cathartic, the club members encouraging and supportive
and he said to me that running had changed his life for the better in so many ways.
You can find out more about Ben and the 401 Challenge from their website and why he is
absolutely passionate about the anti –bullying charities that he is raising money to support.
He was really appreciative of the support he had from Morpeth Harriers
and in particular those who turned out to run, ride and refresh him today.
The weather was good, he enjoyed the course and the support he got from
the kids at Goose Hill Primary School – cheers Lorna for sorting that out !
So thanks to all who took part today, those mentioned above, plus Pam Woodcock, Carol Parry,
James McFetrich, Cinty Miley, Jill Sandeman, Kim Taylor and Neil McAnany.
It’s amazing what gets talked about when your trundling along on events like this
and Ben has had 189 days of consecutive running chit chat.
He’s got some great tales and here is one situation most of us will have experienced;
What do you do when you are at a party and you’ve been to the loo
but it won’t flush away.......you need to speak to someone who was on Lap 3 today
to find the answer........it’s unbelievable what happened!!!!
After nearly a two month absence of action, the Start Fitness North Eastern
Harrier League got under way again on Saturday 5th March,
with the fifth fixture being held at the Pastures in Alnwick.
The fourth fixture which had been scheduled to be held at
Newcastle’s Town Moor in January, had to be postponed
because of a waterlogged course, and when the rescheduled date in early February
also could not be met, again because of the waterlogged state of two courses,
once again at Newcastle Town Moor, and at Wrekenton,
it had been decided by the organisers that it be totally cancelled.
Despite heavy overnight rain, the ground at Alnwick in most parts was reportedly fairly firm,
however there were the odd sections that remained soft, which progressed to mud
as intermittent showers prevailed throughout the proceedings,
especially during the final event on the ten race programme, for Senior Men.
With the fixture clashing with the English Schools Cross Country Championships in Nottingham,
several leading contenders were missing from the line-ups in the younger age groups, including athletes from Morpeth Harriers.
That factor however had no bearing on the performance of the club’s Under 13 Boys,
who undoubtedly had their best team result on the day, winning by a margin
of eleven points from Gosforth Harriers, with Durham City a further five points adrift in third place.
Leading Morpeth Harriers home was Thomas Cunningham, who finished eighth
from the Fast Pack, having an excellent run to also finish as third fastest on the day.
One place behind Thomas was club colleague Alex Porteous, who finished well as sixth from the Slow Pack.
The Morpeth Harriers scoring count was completed by Andrew Hudspith,
who finished an excellent eleventh from the Fast Pack, and posted the fifth overall fastest time.
Also prominent finishers for Morpeth Harriers in the Under 13 Boys event were
Jack Barrett (15th) (Slow Pack), and Dylan Davies (18th) (Fast Pack), and posting the eighth equal fastest time.
Other Morpeth Harriers performances in the Under 13 Boys event came from Bobby Stone (29th) (Fast Pack),
Aaron Haldane (38th) (Slow Pack), Joshua Adams (40th) (Slow Pack),
Reece Garrett (51st) (Slow Pack), and Adam Willoughby (54th) (Slow Pack).
Home from University, and having his first run as a Senior Man,
Morpeth’s Under 20 athlete Phillip Winkler produced an excellent run
in what were the worst conditions of the day, from the Slow Pack,
to finish second, behind Saltwell’s new acquisition,
asylum seeker Abraham Tewelde, who won by the clear margin
of two and a half minutes, over the tough three lap course.
Winkler led Morpeth Harriers Senior Men’s squad home to fifth team position in Division 1,
with further team support coming from Jordan Scott,
who finished a superb seventh from the Medium Pack,
posting the tenth overall fastest time on the day.
Third home for Morpeth Harriers was Mike Winter,
who ran strongly throughout, to finish 69th from the Slow Pack.
Paul Waterston was Morpeth’s fourth man home, when finishing 87th from the Medium Pack.
Completing the Morpeth team count were Mark Snowball (115th) (Fast Pack),
and Michael Thomsen (118th) (Medium Pack), running very much against doctors orders following illness.
Other Morpeth Harriers Senior Men in action were Robert Cockburn, running in his first race for the club,
who finished 201st from the Slow Pack, Richard Kirby (223rd) (Slow Pack), and Les Cavill (255th) (Slow Pack).
An excellent turnout by Morpeth Harriers Senior Women saw them finish fourth in Division 2 on the day,
a result that will hopefully see them avoid the drop into Division 3 for next year.
They were led home by an excellent performer in Gemma Floyd,
who ran really well over the two lap course as the rain started to build up.
She finished fifth from the Medium Pack, posting the fifteenth fastest overall time of the day.
One of the athletes ahead of her in terms of time however was club colleague Jane Hodgson,
who running from the Fast Pack, finished an excellent 25th as Morpeth’s second counter, posting
the sixth fastest time overall, and looks to be well on her way to fitness following childbirth.
Third home for Morpeth was Gwenda Cavill, who finished 69th from the Slow Pack,
and closing the club’s scoring count was Jane Briggs, who finished 144th from the Medium Pack.
Not far behind Jane in 161st and 162nd places were Sue Smith and Carol Parry, both running from the Slow Pack.
For Parry, it was her first Harrier League appearance for the club.
Other Harrier League debutants for Morpeth Harriers were Jacinta Wake and Jane Kirby,
who finished in 188th and 189th places from the Slow Pack,
in the field of 278 Senior Women finishers, which was an excellent effort.
Back to the Male events, and Morpeth Harriers Under 15 Boys finished fourth in their team race,
despite missing some of their key athletes because of the English Schools Championships taking place in Nottingham,
and that placing still stands them in good stead for taking the league title, with one fixture remaining at Wrekenton in two weeks time.
The Morpeth squad were led home by Joe Dowd, who produced an excellent
fifth fastest performance, to finish 14th from the Fast Pack.
Not far behind Joe was his Morpeth club colleague Matthew Waterfield,
who finished 22nd from the Fast Pack, and was eighth fastest overall over the one lap course.
Two places behind Matthew was club colleague Connor Marshall, who closed his club’s scoring count,
and running from the Fast Pack, was ninth fastest overall.
Other Morpeth Harriers performers in the Under 15 Boys event were Alex Cunningham (27th) (Fast Pack),
Bradley Brown (29th) (Fast Pack), and Jordan Hedgecock (35th) (Fast Pack).
Morpeth Harriers were well shorn of competing athletes in the Under 13 Girls event,
due to the aforementioned English Schools Championships,
and only Lauren Cummings toed the start-line.
She ran well to finish 15th from the Fast Pack.
The club only had two Under 17 Men to face the starter, and Jacob Hopkins and Josh Burton
finished third and fifth respectively from the Fast Pack.
Alison Brown posted the fastest time in the combined Under17/Under 20 Women’s event,
to finish fifth overall in a finishing field of twenty runners.
Following on from her excellent run in the English National Cross Country Championships seven days earlier,
Morpeth’s Gracie Hufton kept up the good form when finishing tenth from the Fast Pack in the Under 15 Girls event,
posting the sixth fastest time, in a field of thirty eight finishers.
Morpeth Harriers had eight athletes competing in the non scoring Under 11 events.
They had five in the Boys race, and three in the Girls race.
Jack Livingstone was the club’s first Boy home, when he placed fourth,
and he was closely followed in by Callum Rowell, who finished fifth.
Another excellent performer was James Tilley, who finished in nineteenth place.
Other Morpeth Harriers Boy finishers were Harry Jackson (23rd), and Joe Dixon (59th).
In the Girls event, Mia Belton performed well in her first Morpeth Harriers competitive outing, finishing 14th.
Other Morpeth Harriers finishers in the Girls event were Sophia Cunningham (31st), and Lauren Garrett (40th).
Many thanks go to Steve Garrett, who stepped in as club Team Manager on the day.
On a day when team medals were very hard to come by,
Scott Beattie was easily Northumberland’s best individual performer,
and the county’s closest to a medal, when finishing a superb fourth in the Senior Boys 7k event,
at the annual English Schools Cross Country Championships, this year sponsored by New Balance,
and held at Nottingham’s picturesque Wollaton Park, on Saturday 5th March.
The Morpeth Harrier just missed out by one second at the finish line,
in adding yet another medal to his winter collection, when just being outpaced
by Leicester and Rutland’s Isaac Akers, who also beat him to his first
English National title at nearby Castle Donington seven days earlier.
Beattie however will reflect on a high quality performance,
on what was a relatively good surface that in contrast to other
recent venues that he has recently run on, was fairly ideal to the job in hand.
He led Northumberland to 21st team place, with fellow Morpeth Harriers Adam Gibbs
and James Young being amongst the supporting counts in 180th and 219th places respectively.
They were the second and fourth counters in a field 310 finishers that also included club colleague Joe Armstrong,
who was running in the colours of Durham, and was their first athlete across the finish line in 69th place.
Northumberland’s best team performers on the day were undoubtedly their Junior Boys,
who finished seventh in their 4.2k event, and were led home by Morpeth Harriers
Under 15 Boys North East Cross Country Silver medallist Daniel Dixon,
who produced what was the county’s second best individual performance behind Beattie,
when he finished a superb 19th, in a field of 337 finishers.
Morpeth team-mate and training partner Ross Charlton also produced a fine run,
to come home as second for Northumberland in an excellent 39th place.
Another Morpeth Harrier amongst the scoring six Junior Boys for
Northumberland was Daniel Melling, who did well when finishing in 119th place.
In the Intermediate Boys 5.7k, Morpeth Harrier Kieran Hedley finished in 55th place,
and was second counter for a Northumberland squad which finished as 24th team.
Also amongst the scoring counts was Taylor Glover, who was fourth home in 135th place.
Although not amongst the scoring counts Adam Shewry did well to finish 260th in a field of 335 finishers.
Holly Peck of Morpeth led Northumberland’s Junior Girls home to 24th team place in their 3.5k event,
with club colleagues and training partners Lily Heaton and Ellie Coxon also featuring amongst the scoring counts.
Heaton finished 175th and Coxon 198th in a field of 339, and were third and fifth supporting counts respectively.
Charlotte Jewell and Abby Sheldon of Morpeth Harriers both featured in
Northumberland’s scoring counts in the Senior Girls 4.2k event.
Jewell was third home for the county in 183rd place,
and Sheldon was fifth counter, finishing in 203rd place, in a total field of 307 competitors.