Despite initial warnings of rain, visitors to the Bradley Family day were rewarded with fine weather and some excellent performances at the annual fell race. The event has steadily grown over recent years and this year saw the largest number of competitors in every age group; with 214 runners competing on the day.
The races started with the under 9's where 44 keen runners thundered down the sports field to the fell. However, the fast start soon split up the field as the regular runners pulled away up the hill. As the runners returned we saw the first record broken by Jack Muir of Wharfedale Harriers in a time of 2:47, closely followed by Eric Beaumont of Keighley & Craven and Joseph Carnelley of Bingley Harriers. Indeed all three runners beat the record set in 2010.; Just 3 seconds behind was first local; Richard Done from Wharfedale Harriers in 4th. The girls race had a real battle to the line and only 4 seconds separating the top 3 girls. The winner was Alice Jones in 13th place overall, with Lucy Fryers in 2nd and Islay Aitken from Helm Hill in third. Just 5 seconds later was 5th girl and first local girl; Lily Bell.
The under 12's promised to be a spectacle with some fine local talent competing, including record holder; Charlie Lowrie of Silsden. The 48 runners set off at a blistering pace, with James Lund from Keighley & Craven putting in an outstanding performance to take first place and smash the record by 20 seconds in 6:08. On this occasion Wharfedale Harrier; Charlie was second, with Matthew Merrick from Bingley Harriers in third. Victoria Merrick kept the medals in the family, coming home as first girl in 9th place overall; over a minute ahead of team mate Lucy Shutt in 2nd and Keera Nelson of Calder Valley in 3rd. Local prizes went to Keighley & Craven runners; Alex Blake who was well placed in 21st and Susan Lloyd who finished as 6th girl.
The Under 14's race had a smaller field, but no shortage of talent, as Bingley Harrier; Emile Cairess pulled away from the other runners to finish comfortably in 10:51. 2nd place went to Ilkley Harrier; Ruaridh Mon-Williams some 30 seconds later, followed by Matthew Barnes from Pendle an equal distance behind. Sarah Pickering from Ilkley Harriers is the current record holder for the under 12s' and put in a determined run in her first year in the new age category to just miss the well established girls' record by just one second. Second girl was Eleanor Robinson of Keighley & Craven, with team mate Hannah Thom in 3rd. First local was Josh Swift who finished in 10th place overall.
The senior race takes runners over the fields to High Bradley, where they join a farm track to the foot of the moor, followed by a sharp climb to the summit. The under 17s set out at the same time along the same route, but turn around 400m below the summit. This is a fast run race, suited to fell runners and road runners alike and the line-up included 2010 winner Tom Adams from Ilkley Harriers (who had finished just a few seconds short of Alfie Atkinson's long-standing record in the process). Tom returned this year with one target in mind, leading the field of 91 runners from start to finish to take the title in a new record time of 23:21; beating the record by 8 seconds. Tom was closely pursued for much of the way by Skipton runner Joe Mercer, who finished in second, ahead of Lee Dalton of Nidd Valley in 3rd. The 1st veteran prize went Skipton runner; Richard Barrett who finished in 10th place, just a few places ahead of club mate Luke Maud who was the 1st local runner in 15th place overall. Malcolm Pickering of Ilkley was first V50, with Dave Tait of Dark Peak first V60.
Ilkely Harriers had a good set of results on the day with Emma Barclay finishing in 26th place overall to win the ladies' race. Lucy Needham from Holmfirth was in 2nd place with a 6 second lead on Silsden's Tamara Hird, from Wharfedale Harriers, in 3rd.
1st Lady V40 prize went to Diane Haggar of Ilkley as her club mate Emma had taken the overall title. Wharfedalers, Caroline Pollard and Val Done were 1st LV50 and 1st local respectively.
Having one record broken in the main event is a great achievement, but, Wharfedale Harrier, James Hall from Bingley showed his potential to challenge for the senior title in a few years time winning the under 17's race in 20:54, beating Billy Pinder's record by 26 seconds in the process. 2nd place went to Bradley Traviss of Halifax Harriers. 3rd place went to Ben Johnstone from Wharfedale harriers, with Club mate; Phil Done, winning the first local prize. Only two girls competed in this very fast race, with Ilkley Harrier Georgia Malir taking 1st place ahead Sally Handford from Keighley & Craven.
Thanks must go to all of the runners, helpers and supporters who made this a really enjoyable and successful event.