God’s Own County proved yet again that it is the only place to be on a hot sunny Sunday in June. The sun beat down on Kettlewell as it hosted this year’s increasingly popular BOFRA fell race. As the race started and finished in the Cricket field, spectators were able to lounge in the sunshine as they watched the runners as they snaked their way up the fell side. The senior and U17 races follow the same course but are run separately. Leaving the cricket field via the track, it takes a sharp right turn, over gnarly loose rocks, to enter the field at the base of the fell. Competitors now race along the flat track before beginning the grassy ascent to the “the chimney” and the first false summit. Once through the chimney the course flattens marginally before the 2nd of three false summits. Once runners have climbed the 3rd false summit they traverse the tussocky skyline, at the edge of Middlesmoor Pasture, before commencing a sharp, varied and, technical descent. Including the scree at Gate Cote Scar, rocks and steep grass banking, this descent tests all runners before the flat run back along the track, sharp left turn over the gnarly loose rocks, and mad dash across the cricket field to the finish funnel. The other junior races follow the same outward route but turn at various points and return via the same route as the seniors where they re-join it.
The sun and clear blue skies clearly had a positive effect on turnout as a record 102 seniors and 138 juniors toed the start line for this classic short, sharp fell race.
Following his victory the previous day at the Pen-y-ghent race, Wharfedale Harriers’ Ted Mason was beaten to 3rd place (12.10) in a fierce battle all the way, by Mercia’s Simon Bailey (11.33) and Aberdeen AAC’s Rory Stead (11.55).
The first lady to pass the finish line was Wharfedale’s Kirsty Hall (15.06) followed by Helm Hill’s Katherine Lawson (15.57) and Pudsey & Bramley’s Rachel Pilling (16.16).
The U17 winner was Keighley and Craven’s Joe Hudson in 12.27, which would have put him in 4th place in the senior race. 2nd and 3rd boys were Ambleside’s Joe Edmondson (13.36) Wharfedale’s Adam Gibson (13.33).
First girl across the line was Clayton le Moors Briony Holt (15.14) with Kendal’s Abbie Allan 2nd (16.48) and Bingley Harriers’ Eliza Findlay 3rd (17.36). The U14 race winner was Ambleside’s Ben Edmondson (9.09) followed by Keighley and Craven’s Louis Hudson (9.11) and Wharfedale’s Alexander Thompson, 3rd (9.23). The first 3 girls were Wharfedale’s Alice Jones (10.42), Rossendale Harriers’ Lauryn Gregg (11.18) and Ilkley Harriers’ Poppy Anderson (11.37).
The U12 race winner was helm Hill’s Henry Hunter (6.32) with Clayton le Moors Dexta Thompson 2nd (6.54) and Keighley and Craven’s Sam Conroy 3rd (6.56). The first 3 girls were Keighley and Craven’s Beth Roberts (7.42), Clayton le Moors Ella Dorrington (7.58) and Broughton Runners’ Emily Swarbrick (8.06).
The U9 race goes out as far as the scree before turning back on itself, creating a fast, furious descent to the track and eventual finish line. It was a tense and fiercely fought battle to the finish as 3 seconds separated the top 3. 1st place was taken by Ambleside’s Alex Graham (4.47), 2nd by Barlick fell Runner’s Jacob Reeday (4.48) and 3rd by Helm Hill’s Leo Ranner (4.49). The girls were a little more spread out as 1st girl was Keighley and Craven’s Jessie Allen (5.44), followed by club mate Milly Timbers (5.53) and 3rd girl was Mathilda Evan (5.54).