85-year-old athlete Walter shows no signs of slowing down after latest gold

At the ripe old age of 85, Walter Ryder, Morpeth Harriers’ oldest competitor, travelled from his home in Scotland to take part in the North-East Masters Athletics Association Championships at the weekend.
Alnwick's Leila Thompson wins gold at National Indoor Athletics Championships.Alnwick's Leila Thompson wins gold at National Indoor Athletics Championships.
Alnwick's Leila Thompson wins gold at National Indoor Athletics Championships.

Ryder’s annual trip home from Wester Ross was rewarded with a well-deserved age group Gold medal at the Croft circuit at Dalton-on-Tees. His remarkable victory was matched by fellow Morpeth veteran, Paul Bentley who, aged 75, was another winner. Archie Jenkins was second in the O/70s and David Nicholson second in the O/65s.

Saturday saw the Northern Schools Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in Sunderland, where Northumberland were clear winners in both Male and Female sections.

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The event was the final stepping stone before the English Schools Championships, at Nottingham in March.

Victories for in-form Joe Dixon (Senior Boys) and Ollie Calvert (Intermediate Boys) were obvious highlights.

Dixon was joined in the team triumph by Will De Vere-Owen (5th), James Tilley (6th) and Matthew Walton (9th). Calvert had support from Harriers’ colleague Elliot Kelso in third and Joe Close in 12th.

Emma Tomlinson (11th) had a good run for a third-placed Northumberland Junior Girls squad.

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The club had three athletes lined up in the Minor Boys event. Ewan Line had another strong run, coming home in 12th place overall in a field of sixty-four finishers, and was third home for a Northumberland squad who finished as second team.

Three Morpeth Harriers took part in the Minor Girls event, Faye Heatley, Sophie Pledger-Heywood, and Abigail Potrac finished 32nd, 50th, and 61st in a 66 strong field, however all three found themselves outside the scoring counters.

Alnwick athlete Leila Thompson has started off her indoor season in top form, despite stepping up to her new U/17s age group.

In her first outing, at the Northern Indoor Championships in Sheffield, the impressive young shot-putter picked up the gold medal.

And she followed that with another first place when she travelled to Glasgow for the National Indoor Championships last weekend.