The 2015 BOFRA Championship Season commenced in style at this year’s Sedbergh Gala. The sun shone as 69 senior runners and 80 juniors lined up for the race up Winder Fell. In addition to sunshine, the weather provided a very welcome breeze for runners as they battled the terrain and each other to the finish line. Despite previous rain, the course was dry and firm allowing for some fast racing in all categories.
The senior race is a gruelling, lung-busting effort over 3 false summits to finally reach the trig point that marks the top of the fell and the turning point of the race. The runners have a brief taste of relatively flat grassy running before bounding down the steep descent. The race finishes where it starts, in the show field, giving rise to some impressive sprints to the finish line. The first senior home this year was Keswick AC’s Carl Bell in 19.42 mins., 2 seconds faster than the 2014 winner in similar conditions. Second home was Jack Smith of Wharfedale Harriers, in 19.58 mins. Third man home was Helm Hill’s Alastair Dunn in 21.07 mins., repeating his position from 2014. First lady home was Wharfedale’s Emma Hopkinson in 25.58, improving on her second place in 2014. Second lady was Helm Hill’s Hannah Russell in 26.08 mins. and third lady home was Wharfedale’s Lucy Needham in 26.58 mins, exactly a minute after the leading lady and club mate!
The U17 race followed part of the same route as the seniors, roughly half way up Winder Fell. 2015 saw Thomas Nelson of Wharfedale Harriers repeat his winning start to the season by storming home in 13.27 mins., followed by Luke Bowen of Ambleside in 14.14 mins. Third boy back from the Fell was Jake Wren of Helm Hill in 14.43 mins. The first U17 girl to reach the finish line was Katherine Lawson of Helm Hill, in 15.45, making a repeat of last year’s position but 37 seconds faster. The second girl over the line was Bingley Harriers Lucy Miller in 16.17 mins. Third girl was Bingley Cub mate Eliza Findlay in 16.26 mins.
The U14 race is again shorter than the U17 race but is just as hard fought. This year saw Keighley and Craven’s Joe Hudson return in first place in 12.15 mins. Joe was third in the same race last year, being another athlete improving his performance over the year. The second boy back was Eden Runners Sam Almond in 12.22 mins. and third boy home was Robert Askew of Helm Hill in 12.43 mins.
The first girl to cross the finish line was Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow in 13.50 mins. Second girl was Lauryn Gregg of Rossendale Harriers in 14.35 mins. Third girl home was Wharfedale’s Emily Jones in 14.59 mins.
The mixed U12 and U9 race saw some furious running but the winner was Kendal’s Fraser Sproul in 7.07 mins. This marks Fraser’s third win at Sedbergh and a continuation of his superb running form. Second and third places went to Wharfedale club mates Sam Smith in 7.21 mins. and Alex Thompson in 7.27 mins. The first and second girls across line were Wharfedale club mates Alice Jones in 8.23 mins. and Charlotte Barrett in 8.45 mins. Alice was 4th girl last year, making this race a huge improvement on her performance overall. Third girl home was Keighley and Craven’s Beth Roberts in 8.52 mins.