Weightman stars as Morpeth Harriers shine in relays

A remarkable run by Laura Weightman was the stand-out moment at the NE Counties Athletics Association Road Relays on Saturday, with Morpeth Harriers retaining the Senior Women’s, Senior Men’s and Men Over 50’s titles they had won last year.

By Keith Hamblin
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 10:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 12:07 pm
Morpeth's senior women's team - Millie Breese, Laura Weightman, Lindsey Quinn and Abi Leiper.

The event was staged at Hetton Lyons Country Park, and Race 1, for teams of four, again combined Senior and Veteran Women and Men Over 50.

This time, the Senior Women’s team featured two of the club’s promising teenagers, both in the sixth form at local schools, as well as experienced competitor Lindsey Quinn, who has been in good form over the cross country this winter, along with two time Olympian Weightman.

In the first leg, Quinn ran eighth place in 13:47, with Abi Leiper on leg 2 moving the team up the standings with a time of 13:29.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But all changed when two time Olympian Weightman went out on leg 3, with the Leeds-based athlete looking in outstanding early-season form as she swept aside the whole of the field ahead of her to establish a lead even before commencing on her second lap.

Completing her leg in a new course record of 11 minutes 1 seconds, it was now down to Duchess High School Alnwick triathlete Millie Breese to defend the lead she had been given, and this she was confidently able to do, running the day’s 4th fastest time of 12:54.

The team’s overall time was 51:11 with early leaders North Shields Polytechnic Harriers 2nd , but over a minute behind, in 52:39 and Elswick Harriers 3rd (54:30). With broad smiles afterwards, it was certainly a day Leiper and Breese will remember for a long time.

Meanwhile, the Men’s O50 race was going on at the same time, and again it was a case of Morpeth working their way past early leaders.

This time Jason Dawson had gone out on leg 1 in a time of 13:05 with Rob Hancox on leg 2 clocking 13:16, but some fast early legs by New Marske and NSP meant a gap had already opened up to chasing teams behind.

Once more it was a case of all change on leg 3, with this time Over 60 Guy Bracken chasing down all ahead of him with the 2nd fastest O/50 time of the day, 12:27.

With Lee Bennett clocking 12:32 on leg 4, the team finished only a few seconds behind the Senior Women in 51:20, with 2nd place Elswick over two minutes behind (53:25) and New Marske 3rd (53:32).

In the following race for the Royal Signals Trophy, run this time over six legs, Morpeth’s Senior Men not only defended their title but set a new course record into the bargain, with their B team just missing out on a 3rd place finish too.

Leading from gun to tape, the lead was never seriously challenged with consistently strong legs by George Lowry (10:35), Sam Hancox (10:57), George Rudman (10:45) and Finn Brodie (10:36).

The day’s fastest leg was actually by the 5th place team member, with Alex Brown recording 10:28, then Carl Avery (10:35) bringing the team home in a combined time of 1:03:56 . This time was over three minutes ahead of Sunderland Harriers in 2nd with their 1: 07.00.