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 first junior race set off, it was drizzling and by the time the seniors set off, it was raining properly.
The senior race, involving 800 feet of ascent over the two-mile course, leaves the show field before doglegging up the first part of the hill. The fell proper is reached about one-third 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 yards of flat tarmac before returning through the woods and the way they came.
The race ends with a three-quarter lap of the showfield, 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 first lady home was Helm Hill’s Hannah Russell (20.32), making it a double podium finish for the Cumbrian club. Second and third ladies were Wharfedale’s Emma Hopkinson (21.53) and Ripon Runners’ Sally Houghton (22.46).
The under-17 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. First boy was Wharfedale Harriers’ Thomas Nelson (13.14), breaking the record he set in 2014. Wharfedale team-mate Robbie Johnstone was second (15.12) and Richmond’s James Donoghue third (15.23).
First girl was Rossendale Harriers’ Corinna Haworth ahead of Helm Hill’s Georgia Stevens (18.25). Third was Keighley and Craven’s Hannah Thom (20.08).
The under-14 race bounds out along the same route as the senior and under-17 course but turns roughly half way up the fell and returns the way it came.
It was a good day for Keighley & Craven and the Hudson boys as Joe was first (13.08) and younger brother Louis second (13.28). Third boy was Eden Runners’ Sam Almond (13.49). First girl was Rossendale’s Lauryn Gregg (15.53), while second and third were taken by Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (16.12) and Wharfedale’s Emily Jones (16.32).
The joint under-12 and under-9 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. Kendal’s Fraser Sproul won the race (8.14), smashing his own record set in 2103.
Second and third boys were Wharfedale’s Sam Smith (8.27) and Alex Thompson (8.56). The race for first girl was a 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). Third girl was Wharfedale team-mate Charlotte Barrett (9.58).