RUNNERS and supporters were blessed with a beautiful day at Arncliffe Gala for the 11th BOFRA championship race of the season.
Championship leader Ted Mason from Wharfedale Harriers and race record holder Simon Bailey from Mercia FR were both tackling the short race of just 1.9 miles includes a 450ft climb, a fast traverse to the summit before a technically challenging descent.
The 84 competitors set off at a furious pace from the village green and after a strong climb, Bailey reached the turn in first place a good distance clear of the field, with Duncan Birtwistle in second and Mason, third.
But no-one can bet against Mason on a steep descent and he quickly gained ground to finish second just eight seconds behind Bailey; who won in 10:38, and 23 seconds ahead of Birtwistle who was also first under-23 runner. Fellow Wharfedaler, Jack Smith took fourth place to secure the BOFRA under-23 title.
In the male veterans' categories, Andrew Grant from Harrogate Harriers took the honours in seventh place overall.
Wharfedaler, Paul Crabtree was first MV45 after just beating Mike Robinson of Dark Peak to the line in an exciting sprint finish.
Gary Bastow of Ripon finished 26th overall in 13:51 completing his eighth MV50 win of the season and claiming the category title in the process. First MV60 on the day was John Adair of Holmfirth who kept the title race with Wharfedaler Barry Scholes alive in the process.
The ladies competition has been exciting this season and championship leading Wharfedale Harrier, Emma Hopkinson gained a stronger position finishing in 24th position overall to win the ladies' race in 13:32, 13 seconds ahead of her nearest rival and first LV40, Hazel Robinson of Ambleside. 3rd lady and first female under 23 was Pippa Barrett from Keighley and Craven. Kirstin Bailey from Bingley Harriers was fourth with Judith Marshall from Settle just beating first LV45, Jean Powell from Wharfedale Harriers to the line.
The under-17 race over the same distance was won by Ruaridh Mon-Williams of Ilkley Harriers who finished in a time of 11:59 which would have secured him eighth place in the senior race.
Second boy was Thomas Nelson of Wharfedale Harriers in a sprint to the line with Matthew Merrick of Bingley Harriers.
Merrick's sister Victoria finished in sixth place overall to take the first girl's prize. Katherine Lawson of Helm Hill was second with Genevive Durrans in third.
Whilst the under-14 race is a shorter route, it incorporates as much climb as the senior race and an arguably more challenging descent.
The race was dominated by Joshua Boyle of Hyndburn whose time of 8:27 knocked a massive 34 seconds off the previous race record. Euan Brennan from Ilkley was second in 9:32 just two seconds ahead of Raffi Quirke. The first girl was Briony Holt from Clayton-le-Moors in 10:10, with Mia Walsh from Helm Hill second and Abbie Allan third.
In the under-12 race Fraser Sproul of Kendal narrowly missed beating his record set last year by six seconds, winning the race in 6:57, with Louis Hudson of Keighley and Craven narrowly beating Thomas Marshall of Settle Harriers by three seconds.
First girl was Wharfedaler Charlotte Barrett, who finished in eighth overall and won the girls' race ahead of Lauren Gregg of Rossendale and Poppy Anderson of Ilkley Harriers.
The under-nine race comprises an uneven and challenging course leading up to the fell side and was won by Wharfedaler Nathan Caunt in 5:58, just eight seconds ahead of Finlay Testa from Rossendale Harriers. Fellow Wharfedaler, Laurie Powell was third. Just 19 seconds separated the first three girls with Beau Walkingshaw of Eden Runners taking victory over Lily Smith in second and Maggie Hudson of Keighley and Craven in third.