Morpeth Harriers star in cross country races at Peterlee
The New Year was barely a week old when cross country action resumed in the North East Harrier League at Thornley Farm, just South of Peterlee, on Saturday afternoon.
Numbers were down on the day, although this was as much due to a rise in Covid infections in the region as the challenge of the course, with every club reporting athletes having to isolate. Nonetheless, Morpeth were able to claim four team and one individual wins, along with three fastest times of the day.
The day’s action started with two young athletes having their first experience of cross country. Running in the opening U11 fixture, Daniel Vermaas took part in his first race for the club, coming home in a very respectable 11th place. Thomas Roche was another young Harrier having his first outing for the club, finishing in 22nd place in the U13 Boys.
The day’s first victory came in the U13 Girls event. Led home by Emma Tomlinson (15:54 from Fast Pack) in 8th place, there were counting runs from Charlotte Marshall, 10th from Slow (17:53) and Molly Roche (16:18 from Fast).
The U15 Boys saw the day’s only individual win for Morpeth, with an in-form Oliver Calvert winning in a time of 12:24 from Fast Pack. He was backed up by Oli Tomlinson also from Fast in 3rd (12:31) and Elliot Mavir, 4th from Slow (14:20). Joe Close was 7th (13:04 from Fast), and Stephen Craske 14th (15:19 from Slow).
The U17 Boys also achieved their fourth team victory. Led home this time by Bertie Marr, 5th in 15:24 from Fast Pack with Will deVere Owen one place behind (15:28), Ryan Davies completed the scoring count in 11th (15:59). Like the U15s, they will be looking forward to collecting team golds at the final fixture at Alnwick in March.
Illness and Covid meant that Millie Breese was sadly the club’s only representative in the U17 Girls/U20 Women’s event, but once again the Alnwick based triathlete had one of the day’s most eye-catching runs in a fastest time of 17:32.
The day’s final two races, the Senior Women and Senior Men, featured the day’s biggest fields on what was by now an increasingly churned up course.
The Senior Women’s event saw perhaps the most remarkable Women’s team result for the club in a good few years, with the club’s scoring team of four only recording a parsimonious 14 team points in total and the count for the next four putting them in 3rd team position.
Cat Macdonald was 2nd in 27:09 with Jane Hodgson 3rd in 27:26, Gemma Floyd 4th in 30:40 and Helen King, after two major operations, 5th in 33:06.
Morpeth’s Senior Women look like they are going to have to settle for what will still be a well-deserved team silver at Alnwick.
In the Senior Men, Morpeth’s first two finishers were Connor Marshall (11th in 37:21) and Tom Innes (12th in 37:26).Gary Jones was 17th in 42:54 with Sam Hancox 18th in 38:07.
Tyne Bridge still just sneaked an 82 to 88 point victory. Nevertheless, Morpeth remain comfortably top of the division and must look to a strong turn out at Alnwick to win back the title.