After the vast numbers who descended on Buckden last year for the Championship Race, it was once more business as usual, with the race reverting to a balance of locals and a few from further afield.
For a change the weather was kind and visitors to Buckden, either for the Gala or the Fell Race, were greeted with lovely warm sunshine. As a result of the recent good weather, the beck was reduced to a trickle and easy for the runners to cross, but the ascent to the fell gate seemed as steep and daunting as ever.
Neal Crampton of Torq Trail Running is renowned for his ascending abilities and he took an early lead and was the first to the summit, along with Nigel Wood of Coniston. However, close behind them were locals Ted Mason and Sam Watson, both of Wharfedale Harriers.
Both are well known for their ability to descend quickly and none more so than Ted. Once past the summit, Ted moved into the lead with Sam close behind him and these two opened up a gap on the chasing pack.
It was a fast and furious descent, even on the steep section back down to the beck and in the end, Ted Mason ran out the winner ahead of Sam Watson, with Nigel Wood of Coniston in third place. Ted has won most of the fell races in the Wharfe Valley and although he has been second on several occasions, first place at Buckden has previously eluded him. It was therefore a welcome sight to see him crossing the finishing line first.
The ladies race saw a return of previous race winner, Ally Raw of Bingley Harriers. Although she is now over fifty, she is still a force to be reckoned with on the fells and once more she stormed to victory over Lorraine Slater of Barlick Fell Runner and Rachel Lowther, also of Barlick Fell Runners.
It was nice to welcome back Norman Bush of Ilkley Harriers and although he is now over 70, he still finished about half way up the field. It was also nice to see fell running legend Jean Rawlinson at the race and although over 60, she still finished in front of both younger women and men.
Results: 1 Ted Mason 35:09, 2 Sam Watson 35:59, 3 Nigel Wood 37:17, 4 Neal Crampton 37:29, 5 Mark Taylor 38:34.
Ladies Race: 1 Aly Raw 46:16, 2 Lorraine Slater 50:30, 3 Rachel Lowther 51:11, 4 Jean Powell 52:01, 5 Jean Rawlinson 53:44.
If you have any queries or require further information, please contact Graham Wadsworth on 01535 636998 or 07976 794749 or email:graham.wadsworth44:gmail.com