THE region’s athletes enjoyed one of their largest medal hauls at the Sainsbury’s English Schools Track and Field Championships at Alexander Park, Birmingham.
There was driving rain on Friday, but sunshine with a slight breeze on Saturday – when Northumberland took four golds in three hours.
Rebecca Liddell (Royal Grammar, Newcastle) won the junior girls’ 75m hurdles, clocking personal best times in the heat and final. Niall Flannery, also from the Royal Grammar, had to work hard to take the intermediate 400m hurdles title while Ross Murray (St Thomas More, Tynemouth) was too strong for the opposition on the final lap to win the intermediate 1500m. Laura Weightman (Duchess School, Alnwick) took the equivalent girls’ title, pulling away from her rival Kate Avery of Durham in the final 100m, both athletes clocking personal bests.
Durham landed three gold medals, two in the relays. Samantha Coleby (Framwellgate Moor) came with a late run to overhaul leader Rose Reynolds of Berkshire, who misjudged the final hurdle. Coleby, in her first season in the event, shaved more than half a second off her previous best, set when winning the Northern championship.
The Durham squad of Vicki Holmes, Lauren Arthur, Lorna McMichael and Rebekka Wilmshurst won the senior relay. Durham also won the intermediate relay with Kate Blaylock, Nicola Pearson, Laura Welsh and a tremendous final leg from Faye Bowles.
Cleveland’s Richard Kilty, intermediate champion in 2006, won the senior 100m. He anchored his county to third in the relay.
Andrew Stanton of Durham gained a deserved silver in the senior 800m, clocking just inside his personal best time. Northumberland collected another three bronze medals, through Gina Rutherford (senior 800m), Lauren Dewdney (senior 100m hurdles) and Sally Scott (intermediate pole vault).
Cumbria took two silvers through Sam Coe in the senior hammer and fell running specialist Laura Park in the intermediate 3000m.
There were also bronze medals on Friday from Durham’s Melissa Carr (senior triple jump), Katy Wilson (senior hammer) and Chloe Gill (intermediate triple jump) and Northumberland’s Tim Parkin (intermediate pole vault).
Gill, who jumped a personal best, with Weightman and Avery, will represent England in this weekend’s international event at Newport. Alnwick Harrier David Kirkland won his club’s 28th Northumberland Coastal Run yesterday. In bright and warm conditions 800 competitors ran the 14-mile route from Beadnell Harbour to Alnmouth Estuary.
Kirkland waited until the closing stages before dropping his nearest rival, new Morpeth recruit Lewis Timmins, opening up a 40m lead at RAF Boulmer.
The advantage was extended to more than a minute at the finishing line while third place went to the leading veteran, Phil Walker of Blaydon.
Amy Green of Keighley, also successful in 2004, easily won the women’s race from Darlington’s Susie Rutherford. Nicola May of Carnegie finished third.
Northumberland took four golds in three hours