Morpeth Harriers retain title at Weetslade Relays

There were three Morpeth Harriers in competitive action at the Muller British Athletics Championships at the weekend, whilst they also tracked a winning team in the Weetslade Relays.

By Keith Hamblin
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 1:14 pm
Morpeth's winning team at the Weetslade Relays Adam Pratt, Joe Anderson, Cat Macdonald.
Morpeth's winning team at the Weetslade Relays Adam Pratt, Joe Anderson, Cat Macdonald.

San Francisco based James Young returned home to take part in one of the most keenly contested events, the Men’s 1500m. Running in the first of Friday’s heats, Young qualified in third place in a time of 3:43:99 seconds behind one of the event’s overall favourites, Josh Kerr of Edinburgh AC along with Jake Heyward of Cardiff, to make Saturday evening’s final.

This proved to be a very close contest between Kerr, Neil Gourley of Giffnock North AC and Jake Wightman of Edinburgh, with Wightman winning in a time of 3:40.26 ahead of Gourley (3:40.38) and Kerr (3:40. 63).

Young meanwhile finished in a very respectable seventh place with a time of 3:44.61, some three seconds off his best for the season of 3:41.06.

Also in action in difficult blustery conditions on Saturday was veteran hurdler Nisha Desai, who placed third in Heat 4 of the 400m in a time of 1:02.97 seconds, just over a second off her best for the season but sadly not making the following day’s final.

Sunday saw another Morpeth Harrier competing with Scott Beattie, currently studying at Tulsa University, involved in the straight run final of the Men’s 5000m.

Beattie finished in seventh place with a time of 13 minutes 51.36 seconds, some way short of his personal best set in the States earlier in the year, with the race itself won by Marc Scott of Richmond and Zetland Harriers in a time of 13:42. 82.

At the Weetslade Relays, at Lockey Park, Wideopen, Morpeth retained their mixed relay title for the fifth consecutive year by the narrowest of five second margins in one of the event’s closest finishes.

Two outfits from South of the River Tyne, Jarrow and Hebburn AC and Sunderland Harriers, came home challenging for the lead after the first leg, with Sunderland’s Stephen Jackson running what proved to be the day’s fastest overall time of 13 minutes 20 seconds ahead of Jarrow’s Peter Smallcombe (13m 36s). Morpeth’s O35 Adam Pratt, meanwhile, ran a sensible 13m 58s for seventh to keep the club firmly in contention.

A flying Cat Macdonald quickly ate up the gaps to those ahead of her on leg 2, her time of 15m 18s proving to be the fastest female time of the evening, the club now in first place by a narrow five second margin over Jarrow and Hebburn, with Sunderland now some 20 seconds behind in third.

In his first Weetslade Relay, it was a challenging position for Ponteland High School sixth former Joe Anderson to find himself in, but he proved to be in no way overawed by the task as he extended the lead, clocking 13m 52s.

Morpeth’s final time of 43:08 put them some five seconds ahead of Sunderland in second place with Jarrow some 49 seconds behind in third (43:57).

The club’s B team of Graeme Cook (14m 34s), Linzi Quinn (17m 21s ) and Richard Johnson (13m 57s) placed a strong sixth also, with a C team in 20th and three further teams in 37th, 48th and 50th.