Runners and supporters were blessed with a beautiful day at Arncliffe Gala for the 11th BOFRA championship race of the season. The race which usually attracts some top runners, included BOFRA championship leader; Ted Mason from Wharfedale Harriers and race record holder Simon Bailey from Mercia FR. The short race of just 1.9 miles includes a 450' climb, a fast traverse to the summit before a technically challenging descent. 84 competitors set off at a furious pace from the village green and after a strong climb, Bailey reached the turn in first place a good distance clear of the field, with Duncan Birtwistle in second and Ted Mason in third. But no-one can bet against Mason on a steep descent and he quickly gained ground to finish in second place just 8 seconds behind Bailey (who won in 10:38) and 23 seconds ahead of Birtwistle; who was also first under 23 runner. Fellow Wharfedaler, Jack Smith has had a strong season and his 4th place finish was sufficient to secure the BOFRA under 23 title.
In the male veterans' categories, Andrew Grant from Harrogate Harriers had a strong run to finish as 1st MV40 in 7th place overall, whilst Wharfedaler, Paul Crabby Crabtree was first MV45 after just beating Mike Robinson of Dark Peak to the line in an exciting sprint finish. Gary Bastow of Ripon finished 26th overall in 13:51 completing his 8th MV50 win of the season and claiming the category title in the process. First MV60 on the day was John Adair of Holmfirth who kept the title race with Wharfedaler Barry Scholes alive in the process.
The ladies competition has been exciting this season and championship leading Wharfedale Harrier, Emma Hopkinson gained a stronger position finishing in 24th position overall to win the ladies' race in 13:32, 13 seconds ahead of her nearest rival and first LV40, Hazel Robinson of Ambleside. 3rd lady and first female under 23 was Pippa Barrett from Keighley and Craven. Kirstin Bailey from Bingley Harriers was fourth with Judith Marshall from Settle just beating first LV45, Jean Powell from Wharfedale Harriers to the line.
The under 17 category race over the same distance as the seniors and their finishing times show a great deal of promise for the future of the sport. Race winner Ruaridh Mon -Williams of Ilkley Harriers finished in a time of 11:59 which would have secured him 8th place in the senior race. Second boy was Thomas Nelson of Wharfedale Harriers in a sprint to the line with Matthew Merrick of Bingley Harriers; whilst Matthew's sister Victoria finished in 6th place overall to take the 1st girl's prize. Katherine Lawson of Helm Hill was second with Genevive Durrans in third.
Whilst the under 14's race is a shorter route, it incorporates as much climb as the senior race and an arguably more challenging descent. The race was dominated by Joshua Boyle of Hyndburn whose time of 8:27 knocked a massive 34 seconds off the previous race record. Euan Brennan From Ilkley was second in 9:32 just 2 seconds ahead of Raffi Quirke. First girl was Briony Holt from Clayton-le-Moors in 10:10, with Mia Walsh from Helm Hill second and Abbie Allan third.
In the Under 12's race Fraser Sproul of Kendal narrowly missed beating his record set last year by 6 seconds, winning the race in 6:57, with Louis Hudson of Keighley and Craven narrowly beating Thomas Marshall of Settle Harriers by 3 seconds. First girl was Wharfedaler Charlotte Barrett, who finished in 8th overall and convincingly winning the girls' race ahead of Lauren Gregg of Rossendale in second and Poppy Anderson of Ilkley Harriers in third.
The under 9's race comprises an uneven and challenging course leading up to the fell side and was won by Wharfedaler Nathan Caunt in 5:58, just 8 seconds ahead of Finlay Testa from Rossendale Harriers. Fellow Wharfedaler, Laurie Powell was third. Just 19 seconds separated the first three girls with Beau Walkingshaw of Eden Runners taking victory over Lily Smith in second and Maggie Hudson of Keighley and Craven in 3rd.
As is tradition, the fell runners went on to take a large part in all of the activities of the show, winning the tug-of-war competition against strong local opposition, whilst with Ted Mason and his partner Jonathan (Action) Jackson won the strongman competition.