It was fitting that one of the longest BOFRA Champs races was scheduled for the longest day of the year. At just over 3 miles, Helm Hill Races are a fair romp around The Helm, just outside Kendal. The date also happily co-incicded with the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the local fell running club, Helm Hill Runners, ensuring a huge turn-out their members across all age groups. The weather, while not quite what one would like for Midsummer Day, was not adverse. It was warm and mostly cloudy and the ground was firm underfoot. So, all in all, it was a good day for a race.
The senior race starts with a long run out before a web-like course that takes in 3 visits to the summit the race then concludes with a long descent to the finish funnel. 80 senior runners lined up for a race that was to be marked by a battle of leg power amongst the leaders, where the final positions weren’t clear until the final descent. In the end, local lad Tom Addison (Helm Hill) won the race in 22.14. 2nd man home was Wharfedale Harriers’ Ted Mason (22.26). Ted’s achievement is all the more impressive as he won the Buckden Pike Fell Race the previous day. 3rd man home was fellow Wharfedaler, Jack Smith (22.40).
1st lady home was Wharfedale’s Lucy Needham (29.27), who was also 3rd lady at Buckden Pike on Saturday. 2nd lady was Alison Richards (Helm Hill) in 30.21 and 3rd lady was Nina Walkingshaw (Howgill Harriers) in 30.24.
Turnout in the junior races was high at 114 in total. Considering that many of the runners also competed at the Turner Uphill races the day before, this shows true dedication to the sport in the junior ranks.
The U17 race comprises a single run out to the summit and back via a slightly different route. This year’s outing saw a good result for Helm Hill as 1st and 3rd boys back were Chris Richards (11.21) and Ben Kent (11.52). Between them, in 2nd place, was Wharfedale’s Thomas Nelson (11.34). Helm Hill’s U17 girls also had a good outing as 1st and 2nd places went to Imogen Burrow (14.22) and Mia Senior (15.32), with 3rd girl through the finish funnel being Rossendale Harriers’ Corinna Howorth (16.31).
U14 runners follow a similar route to the U17’s but cut off before the trig point marking the summit and come back via the same route as the U17’s. Broughton Runners’ Ben Edmondson was 1st boy across the line (8.33), with Wharfedale’s Logan Hargreaves-Madhas in 2nd place (8.38) and Tom Humphries of Eden Runners in 3rd place (8.53). Helm Hill’s girls did not disappoint in the U14 race as the first two across the line were Katie Thurlow (9.41) and Mia Walsh (10.19). 3rd girl was Ambleside’s Courtney Hutchinson (10.28).
Always the largest of the junior races, the U12’s at today’s race was no exception, with the usual fierce battle for places amongst runners of all abilities. Notching up another win, Kendal’s Fraser Sproul sprinted home in 5.52. 2nd boy was Wharfedale’s Sam Smith (6.03) and 3rd boy was Ambleside’s Harry Bowen (6.06). 1st girl was Ambleside team mate Chloe Rylance (6.25). Wharfedale bagged another 2nd place as Charlotte Barrett steamed back in 6.50. 3rd girl was Keighley and Craven’s Beth Roberts in 7.00.
The U9 race was again marked by a battle of the sexes for the top 6 positions. Race winner was Broughton Runners’ Alex Graham in 3.04. 2nd boy (3rd overall) was Leo Ranner (Helm Hill) in 3.11. 3rd boy (5th overall) was Dylan Carr (Ilkley Harriers) in 3.18. 1st girl (2nd overall) was Bethan Saunders of Hoad Hill Harriers (3.07). 2nd girl (4th overall) was Wharfedale’s Helena Roberts (3.14) and 3rd girl (6th overall) was Wharfedale team mate Hattie Bishop (3.19).