It was a glorious August day in Yorkshire that greeted the impressive turnout of 101 senior and 104 junior runners at this year’s Arncliffe Gala Fell race. 2015 also saw the return of the popular Littondale Fete 4 mile road race. The road race finished before the fell race commenced, so the truly hardy senior runners could, and did, compete in both.
The fell race itself starts on the green, with a sprint run to the track leading to the fell. Once upon the fell, runners are met with a thigh straining clamber over rutted, steep sided fields to reach the skyline, marked by a skull and cross bones flapping in the breeze. Runners can now catch their breath during a skyline run to the turn and then diagonally back down the fell to the track and finish on the green. The sprint to the finish can be impressive to watch and is lined with supporters all encouraging competitors to achieve their best.
The senior race was won by Mercia’s Simon Bailey (10.23), repeating his win of 2014 and collecting himself another trophy this season. 2nd man was Rossendale’s Sam Tosh (10.30) and 3rd man across the permanent line on the tarmac was Wharfedale Harriers’ Ted Mason (10.40). The ladies race was won by Settle Harriers’ Rachel Hill (13.46) with Pudsey and Bramley’s Rachel Pilling (13.59) 2nd and Wharfedale’s Emma Hopkinson 3rd (14.55).
The U17 race follows the same course as the seniors but is run separately, as dictated by tradition! This year’s winner was Wharfedale’s Thomas Nelson (11.37), improving on his 2nd place in 2014. 2nd boy was Bingley Harriers’ Matthew Merrick (11.46) with 3rd place being taken by Broughton Runners’ Joe Edmondson. Winner of the girls’ race was Ilkley Harriers Jemima Elgood (13.19). 2nd girl was Bingley Harriers’ Victoria Merrick (14.44), making it a ouble podium finish for the Merrick twins. 3rd girl was Helm Hill’s Katherine Lawson (15.18).
The U14 race turns at the skull and cross bones making their race a true lung buster of a chase up and down the steep sided fell, and back to the finish line. Notching up another season win, Keighley and Craven’s Joe Hudson belted across the finish line in 1st place (8.53), ahead of Settle Harriers’ Thomas Marshall in 2nd place (9.18) and Wharfedale’s Logan Hargreaves-Madhas in 3rd place (9.26). Thomas was then presented with his winnings by grandfather, and ellrunning legend, Tommy Sedgwick. 1st girl was Clayton-le-Moors Briony Holt (9.59), again winning another trophy this season. 2nd and 3rd girls were Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (10.39) and Wharfedale’s Emily Jones (11.19).
The U12 race turns before the skull and cross bones but is no less challenging for the younger runners. Today, Kendal’s Fraser Sproul broke his own record to win the race in 6.20. 2nd and 3rd boys were Wharfedale team mates Alex Thompson (6.35) and Sam Smith (6.50). Winner of the girls’ race was Wharfedale team mate Alice Jones (7.23) with Ilkley Harriers’ Poppy Anderson 2nd (7.44) and Wharfedale’s Charlotte Barrett 3rd (8.13), populating the U12 podiums with a clutch of Wharfedale runners.
The second record of the day was broken in the U9 race as Clayton-le-Moors Jenson Bentham sprinted across the finish line in 5.36. 2nd boy was Barlick
Fell Runners’ Harley Treitl (5.40) and 3rd boy was Jacob Reeday (5.50). Hoad Hill’s Bethan Saunders proved she is a force to be reckoned with as she again
won the girls’ race (5.59). 2nd and 3rd girls were Wharfedale’s Hattie Bishop (6.09) and Keighley and Craven’s Hannah Robinson (6.11), both now familiar with