IN THE wake of races at much bigger events such as Gargrave Show and Burnsall Sports came the much lower-key Cray Fell Race on Sunday.

Weekend precipitation had ensured that the paths were wet, the smooth limestone was slippery and there was also the danger of bogs, while the final challenge was the hot and humid air after sun replaced the rain.

The races started in a field opposite the White Lion pub, and runners, in addition to the locals, had been attracted from as far afield as Derbyshire and Cheshire.

As a rare fell-running treat, the runners crossed Cray Gill by the stepping stones, rather than by wading across the watercourse, prior to the race.

Starting in a field at the base of the fell, the entrants make a mad dash over the limestone before joining the well-worn, partially-paved path up to Buckden Pike.

Having rounded the distinctive trig and cairn at the summit, competitors now had a choice of their return route.

They could either go “off piste” and bound over marshy and gnarly fell side to reach the finish line, or return the way they came.

There was no apparent one way or the other, which has not always been the case in previous years and, to add extra variety, one dedicated runner even included one of his “22 press-ups for 22 days” sessions at the summit (he wasn't a member of the Pakistani cricket squad either) before making his way to the finish.

After the race, the stepping stones were neglected in favour of the near full-flowing Cray Gill to cool and ease legs and feet.

Derbyshire’s Luke Beresford (Ripley Running Club) won the senior race (25.42), followed by Otley’s Liam Dunne (26.31) and Keighley & Craven’s Ian Willis (27.22).

Ladies' winner was the dedicated Jean Powell of Wharfedale Harriers (33.21), who had raced at both Gargrave and Burnsall the day before.

Second was Settle Harriers’ Judith Marshall (37.22), who was also second lady at Gargrave, followed by Wharfedale’s Su Thompson (41.36).

The under-17 boys’ winner was Buxton’s Dan Soles (20.27), while the girls’ winner was Keighley & Craven's Alana Willis (39.57).

Wharfedale’s Alexander Thompson won the under-14 race (12.42), followed by Dan’s younger brother Sam Soles (12.47).

Keeping winning in the family, Keighley’s Addison Willis won the under-12 race (10.58), ahead of East Cheshire Harriers’ Luke Carrington (11.09) and unattached runner Benji Grundy (17.33). The girls’ winner was Ilkley Harriers’ Amelie Lane (14.42).

Barlick’s Jacob Reeday notched up another impressive win in the under-nines' race (4.46), while second and third boys were Settle’s Jack Sanderson (5.49) and Barlick’s George Fitzpatrick (7.02).

The first girl, and the third winning Willis, was the ever cheerful Betsy (8.01), with Barlick’s Summer Fitzpatrick in second (8.40).