Although the rain threatened to dampen spirits at the Bradley Family Show day, the clouds lifted on command for the annual fell races. Bradley follows on from a series of prestigious races over the Bank Holiday period and it was pleasing to see 95 runners turn out to compete. Numbers were boosted by strong support from the local Brownies, who turned out to compete for the two new trophies for 1st local girl in the under 9 and under 12 races. The shields were kindly donated by the local Branch of the Girl Guiding association, together with a further trophy for 1st local lady. Each Brownie also received a medal for competing.
The races started with the under 9's, where many youngsters got their first feel for racing distances further than the school field. Nineteen competitors rose to the challenge with 2006 winner Tom Murfin of Settle taking first place for the second year in a row. Second place went to Thomas Kerr, followed by Jack Garside. Jamie Ridehalgh returned in fifth place to claim the shield for 1st local boy. The Brownies fitness training paid off for Sarah Watson, who sailed home to take first place and receive the shield for first local girl. Another local, Lucy Hutchinson was 10 seconds behind in second place, followed by Laura Murfin who came in third.
The under 12's race saw three regular fell runners take the first three positions, with very good times considering the wet conditions and height of the grass along the route. First home was James Hall of Bingley Harriers on the back of a good win at Kilnsey show on Tuesday. Ben Johnstone of Wharfedale Harriers, who has recorded a number of wins over the week had to settle for second place, closely followed by Bradley's Phil Done of Keighley and Craven AC to take third place and the first local trophy. The trophy for first girl went to Anna McKinney of Farnhill who returned in fourth place. Second place and recipient of the first local girl shield went to Jenny Hutchinson who was pushed all of the way by Lucy Boyes in third.
The under 14's race follows the same route as the under 12's, continuing over the fields and crags towards High Bradley. Only 5 seconds separated first two places, with Joe Crossfield of Halifax taking victory on this occasion from Rossendale Harrier Elliot Wylie. Jack Beetham of Skipton AC returned in third place. Fifth place overall went to Pippa Barrett of Keighley and Craven AC who returned as first girl, ahead of Bingley Harrier; Nicole Nairey. Third place went to Bradley girl Sarah Phillip who also collected the shield for first local.
The senior race promised to be a spectacle, with several runners having taken top placings in prestigious races at Grasmere Sports and Kilnsey Show at the weekend. The seniors set off alongside the under 17's whose turnaround point is just a couple of fields short of the fast 3.5 mile course. First home for the under 17's was Harry Croft of Skipton AC who completed the course at breakneck speed. Wharfedale Harrier; Johnny Bradshaw, who won Hebden sports earlier in the week put in a strong run to take second place. Third home was under 14 English Fell champion Melanie Hyder, whose place as first girl saw her take a hat trick of wins this week in the older age group, having won at Grasmere and Kilnsey. Next home was Bradley boy Robbie Swift, who claimed third place and the first local shield. Ilkley Harrier Catherine Gibbons was second girl.
Skipton athlete Tom Anderson may have just moved up into the senior category, but he has been taking the fell running circuit by storm. A third placing at Kilnsey show ahead of former England international Mark Croasdale and many other quality runners, really showed his class. The crowds were well rewarded with another fine performance to take first place in 24:30 ahead of second placed Richard Barrett by more than two minutes. Richard was also first vet 40 home. Third place went to Jason Helmsley of Wharfedale Harriers. There were a number of contenders for the Bob Marchant trophy for first local, but they will have to wait another year, as Neil Pate from Skipton AC put in a very strong performance to finish fifth overall and reclaim his silverware.
The ladies race saw one of the best performances ever over this course, with Ilkley Harrier, Helen Ilsley only 30 seconds short of the ladies' record of 29:10 set in 1999. Helen's first place completed a week that saw her take 3rd place at Grasmere Sports and second at Kilnsey Show. Second lady was club mate and 2006 winner Emma Barclay, ahead of Wharfedale's Tamara Hird in third. Winner of the Girl Guiding UK trophy for first local lady was Val Done.
Once again the crowd were kept entertained by \'local hero\' Roger Ingham who manned the microphone to keep everyone up to date with the proceedings. Thanks must go the BOFRA members who gave up their time to organise registration and timekeeping and to all of those locals who gave up their time and braved the elements to ensure the race went ahead.