Our runners turned up at Kirkby Gala to race to find that due to torrential rain in the morning a lot of the side shows had been called off because the Gala Field was soddened. Nevertheless the sports side of it continued and we got our normal warm welcome from the organisers of the Gala and despite the downpours our juniors enjoyed themselves with what entertainment was there. Both our juniors and seniors enjoyed the fine array of cakes and confectionery put on by the ladies at Kirkby.
The senior fell race saw a record number of seniors for this event and what's more astounding is that 33 of the 45 runners were over 40's. Was this a vet's championship race? Ted Mason never fails to amaze me, in a race which is quite runnable with road, fell and moorland sections he found another gear and held off Alastair Dunn to cross the line in first place. The pair of them were a couple of minutes in front of Bingley Harrier Lee Athersmith; 'a class act' on his day. Not far off Lee was the 1st over 40, Kendal's Paul Dugdale with Mark McGoldrick in 5th . Our next 3 runners were all over 50's with Adrian Pickles putting quite a gap between him and the chasing pair Jack Holt and Paul Harlow. 9th was Stuart Hunn, who was also the first u'23 man, followed by 1st o'45 Colin Urmston.
In the ladies race Lisa Lacon had a flyer to come back 13th overall in the main event and well in front of her rivals. Evelyn Dugdale was 2nd lady home and 1st vet with Lynn Whittaker taking 3rd place in front of Dawn Richards, Val Done and Sue Narey. This is one of the longest races we do in the championship, they may come steeper but they don't come much harder.
The under 17's once again gave us an exciting finish with Ashley Kay holding off the in-form Johnny Bradshaw, with the closely packed Tom Sessford, Matt Fretwell and Jos Addison hot in pursuit. The girls' race was just as exciting seeing Emma Flanagan and Melanie Hyder battle it out on the fell, with Emma ending up a narrow winner. Rebecca Swindells took 3rd prize. The under 17's championship is still wide open and I for one feel that any one of half a dozen runners could win it. So come on lads keep us on the edge of our seats!
James Knox put in an impressive performance in the under 14's and had over a minute up on 2nd placed James Hall. These were followed home by Pascal Dark and Declan Bulmer. Megan Stuart had a fantastic run to come back in 5th place and first girl, with Nicole Narey and Charlotte Cox taking 2nd and 3rd prizes.
Ben Johnstone carried on his winning ways in the under 12's and looks unstoppable at the moment. William Smith kept up his championship challenge in 2nd place with Kendal's Thomas Taylor in 3rd place with one second separating the next pair, which were David Goad and Phil Done. Rebecca Flanagan made it a family double on the day just holding off Helm's Loren Appleyard with Megan Solomon taking 3rd prize.
Lewis Goad led the under 9's home with Thomas Sumner and Josh Newbold hot on his heels. The girls were brought home by Emily Cox with Emma Gittings and Mikey McVey taking 2nd and 3rd placings.
Finally a big thank you to Kirkby Gala committee for making us welcome and a massive thanks to all who helped on the day. Roll on summer, see you in Scotland hopefully!