It was certainly an excellent start to the Start Fitness North Eastern Harrier League season for Morpeth Harriers & AC, when they achieved no less than four team victories, one individual win, plus three fastest times of the day, at the first fixture, held at Wrekenton on Saturday 30th September 2017.
An excellent individual victory by Emma Holt, paved the way for an
equally excellent Morpeth team victory in the Senior Women’s event.
Running from the Fast Pack, she finished a mere four seconds ahead of club colleague Jane Hodgson.
Further winning team support came courtesy of two superb runs by Alison Brown (4th) (Slow Pack),
and Lorna MacDonald (9th) (Medium Pack).
Other Morpeth performances in the Senior Women’s event, came from Gemma Floyd (21st) (Fast Pack),
who was eighth fastest overall in a 462-strong field of finishers, Jane Briggs (38th) (Slow Pack),
Lindsay Turnbull (52nd) (Slow Pack), Jane Kirby (110th) (Slow Pack),
Sue Smith (223rd) (Slow Pack), Carol Parry (262nd) (Slow Pack),
and Margaret MacDonald (340th) (Slow Pack).
This was an excellent start to the season by the Senior Women, who are now competing in Division 1.
Since joining the club, I have spent 45 summers managing either our men's or women's track & field teams.
This will be the last time. With some notable exceptions, the level of commitment of our women's squad
this time has been the worst that I have experienced.
The dates of our four fixtures have been available on the club website, noticeboards and elsewhere since
well before the start of the season. How is it that so many of our athletes seem unable to plan to make
themselves available for our league dates? That's apart from those who don't have the courtesy to reply to
phone calls or texts.
There were also those who were revising for exams several weeks beforehand and, in some cases, seem
to be still revising. I went through the exam system to degree level and still managed to fit in plenty
of competition – I found it a great break from the boredom. I suspect that many spent that revision time
staring at the wall or playing with their phones, or maybe socialising was higher up their priority list !
I hope that attitudes will change amongst our athletes next summer, otherwise my successor will have an
uphill task. For me it will be great to plan holidays without having to keep clear of our league dates and
also not having to listen to excuses that defy belief.
With only just over four seconds dividing first and last, Morpeth Harrier Laura Weightman
finished sixth out of twelve athletes, in the IAAF World Championships Women’s 1500 Final,
at London’s Olympic Park on Monday evening.(7th August)
Weightman, who had run three good consistent races, including the final, was always in contention,
running against some of the best in the world, and could feel well pleased with her efforts,
despite just losing out on a medal with her clocking of 4m04.11s,
which was just over a second adrift of the medals.
The event was won by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon (4m02.59s),
with America’s Jenny Simpson getting the Silver in 4m02.76s,
and in third place was South Africa’s Caster Semenya (4m02.90s),
just outrunning Weightman’s Great Britain colleague Laura Muir (4m03.97s) for the Bronze medal.
In the three races, Weightman’s consistency showed as she posted
respective finishing times of 4m03.50s, 4m05.63s, and 4m04.11s.
Laura Weightman firmly booked her place on the start line for the Women’s 1500m,
at next month’s World Athletics Championships, with two gutsy performances
at the UK Championships, at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium,
on Saturday and Sunday 1st and 2nd July 2017.
Commonwealth and European Silver and Bronze Medallist Weightman,
won the slower of the two heats on Saturday, posting a modest time of 4m12.36s, to qualify for the Sunday final.
Jessica Judd of Chelmsford, who had front run the fastest heat, to win in 4m11.96s,
obviously posed the biggest threat to Weightman, in her quest to win back the British
crown that she had lost to her great rival Laura Muir of Dundee, twelve months ago.
Not surprisingly Judd very much tried to repeat her Saturday plan,
however that came unstuck with 300m remaining,
when Weightman took a chance to take the lead.
Having gone through the bell in around 3m03s,
Weightman sensed that Judd was weakening, and made her break for home.
Although Judd made a final attempt to thwart Weightman’s effort,
the Morpeth Olympian dug deep, to win in 4m06.49s, which although was a little bit adrift of her best,
was enough to satisfy her that she had booked her place in London in August,
and had regained her British crown.
Meanwhile Judd, posted a finishing time of 4m07.09s,
with former Jarrow and Hebburn athlete Sarah McDonald
getting what could be a vital third place, in a time of 4m08.14s.