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One of the busiest weeks of the year on the athletics front saw Morpeth Harriers competing with great success in the Stan Long Mile at Jarrow, the 40th Blaydon Race and the British Masters Track and Field Championships in Derby.

By Keith Hamblin
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 12:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 12:30 pm
Morpeth Harriers Finn Brodie, Carl Avery and Sa Hancox part of the leading group on the Scottswood Road, with race winner Calum Johnson (38) to the right.
Morpeth Harriers Finn Brodie, Carl Avery and Sa Hancox part of the leading group on the Scottswood Road, with race winner Calum Johnson (38) to the right.

Wednesday night saw the latest fixture in the NE Grand Prix at Jarrow Stadium, which included the Stan Long Mile.

Won by Morpeth’s Alex Brown in a time of 4:13.82, remarkably the first five places in the race all came from Morpeth, with a further three finishers also in the race.

Alistair Douglas was 2nd in 4. 20:81, Kieran Reay 3rd in 4.22:49, U17 Will de Vere Owen 4th in 4.24:49 and Connor Marshall 5th in 4.26:40. Under 20s Joe Armstrong (4.29:44) and Matthew Walton (4.34:69) were 7th and 9th and U15 Oliver Calvert 10th in 4.37:45 on a tremendous night’s success for the club.

The following night saw the return after a two year covid enforced absence of the famous old Blaydon Race, which was also celebrating its 40th Anniversary.

A leading group of some seven or eight soon formed at the head of the race, with Morpeth’s Carl Avery, Finn Brodie and Sam Hancox very much to the fore in the first few miles.

Thereafter, a break away by Avery saw him joined by 2019 winner Graham Rush of Leeds City and Gateshead Harrier Calum Johnson as these three battled for the final medals.

In the end, it was Johnson who was able to take a decisive lead, winning for the first time in 29:19. Rush was 2nd in 29:28 and Avery had to settle for a gutsy 3rd (29:35).

With Brodie 4th (29:46) and Hancox 7th (29:54), the club did have three finishers in the top ten, however, and when Alistair Douglas placed 21st (32:17), Morpeth were once again confirmed as the winning team.

Morpeth’s Cat Macdonald continued her fine year by finishing third female (35:44) with Rachelle Falloon 10th (37:39). The club’s Senior Women were unfortunate to miss out on the team prize to Tyne Bridge Harriers by a margin of only six places.

The weekend saw the British Masters Track and Field Championships taking place at Derby and there were four golds and one bronze won by the three Morpeth Harriers who had travelled to take part.

Two of the golds were won by evergreen Gavin Bayne in the O65 category. On a gusty afternoon, he took charge of the 1500m and made an early break for home on the last lap. Keeping well ahead of his rivals, he finished in a tremendous time of 5:25.

With little time to celebrate, he was back in action only a couple of hours later and once again overawed his rivals with a gun to tape victory in a time of 2:43 to win his first ever BMAF golds.

Nisha Desai won the 400m hurdles in 61.2 seconds, a season’s best.

Scotland based thrower Claire Reid was the busiest of the three Morpeth athletes, however, taking part in Discus, Javelin and Shot Putt, with her best performance in the Discus of 29.94m meaning she took the O/45 title.

She picked up a bronze in the Shot with 8.96m and was also 5th in the Javelin with 13.67m.