What a splashing days racing up at Kettlewell for the third counter in the BOFRA championship. Runners were greeted by glorious sunshine, a sharp contrast with the conditions of last year. Kettlewell is renound for its river crossing. However shallow it is, some poor souls always manage to come a cropper. Yesterday was no exception and I personally have now made it a run of 3 falls in 3 years!
The u9's were lead home by Wharfedale Harrier Robbie Johnstone who built up a good lead of 11 seconds over Ilkley's Logan Hargreaves- Madhas. In the girls, Lucy Horrocks continued to follow in her dad's footsteps, coming home first girl and 4th overall. Keighley and Craven's Georgia Gray was in hot pursuit, just 3 seconds behind.
The u12's saw Wharfedale have 4 runners home inside the top 10. One of these, in 10th place, was Ellamae Gibson who won the girls race from Holly Carter. Leading from the front was Border Harrier's Neil Orr. A closely fought battle for 2nd and 3rd between Skipton's Joe Stapleton and Wharfedale's Harry Whyte saw Joe take silver by 1 second.
Wharfedale's Ben Johnstone, last years u12 winner has continued his rich vein of form into the u14's as he won the highly competitive u14 boy's race in a time of 7:22. He was followed home by club mate Will Smith who built up a comfortable lead over 3rd placed Danny Walsh of Rossendale. The girls who made up 7 of the field of 18 were led home by new Wharfedale member Nicole Narey who led from start to finish. Zara Nappy of Keighley and Craven was always within close proximity but never troubled the former Bingley Harrier.
Jonathan Bradshaw has set the standard for the u17s so far this season. He has raced twice and won twice. He led from start to finish, never in any danger of losing his lead. His time of 9:34 (possibly a new record?) put him 35 seconds ahead of ever improving team mate Jack Smith. The girls category has reached a new level of competitiveness this season. Last years champion Mel Hyder certainly isn't going to have things her own way. A closely fought race saw Pendle's Emma Spencer take the honours by 15 seconds in a time of 11:50.
In the senior men's, looking at the start line, a top class field had made the journey up to the head of the Wharfedale valley. Familiar faces included Alastair Dunn, Ted Mason and Lee Athersmith along with many more. Of course, anything can happen at Kettlewell, particularly with the river crossing both on the way out and the way in. Lee Athersmith and Jack Thompson seized the initiative early on, setting a blistering pace up front. When the runners emerged over the brow of the fell, local lad Ted Mason had opened up a good lead over Alastair Dunn, which he held onto to make it 2 victories in 2 years in a very respectable time of 12:59. 3rd was Skipton's u23, James Mountain, who has been particularly prominent on the short sharp races since he was a youngster.
Lisa Lacon has recorded wins at Sedbergh and Coniston so far, beating Ilkley's u23 Jenny Dybeck on both occasions. A typically gutsy climb left Jenny just two places behind Lisa at the summit, but Lisa's descending experience came into play as she opened up a 16 second lead, taking victory in 16:43.
So 3 down and 12 to go. Certainly lots more twists and turns to come yet! Next stop, Weets on Wednesday and Buckden next Saturday!