It is with great sadness that we report the death of South Shields oldest Harrier, Ralph Sheraton, at the age of 87.
Even in his early eighties he was marshalling for the Yachts races, at the bottom of Beach road. Ralph joined the Harriers in 1950 and his running career mirrored the changes in athletics over the past 70 years, from handicap races at summer fetes to the growth of road racing and veterans competitions.
Ralph won his first race, a youth handicap, at Seaham CW in 1950. Between 1951 and 1955 he won or was placed in another 12 races, between 440 yards and a mile on grass. He won the Prinsky in 1953 and set a record for the Yachts. In 1955/57 he won 2 cross countries, at Sunderland and Lobley Hill. He continued running through the sixties and took on some club administration and athletic reporting for the Gazette.
The 1970s brought on new challenges, with the rise of veterans athletics and the coaching of his son, Stephen, and others of the Youth section. Ralph also sacrificed himself to help the seniors win the cross country league. He was traumatised for the next 2 years, having to run from the fast pack! From the seventies onward, Ralph continued to be a more than respectable competitor and at the age of 56 ran the Great North Run in 1hour 20 minutes.
As well as being a coach, Ralph was club chairman, treasurer and the manager of the successful winning cross-country team in 1998. More importantly, Ralph was a gentleman and a good friend.
Our condolences go to his wife, Pauline, his son Stephen and his daughters, Elizabeth and Gillian. Pauline has asked that his funeral be kept a private family affair.
NEMAA medallists were M40 James Johnson and M50 Ian Baxter
Elswick Harrier Judith Nutt (W40) led from the gun to win her first BMAF title. Nutt was initially followed by David Oxland (Notts AC) who comfortably won the M70 race in a successful first season in his new age category. Annette Hamer (Welsh Masters) successfully defended her 2019 title at the same venue. Host area club NEMAA's Heather Christopher (W50), Kelly Bentley (W55) and Carolyn Gale (NYM) added to NEMAA's overall ten gold medal tally on the day – Gayle also breaking the NEMAA record. In the M75 race Paul Bentley and Phil Brennan were locked together for 24 laps before Brennan made the long journey on the day from Stratford upon Avon worthwhile. Darlington`s Laurie Cummings, who earlier in the season broke the BMAF 3000m record took M80 gold.
In a day of ideal racing conditions, the temperature noticeably increased just before the start of the M55/60/65 race. Rob Andrew who recently moved to the north east took an early lead, to be caught and passed by Tynedale's John O`Reilly mid race. O`Reilly third 2019, was caught by Andrew's strong closing laps. Greg Penn (NSP) winner in 2019 dropped to the bronze position. Cambridge runner Peter Thompson taking the opportunity to visit the NE took M60 gold. Running strongly throughout Anthony Whitehouse (Totley AC) finished third overall and M65 winner.
On home ground Conrad Franks (Gateshead), the European Masters Non-Stadia Road 10k Champion from Madeira in 2020 successfully defended his M35 title. Franks had company all the way from M45 winner Mike Burrett (Leeds AC), but opened up a four second gap on the final lap. In the M40 age group Sunderland's Michael Barker held off the local challenge from Andrew Heppell (Gosforth) - third in 2019. Mick Hill made it a M45 Leeds one two taking silver behind club mate Burrett.
Archie Jenkins (NEMAA)
First of all, thank you to all the athletes and officials who made today a great day, we hope you enjoyed it (and the weather wasn't too bad after all!). There were some amazing performances, notably in the women's pentathlon where Nisha Desai made her debut with a Championship record breaking score!
I'd also like to apologise to the throws pentathlon athletes who didn't get an age group medal. I made a wrong decision regarding who should get one, and I will be sorting out medals for everyone in the near future, huge apologies - I can only blame my poor little overworked brain which was completely fried by the end of today, I'm really sorry I disappointed you all.
If you've entered the Brough Law Fell race and you're a NEMAA member, remember there will be medals to be awarded at a later date, once the results have been finalised. Entries for this year's race are already closed, and there will be no on the day entries due to Covid, but the race is planned to take place in March 2022, and our members are encouraged to enter the NEMAA Fell Racing Championships which are incorporated into the race - further details will be published on our fixtures page when they are available.
The BMAF and NEMAA 10,000m Track Championships will be taking place within our Pentathlon on Sunday September 19th. Entries for the Championships are ONLY available through OpenTrack - Please read the instructions on THIS PAGE before you enter. You must already be registered with OpenTrack to enter. If you are a member of NEMAA and are unsure whether or not you are already registered, do NOT attempt to register yourself, please contact George Routledge who can check your status and add you if necessary.
However, you don't need to be a member of NEMAA to enter this event, and any Masters athlete is eligible to enter, though you will of course still need to be registered with OpenTrack if you aren't already - non-NEMAA members can do this themselves.
This is your chance to compete in a Masters Champs right on your doorstep - don't miss out!