It is claimed that the British weather is unpredictable. Not so on an August bank Holiday Monday in North Yorkshire! Cloud loomed as the record breaking 83 senior and 67 junior runners assembled for the Reeth Show Fell Race. When the 1st junior race set off, it was drizzling and by the time the seniors set off, it was raining properly. However, none were deterred as they toed the start line on the show field, watched by a throng of cheering onlookers. The senior race, involving 800 feet of ascent over the 2 mile course, leaves the show field before doglegging up the first part of the hill. The fell proper is reached about 1/3 of the way up as runners leave lush fields and begin the steep, technical ascent to the summit, marked by a large Union Jack flag flapping in the breeze. There is then a chase across the skyline before descending through a long disused but uneven quarry, to reach bracken coated hillside. Eyes must stay on the ground ahead as the hillside offers many rabbit holes to catch the unwary. Runners are now treated to 100 yds. or so, of flat, tarmac before returning through the woods and the way they came. Throughout the course of this short, thigh burning race, runners had to be ever vigilant as the rain made the rocky and grassy alike very slippery underfoot. The race ends with a ¾ lap of the show field, cheered on by admiring spectators.
The senior race was won by Helm Hill’s Tom Addison (15.54), with Barlick Fell Runners’ Jimmy Craig 2nd (16.12) and Wharfedale Harriers’ Jack Smith 3rd (16.23). The 1st lady home was Helm Hill’s Hannah Russell (20.32), making it a double podium finish for the Cumbrian club. 2nd and 3rd ladies were Wharfedale’s Emma Hopkinson (21.53) and Ripon Runners’ Sally Houghton (22.46).
The U17 race initially follows the same route as the seniors but cuts off before the skyline to cross to the bottom of the quarry and back the same way as the seniors. 1st boy was Wharfedale Harriers’ Thomas Nelson (13.14), breaking the record he set in 2014. Wharfedale Team mate, Robbie Johnstone was 2nd (15.12) and Richmond’s James Donoghue 3rd (15.23). 1st girl was Rossendale Harriers’ Corinna Haworth. 2nd girl was Helm Hill’s Georgia Stevens (18.25), and 3rd was Keighley and Craven’s Hannah Thom (20.08).
The U14 race bounds out along the same route as the senior and U17 course but turns roughly half way up the fell and returns the way it came. It was a good day for Keighley and Craven and the Hudson boys as Joe was 1st (13.08) and younger brother Louis was 2nd (13.28). 3rd boy was Eden Runners’ Sam Almond (13.49). 1st girl was Rossendale’s Lauryn Gregg (15.53), while 2nd and 3rd places were taken by Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (16.12) and Wharfedale’s Emily Jones (16.32).
The joint U12 and U9 race again follows the same route out but turns at the road that bisects the fell side, and returns the way it came to the show field. In another case of Deja Vue, Kendal’s Fraser Sproul won the race (8.14) smashing his own record set in 2103. 2nd and 3rd boys were Wharfedale’s Sam smith (8.27) and Alex Thompson (8.56). The race for first girl was battle to the bitter end with Keighley and Craven’s Beth Roberts (9.56) just pipping Wharfedale’s Alice Jones to the finish (9.56). 3rd girl was Wharfedale team mate Charlotte Barrett (9.58).
Many thanks to all that turned up at Reeth yesterday. It's hard work with all the races over this period getting to them all.
Out of the four races two records were smashed again; Fraser Sproul in the U12's returned again to knock nearly 30 seconds off last year's time to win in 8.14. A great finish by the girls too as Beth Roberts and Alice Jones tied on 9.56 with Charlotte Barrett at 9.58 and Emily Swarbrick at 10.01
The brothers Joe and Louis Hudson went for it in the U14 with Joe taking the trophy in 13.08 with Louis just behind in 13.28, Lauryn Gregg taking the 1st girl in 15.53
Thomas Nelson gets better and is much stronger this year and showed that in knocking 22 seconds off last year to win in 13.12, Corinna Howorth clinching the 1st in the girls in 17.57
The senior race was the largest Reeth has ever entertained and had the pleasure of having Tom Addison competing. Jimmy Craig and Jack Smith went off in pursuit, leading the long line of runners up Fremington Edge, but Tom really took off on the descent to win in 15.54. It was not the record set by Ted of 15.23 but still a good time on a first time route for him. Jimmy was second in 16.12 and Jack in 16.23. Hannah Russell is so strong and took 1st lady in 20.32 ahead of Emma Hopkinson in 21.53
A big thanks to the Reeth Show Committee in helping to get the races away on time
Thanks to all