Spanish run sees Morpeth Harrier Scott Beattie become fastest GB athlete on the road over 10k in 2023

Morpeth Harriers were involved in races either side of the Christmas holidays, with 2023 culminating in one stand-out performance in Spain.
Morpeth Harriers Joe and Dan Dixon in action at the Ribble Valley 10k. Picture: Peter ScaifeMorpeth Harriers Joe and Dan Dixon in action at the Ribble Valley 10k. Picture: Peter Scaife
Morpeth Harriers Joe and Dan Dixon in action at the Ribble Valley 10k. Picture: Peter Scaife

Now one of the oldest races in the country, the Ronnie Walker Saltwell 10k took place the Saturday before Christmas round a hilly four-lap circuit of Saltwell Park in Gateshead.

Won by Leeds City AC athlete Linton Taylor in a time of 32 minutes and one second, with Elswick Harrier Sophie Pikett first female finisher in 36:31, Morpeth were represented by John Butters, 18th overall in a time of 35:39 and third Over-40 competitor, and Gavin Bayne, 81st in 42:40 and second Over-60.

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The ever popular Woodlawn ‘Pudding Run’, held on the sea front at Whitley Bay on Boxing Day, was once again a sell-out, with valuable funds being raised for the school. Advertised as a fun run, no results are made available, but there were three Morpeth Harriers in the top 10, with Rob Balmbra first home in fifth, Ross Floyd sixth and Andy Lawrence eighth.

Two high-profile races followed on New Year’s Eve, with eight Harriers travelling to Clitheroe in Lancashire for the Ribble Valley 10k, which incorporated the North of England Championships and attracted a high class field.

Won by Marc Scott of Richmond and Zetland Harriers in 28:46 with local athlete Jess Warner-Judd female champion in 32:42, Morpeth’s specialist miler James Young was first back for the club in 29:55 in eighth, with Sam Hancox fighting off an injury to record 31:33 in 34th.

Team GB triathlete Dan Dixon paced teenage brother Joe round the course to a new personal best of 31:40, finishing 37th and 38th, with Connor Marshall next back in 45th.

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Alex Cunningham was 82nd, with Rob Hancox fourth Over-55 in 39:36, and Over-40 Michelle Thompson, in her first outing on the roads for a while, recording 43:07.

Over in Spain there were two remarkable runs by Morpeth’s Scott Beattie and Rory Leonard at the Nationale-Nederlanden San Silvestre Vallecanu International in Madrid, where an elite field was headed by two Ethiopians – Berihu Aregawi winning in 27:15 with Ababel Yeshaneh taking the women’s title in 30:30.

Finishing fourth in a time of 27:58, Beattie recorded the fastest time over 10k on the roads in 2023 by a GB athlete, with Leonard also running well to come seventh.