Briggs bags second place again in blustery Chase

There were 162 finishers at the 65th running of the annual Chevy Chase Fell Race, held in blustery conditions on Saturday.

By Peter Scaife
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 4:48 pm
The Chevy Chase gets under way in Wooler with race winner Jarlath Mckenna (72), right, and Harriers' Matthew Briggs, left.
The Chevy Chase gets under way in Wooler with race winner Jarlath Mckenna (72), right, and Harriers' Matthew Briggs, left.

Wind and spells of rain added to the challenge of the 20-mile course, which takes in ascents of the summits of both Cheviot and Hedgehope from Wooler.

Morpeth Harrier and Northumberland Fell Runner Matthew Briggs, recently graduated from the University of Lancaster replicated last year’s second place finish with a time of 2 hours 49 minutes and 44 seconds.

The race was won by Bristol and West AC runner and North East resident Jarlath Mckenna, who recently broke the record for the 70-mile Hadrian’s Wall run. His time of 2:44:22 was only four minutes off the course record set by Richard Hackett in 1992.

Russell Watson, of Cheviot Trail Runners, was third in 2:58:05, with first female finisher Victoria Broadbent 27th overall in 3:40:56. Over-50 veterans Karen Robertson and Katherine Davis were second and third women home with times of 3:50:44 and 3:54:38 respectively.

Five other Harriers and NFRA members completed the course, with Richard Kirby 54th (fifth MV50) and Steve Haswell 58th clocking 3:58:32 and 3:58:51. Lee Bennett (4:07:24) was 62nd, Mike Steven (4:48:10) was 118th and Claire Calverley (5:28:08) finished 141st and sixth FV40.

There were some 65 finishers at the shorter Windy Gyle Fell Race, which starts and finishes at the head of the Coquet Valley at Barrowburn.

Won by Kris Akon of NFRA in 1:04:40, the race saw a new women’s course record set by Morpeth’s Cat Macdonald, who also placed sixth overall, with 1:09:17.

Club colleague Richie Hughes was fourth in 1:07:40 and Lee Bennett took ninth with 1:09:16.

It was a family day out for the Macdonalds, with Alistair 23rd in 1:16:23 and daughter Linzi running with mother Margaret to come home in 63rd and 64th respectively.

Warming up for the Chevy Chase were Richard Kirby (29th; 1:20:21), Kevin Bray (42nd; 1:31:39), Mike Steven (1:32:50), Jane Kirby (1:37:03) and Claire Calverley (57th; 1:44:50).

A group of 21 Harriers were in action at the fourth NEGP Meeting, held at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium.

Alex Brown, who had won the Stan Long Trophy at the previous meeting in the Mile, was in action again, tackling the longer 3,000m.

Brown edged out Birtley Harrier Adrian Bailes by just eight hundredths of a second in a new personal-best time of 8:14.32. Third place went to Brown’s clubmate and training partner Finn Brodie, who improved on his previous best in clocking 8:21.07.

Other Harriers in action in the fastest heat of the 3,000m were, Kieran Reay, in seventh with a personal best 8:38.27, William DeVere-Owen, 10th, with 8:44.46, an improvement of 16 seconds, Alistair Douglass (14th; 8:54.38) and Bertie Marr (16th; 9:18.36).

In the second fastest 3,000m, Morpeth’s Matthew Walton claimed third in 8:57.45 by taking 56 seconds off his previous figures. James Tilley, in seventh, clocked 9:17.5, an improvement of 76 seconds and Liam Roche, in 11th, recorded 9:32.90 in his first run at this distance.