What one runner described as perfect running conditions of cloudy bright skies and slightly cooler temperatures certainly drew the crowds at this year’s Embsay Fell Race.A huge field of 83 senior and 137 junior runners lined up to tackle the varied terrain that this set of races provide. and Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (16.11).
All races start in the field next to the Elm Tree Inn and convenient car park. In a break with tradition, the U17s ran the same course as the seniors, providing some extra challenge for these fell-hardy teenagers. All courses start with an uphill charge through the first lush, grassy field. The gate into the second field marks a levelling off of the course to reach the far gate and U9 turn. Once through this gate, the terrain changes to that of farm track. The track winds round the hill and into yet another field where it’s all change underfoot to cross a boggy field and stream to reach the U12 turn. Here the U14s continue right through a marshy field to reach their turn at the fell wall. Meanwhile, the senior and U17 routes turn left, across some equally marshy fields reaching the fell through the grounds of Grouse Cottage. Their course then skirts around the bottom of the fell before climbing up through a steep rocky path to reach the summit of Embsay Cragg. Runners now have some respite in the form of a skyline run across the top of the fell before descending to meet the U14 turn at the fell wall. From here the course back follows the outward route to reach the all-important finish line. and Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (16.11).
The senior race was won by Jimmy Craig (Barlick fell Runners) in an impressive time of 18.53, beating Wharfedale Harriers’ Ted Mason into 2nd place (18.58). 3rd man home was Clayton-le-Moors Danny Collinge (19.51). The ladies race was won by Calder Valley’s Jo Buckley (25.02). 2nd and 3rd ladies were Barlick Fell runners’ Angela Donlan (26.22) and Skipton AC’s Jayne Butterworth (26.30). and Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (16.11).
The U17 race was won by Broughton Runners Joe Edmondson (21.12). 2nd and 3rd boys were Ilkley Harriers Euan Brennan (21.40) and Wharfedale’s Robbie Johnstone (24.20). Wharfedale’s Thomas Nelson, who had represented England in the Home British and Irish Junior Mountain Running Championship the previous day, opted for an easy run out, to loosen his legs, after helping secure an England team Gold Medal. The girls’ race was a Bingley Harriers’ podium with Eliza Findlay (26.27), Lucy Miller (27.28) and Katie Smith (28.33) taking the top 3 places. and Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (16.11).
The U14 race was won by Keighley and Craven’s Joe Hudson (12.32). 2nd and 3rd boys were Broughton Runners’ Ben Edmondson (13.07) and Rossendale Harriers’ Matthew McKay (13.31). The girls’ race was won by Rossendale team mate Lauryn Gregg (15.02), securing herself another trophy this season. 2nd and 3rd girls were Wharfedale’s Emily Jones (15.34) and Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (16.11).
The U12 race was won by Wharfedale’s Alexander Thompson (8.38). 2nd and 3rd boys were Clayton-le-Moors Jackson McKay (9.01) and Wharfedale’s Sam Smith (9.08). Girls’ race winner was Hoad Hill Harriers’ Olesia Winder (9.46) with Wharfedale’s Charlotte Barrett 2nd (9.58) and Broughton Runners’ Emily Swarbrick 3rd (10.02).
The U9 race was won by Clayton-le-Moors Jenson Bentham (4.33). 2nd and 3rd boys were Charlie Dawson (4.38) and Ilkley Harriers’ Jonathan Archer (4.40). Girls’ race winner was Hoad Hill’s Bethan Saunders (4.43). 2nd and 3rd girls were Wharfedale’s Helena Roberts (4.56) and Broughton Runners’ Jessica Edmondson (5.01), ensuring a podium finish for all 3 Edmondson juniors!