at the very top of the British Over 45 all-time road race rankings for 5 kilometres
on the paths along Newcastle’s quayside on Wednesday evening (31st August 2016).
Although Husdpith was only 4th in the race itself, his time of 14 minutes and 50 seconds narrowly beat
the longstanding record of Martin Rees of Swansea by a margin of 1 second – which he later jokingly attributed to his dip over the line.
Hudspith had in fact previously won the race in 2014 on the only previous occasion it was run,
but this year’s field was certainly of a high class, attracted no doubt by the generous prize money on offer from the race sponsors CheekyTrip.com.
A leading group of some six athletes, headed by Matty Hynes of host club Gateshead Harriers,
established themselves from the off as the route headed west under the bridges of the River Tyne
from its start on the North side of the Millenium Bridge.
This group included Hudspith and two other club colleagues, Carl Avery and Nick Swinburne,
as well as Calum Johnson of Gateshead and Abraham Tewelde of Saltwell Harriers.
With all three of the Morpeth runners focused on next weekend’s Great North Run and as a result running high weekly mileages in training, perhaps it was inevitable that the brisk pace would leave them at disadvantage in such a short race, and so it proved, with Hynes able to slip away, cross the Millenium Bridge and finish in front of the Baltic to win in a time of 14 minutes 41 seconds.
He was closely followed by leading young triathlete Johnson in 14m 45s and Tewelde 3rd in 14m 51s.
Although Hudspith’s chip time was one second faster, Tewelde was credited with 3rd place.
Morpeth did have the consolation, however, of winning the team prize,
with Nick Swinburn 5th in 14m 52s and Avery 7th some three seconds behind.
Ross Floyd, another runner with his sights on the GNR, was 8th in 15m 18s.
The pace of the race was such that it was later announced that all six of the first
finishers had broken the previous course record held by Hudspith himself.
The women’s race was won by Tracey Milmore of Birtley AC in 17m 34s
with Over 35 athlete Michelle Nolan of Gateshead 2nd in 17m 44s.
Behind the lead athletes there were a string of fast times on what is perhaps now established
as among the fastest 5k courses in the region. Chris Smith was first O/35 in 15m 44s and 14th overall,
with Lewis Timmins just behind him in 15th place in 15m 57s.
Other Morpeth athletes competing included: Steve Patterson, 48th in 17m 27s;
Paul Bellingham, 83rd and 3rd O/55 in 19m21s; Peter Scaife, 90th and 4th O/55 in 19m 51s
and Steve Garret, 197th in 25m 24s.
With the satisfaction of taking the all-time 5k record behind him – which Hudspith has had his eyes on
at least since he narrowly failed to take it at Wallsend in May – the Morpeth Harrier can now focus on other
targets clearly within his grasp beginning with the half-marathon and culminating, perhaps, in the Abbey Dash 10k at Leeds in November.
Report by Peter Scaife