Morpeth runners show up well at National XC Relays event

Eight teams from Morpeth Harriers travelled down the A1 to Nottinghamshire on Saturday to take part in the National Cross Country Relays.
Morpeth U17 girls at Mansfield - Caitlin Flanagan, Millie Breese and Abi Leipe.Morpeth U17 girls at Mansfield - Caitlin Flanagan, Millie Breese and Abi Leipe.
Morpeth U17 girls at Mansfield - Caitlin Flanagan, Millie Breese and Abi Leipe.

Held at Berry Hill, Mansfield, there were over 1000 teams entered across Young Adult and Senior categories.

The U17 girls event saw Morpeth’s first team in action over a 2.5km course and featured what was perhaps the individual performance of the day for the club by Alnwick based triathlete Millie Breese.

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After early legs by Caitlin Flanagan, who ran 10:16 and Abi Leiper (9:50), a very determined run by Breese saw her move the club up 21 places for a final position just outside the top ten. Her time of 9:15 was the fifth fastest for the leg and saw the team finish in a very respectable 13th.

There were two teams involved in the U17 boys, and the A team were able to go narrowly one better than the girls to finish in 12th.

Running over a 3k course, Will de Vere Owen ran 9:25, Ryan Davies 9:54 and Bertie Marr 9:33 for the A team, whilst for the B team times were: James Tilley 10:12, Liam Roche 9:46 and Matty Walton 9:55., with the B team having the satisfaction at least of being the highest placed B team in the category.

Morpeth’s two other teams, the U15 Boys and the U13 Girls, put up respectable performances and will benefit in the future from the higher standard of national competition.

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The U15 Boys were led out by Oliver Tomlinson in 6:54, with Eliot Mavir in 8:01 and Joe Closein 7:07 to finish 33rd out of 65 teams.

The U13 Girls team of Emma Tomlinson (8:27), Molly Roche (8:53) and Megan Potrac (9:20) finished in 46th place.

Final event of the day with the biggest numbers was the Senior Men’s relay, held over a two lap 5k course for teams of four.

First up for Morpeth was Cameron Boyek. Moving smoothly over the first lap and looking good, Boyek held 4th place and was just out of touch with the leaders. He slipped back to 14th on leg 2 but did run an impressive 15:40, with Derby AC taking an early lead with the leg 1 runner recording the fastest time of the day in fact (15:07). In his first taste of national standard competition meanwhile, Conor Marshall ran a measured 17:54 on leg 1 for an incomplete B team, working his way steadily through the pack ahead on the 2nd lap for 85th place.

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Matthew Briggs took over on leg 2. Catching some in front and being caught by some behind, Briggs dropped only one place with his 16:27 clocking.

Despite the loss of his chip timing strap at the changeover, Phil Winkler had a good run on leg 3 with 16:42 to keep the team in 17th place. Jordan Scott ran 17:33 on leg 4 with the team just dropping out of the top twenty, finishing in 23rd place.

The race was won by Shaftesbury Barnet in an overall time of 1:02:58, with teams from the South of England, in the form of Highgate Harriers and Aldershot and Farnham District, also filling the 2nd and 3rd places. Morpeth’s cumulative time was 1:06:25, with a solid and workmanlike performance by all the team despite the absence of some big name runners.