Oldest road race makes a return

Phil Gray, managing director at Total Racing International, and Hugh Welch, senior partner at Muckle LPP, at the start of the Morpeth to Newcastle Marathon. Picture by Mike Smith.
Phil Gray, managing director at Total Racing International, and Hugh Welch, senior partner at Muckle LPP, at the start of the Morpeth to Newcastle Marathon. Picture by Mike Smith.

Thousands of runners passed through North Tyneside as one of the oldest road races in England made a return after a ten year absence.

More than 2,000 runners, cyclists and health enthusiasts took part in the Morpeth to Newcastle Marathon.

Entrants had a choice between the 26-mile run from Morpeth to Newcastle, which took in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and North Shields, or the half marathon which started in Whitley Bay.

Participants were encouraged to raise funds for local charities as part of their entrance fees, with the event was organised by Total Racing International supported by Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle councils and sponsors including Muckle LLP, Start Fitness and Stratstone BMW Tyneside.

Phil Gray, managing director of Total Racing International, said: “We wanted to create an all inclusive occasion to celebrate the resurrection of this iconic race not just for athletes and keen runners but for families and children too.

“The Morpeth to Newcastle race is the oldest road-race in England which ran for 100 years regularly attracting Olympians, world record holders and running legends.

“The race is still held in high regard by the running population of the UK and it speaks volumes that over 2,000 people have turned out to take part in this first re-run since 2006.

“I would like to thank everyone who took part in the various and in particular the local councils, sponsors and of course all the participants.”

Hugh Welch, senior partner at Muckle LLP, said: “We were delighted to add our support to this historic occasion and celebration.

“The race is steeped in tradition and historically recognised throughout the UK and it speaks volumes for the north east that we continue to celebrate our heritage and values by staging such worthwhile events.”

The 26-mile road race started in Morpeth and followed a specially selected route passing through Cramlington, Blyth, Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and North Shields. The course finished on Newcastle quayside.

The winner of the Marathon was Gateshead Harrier Conrad Franks in a time of 2 hours 38 mins 5 seconds. The winner of the Half Marathon in a time of 1 hour 9 minutes 21 seconds was Saltwell runner Abraham Tewelde.

The original Morpeth to Newcastle race ran for 102 years on New Years Day before spiralling costs forced it’s cancellation almost a decade ago.