Kirkby Gala Fell Race Results
Saturday 24th June 2017
Race ReportThe night before this year’s Kirkby Gala Fell Race did not bode well as high winds and heavy drizzle beat down on the fells of South West Cumbria. However, as the day dawned the rain ceased but the wind remained for much of the day, offering some cooling comfort to the runners as they raced around a modified course.
All race routes start and end in the gala field and the senior route is a challenging double summit race taking in Out Park and Bank House Moor. It starts with a mad sprint as runners aim to be first through the narrow stile to leave the gala field. Now on the road, there is a climb to the fields at Beck Side and a seemingly endless steep ascent through grazing fields, over barbed wire fences and walls to reach the fell proper and the first summit at Out Park. Turning right, the course becomes undulating moorland as runners descend to the cattle grid and the second climb. This is where the route changed for this year, as it remained on the side of Bank House Moor being visible form the Gala field. The second summit and turn point was marked by a sharp left turn by an old quarry spoil heap onto a gnarly track and the first of two return descents. Runners meet the cattle grid again and climb back up Out Park and the steep descent back to the gala field. If runners avoided the thistles on the way up, they can’t on the way down as speed takes over and the thistles catch legs. Additionally, the heavy drizzle from the night before had made the bogs extra muddy giving runners that distinctive “fell runners tan.” Despite the rain, the thistles and the bogs, an eager 53 senior and 77 junior runners toed the line waiting for the signal to go.
From the off the senior race was a tussle for supremacy as runners vied for lead position. However, by the time runners left the road, eventual race winner, Wharfedale Harriers’ Ted Mason was in the clear lead, leaving the rest in his wake. The new course is slightly longer than the old route and Mason ran home in 33.10 mins, notching up a 6th win and entry on the winners’ board. 2nd and 3rd men were Helm Hill’s Ben Proctor (33.45) and Ambleside’s John Atkinson (34.09).
Wharfedale’s Pippa Barrett won the ladies race (41.30), with a clear lead over team mate Jean Powell (43.20) and Helm Hill’s Kathleen Aubrey (44.33).
The U17 course goes to the summit of Out Park and back and was won by Settle Harriers’ Sebastian Segger-Staveley (19.05) from Keighley and Craven’s Eric Beaumont (19.53) and Kendal’s Jacob Smith (20.34). The girls’ race was won by Dallam’s Rosie Woodhams (20.00), who came 3rd overall, continuing her excellent season. 2nd and 3rd girls were Clayton-le-Moors’ Briony Holt (20.43) and Bingley Harriers’ Emily Field (21.14).
Turning part way up the steep side of Out Park, the U14 race is a tough out and back route. Wharfedale team mates Alexander Thompson and Sam Smith led the runners out of the Gala field with Smith gaining the lead as they climbed the fell. Smith maintained his lead to win (14.58) from Thompson (15.40) and Ambleside’s Harry Bowen (16.07). Wharfedale’s Alice Jones won the girls’ race (16.16) coming 4th overall with a clear win from Ilkley Harriers’ Bernadette Raven (17.01) and Keighley’s Beth Roberts (17.16).
Calder Valley’s William Hall maintained his excellent form as he romped home first in the U12 race (8.51) ahead of Blackburn Harriers’ Dexta Thompson (9.09) and Ambleside’s Rowan Ashworth (9.16). Girls’ race winner was Leven Valley’s Olesia Winder (9.21), again continuing her superb form this season. 2nd and 3rd girls were Helm Hill’s Sarah Smith (10.10) and Otley’s Charlotte Rawstron (10.18).
The U9 race is spared trial by thistle and wall as they run 2 circuits of the Gala field with applause all the way. Boy’s race winner was Ambleside’s Tom Ashworth (2.25) from Settle’s Jack Sanderson (2.29) and Ilkley’s Tom McCarthy (2.33). The girls race was as competitive as ever with Barlick’s Chloe Boothman winning (2.43) from team mate Evie Scott (2.46) and Settle’s Lucy Bagot (2.48) a mere 5 seconds behind the winner.