Morpeth Harriers fly the flag for the North East at the English Cross Country Association National Relays
The quick succession of storms that the country faced in October meant the ground was saturated from the off and the course was still covered with standing water in many places.
With few teams from the North East travelling, Morpeth Harriers were one of the few clubs to fly the flag for the region, with the club’s Senior Men in particular putting in an outstanding top 10 performance in the day’s final event, the four-stage, two-lap relay run over 5k per leg.
Morpeth finished sixth overall in a time of 1:03:30, with 177 teams finishing.
Carl Avery had moved the club up to 10th with a 15:25 on leg two after Will Cork had come home on leg one in 15:54. Lawrence McCourt gained a further two places on leg three (16:44) and Scott Beattie matched Avery’s time exactly on the final leg.
With teams from the south dominating the event, Morpeth were first club from the north of England to finish.
It wasn’t such a successful day for the club’s Junior Men however, as the curse of the relays struck once again for one of the two teams entered in the 3k event, which was contested by 81 teams.
A strong run by Joe Dixon on leg one for the A team saw him back in 24th place (9:17) but in the melee at the changeover, somehow second leg runner Will de Vere Owen missed his return and went out over two minutes late. His 11:24, not an accurate reflection of his ability, meant the team unfortunately dropping to 57th, with last leg runner James Tilley (9:44) pulling back more than 10 places on leg three for the team, who had been looking for a top 10 place, to finish halfway down the field in 44th.
The club’s B team of Liam Roche (9:27), Bertie Marr (9:33) and Matthew Walton (9:56) had a better afternoon, consistent runs by all securing 29th.
Morpeth’s Under-15 Girls also battled through their 6k of mud, finishing in 64th place out of 93 teams, with legs by Molly Roche (9:35), Megan Potrac (9:40) and Emma Tomlinson (8:59).