After the recent appalling weather, there was the merest glimmer of sunshine on New Year’s Day. The temperature was OK for January but most importantly there was no rain and no wind (except perhaps from runners who’d eaten too much in the turkeyfest of the previous week!).
The Morpeth 11k race on New Year’s Day is always rather low key but this one seemed particularly so with only 173 runners taking part. Perhaps this was down to other races happening such as the Resolution Run on the Town Moor or maybe people were recovering from the night before, or ill. Either way it felt quite a subdued start with only a small group of runners. There was something of an international feel to the race, however with runners from Lithuania and Germany joining us.
The race begins on the hill above Morpeth Harriers clubhouse/grounds so it’s quite a fast start. Then it takes in the pretty village of Mitford, past the ruined castle, past the church and the ivy covered lych gate. This is the benefit of running as slowly as I do-you have more time to appreciate the scenery! The route then takes you upwards, and more upwards through agricultural land until a sharp turn left and it’s downhill all the way to Morpeth, passing the golf club. Then there’s a small hump as you take the route through Carlisle Park and finish by the river bank (happily not flooded this year).
As you might expect, Morpeth Harriers were out in force, claiming 1st place (Peter Newton 33.52) and second place (Lewis Timmins 34.04) and also dominating the top ten with four other runners. First man in for the Poly was Graeme Cook (35.38- I believe a PB) followed by Will Robson (21st 40.06) and Michael Hindmarch (24th 40.37). Danielle Hodgkinson of Birchfield Harriers (39.52) was first female in but snapping at her heels was our own Jacky Penn together with her dad Greg in 41.45. Second female for the Poly was Cheryl Hall (47.05, and 4th female overall) then Louise Turnbull (52.37, 7th female and 1st V40 female). Despite my worries that such a small field would prove themselves to be both motivated and fast, there were quite a few runners behind me. Most heartening was that they were unattached, and generally in the 40/50 years category. Perhaps they’d made a collective New Year resolution to get fit before time caught up with them. Whatever the case, I was grateful.