Morpeth Harriers retain title at Good Friday's Elswick Harriers Relays

Spring sunshine welcomed hundreds of runners to the Elswick Harriers Relays on Good Friday.
James Young helped Morpeth Harriers retain their Senior Men's title at the Elswick Relays. Picture: Peter ScaifeJames Young helped Morpeth Harriers retain their Senior Men's title at the Elswick Relays. Picture: Peter Scaife
James Young helped Morpeth Harriers retain their Senior Men's title at the Elswick Relays. Picture: Peter Scaife

There were once again hotly contested team races for both women and men, as well as three individual junior races on offer.

Morpeth’s Heather Baillie and Jacob Raper both featured in the U11 combined race, with Heather finishing 13th girl and 30th overall and Jacob 57th.

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There were three Morpeth youngsters in the U13s race, with Jacob’s older sister Lucy first back in 21st and fifth girl, Zoe Tomlinson 35th and ninth girl, and Heather’s older brother Lewis 57th.

The first team event, for Senior and Veteran Women, saw more than 100 complete teams turning out.

Morpeth’s A team of Holly Lawrence, in her first outing in blue and white, Poppy Buck and Catriona Macdonald just missed out on the medals, finishing fourth.

The B team of Lizzie Rank, Tabitha Robson and Lindsey Quinn finished in 19th, and a further C team of Lorna Macdonald, Kay Errington and Laura McLean came in 40th.

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In the 40s and 50s race, Morag Stead clocked the day’s fastest Over-40 time of 12:48. With Jane Kirby on second leg and Anna Wright on third, the team came third in their category and 15th overall.

The 50s team of Jane Briggs, Margaret Macdonald and Shuna Rank were fifth in the O/50 category and 69th overall.

The final event of the day was for Senior and Veteran Men, with Morpeth were looking to defend a title they had won several years in a row but up against stiff opposition, with again over 100 teams competing.

Rob Balmbra got the Morpeth challenge underway on a keenly contested first leg, with Birtley’s Adrian Bailes setting up an early lead.

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All was to change on leg 2, with a flying James Young running the fastest leg of the day of 9:57 (also the only sub-10 minute time) to move Morpeth into first place.

With Ellis Hetherington recording the day’s seventh fastest time and Tom Balsdon the eighth, Morpeth easily held on for the win.

In the Over 40s and 50s race, Morpeth’s team of Tony Lewis, John Butters, Dave Stabler and Andrew Ball came 23rd overall and fifth category team.

The Over 50s of Jason Dawson, Gavin Bayne, Lee Bennett and Rob Hancox picked up a third place category prize.