Monday 14 November 2022



ON AN accurately-measured course Adrian Bailes and Amy Fuller were crowned the North Eastern Counties 10k champions after tasting success in the annual Heaton Memorial race on Newcastle Town Moor.

After last year’s course was deemed to be 80 metres short the Newcastle club checked and rechecked that everything was in order this time round for the near-500 competitors who lined-up after an impeccable one minute silence followed by a huge round of applause.

Once underway it was pre-race favourites Bailes (Birtley AC) and Bristol and West’s Jarlath McKenna, who had finished second and third respectively in the race in 2021, who immediately took up the running and couldn’t be separated for much of the contest.

Adrian Bailes & Jarlath McKenna

Despite strong winds blowing across the Moor, the duo reached half- way in 15min 33secs as they opened up a gap of around 30 seconds over a chasing group of three, Michael Hedley (Tyne Bridge), Connor Marshall (Morpeth) and Elswick’s Lewis Liddle with Lewis McConnell (Birtley), Scott McLeod (Edinburgh), Duncan Hughes (Blackhill) and Heaton duo Fred Davies and Lewis Head in close attendance.

The pace at the front was relentless with neither athlete giving an inch until the final turn for home around 500 metres from the finish when Bailes, the younger of the two, made a bid for glory sprinting all the way to the line to claim victory by a matter of just two seconds in a time of 30:41 and while it was over a minute outside Ryan McLeod’s 2015 course record of 29:32 it was only three seconds outside his best for the distance, so, considering the strong winds throughout the contest, it was an excellent effort which bodes well for the rest of the season.

Afterwards the in-form Bailes’ said he was delighted with his victory adding: “Jarlath certainly made it tough but I thought the longer the race progressed I felt I had a good chance of winning if it came to a sprint finish and so it proved.”

The race for the bronze medal behind Bailes and McKenna was sorted around midway through the second circuit as Marshall, who was making his debut over the distance, pulled away from his rivals and it was a happy Morpeth athlete who came home in third place just over a minute behind the leaders and 15 seconds ahead of Hedley with Davies having moved through to fifth place a similar distance back having knocked over two minutes off his previous pb.

In the women’s contest another Bristol and West athlete took the open race honours after leading throughout. Kate Maltby, who is based in the Lake District and an England hill running international, followed up her victory in the Great North 10k on her last visit to the region in July, to claim the winner’s check in 35:28.

Kate Maltby

However, behind the visiting North West visitor, the battle for county success was a much closer affair. Amy Fuller, making her Tyne Bridge debut after moving from Elswick, held a slight lead over Imogen Bungay (Elswick) with North Shields Poly’s Jaqueline Penn a few yards further adrift and just ahead of Morpeth’s Rachelle Falloon.

As the race progressed Fuller continued to keep her rivals at bay to eventually come home three seconds outside her pb in 36:34 to claim the NE County title. Penn finished in silver medal position 14 seconds adrift with Falloon finishing in third place in 37:12 as teenager Bungay slipped outside the medals to finish in fourth spot.

The North East County’s 10k medalists, left to right: Rachel Falloon (3rd), Jacki Penn (2nd) and Amy Fuller (1st)

**Thanks go to Heaton Harriers from the NECAA for another excellent event which is just one of a number of road races run under the banner of NE County Championships.


Photos: Stuart Whitman - Photos here

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