GARGRAVE Show fell races were a great success despite the earlier worries over ground conditions created by the incessant rainfall on Friday, writes Caroline Thompson.

The height and flow of Eshton beck was closely monitored and the organisers took the decision very early on Saturday morning to divert the U-9s and 12s race away from the fast flowing river crossing, creating instead a flatter course more comparable to a cross country race.

Barlick Fell runner Isaac Reeday from Hetton finished strongly to take first place in the U-9s race, whilst seven year old Robert Shuttleworth from Gargrave was in second place and claimed not only the first local prize but the McKell shield for the highest placed male competitor from any category. Mia McGoldrick from Giggleswick continued her fine form of recent wins carrying on a family tradition as her late maternal Grandma Karen Slater still holds the senior ladies race record at Gargrave show.

The U-12s race was a real battle for the first three places, but Barlick fell runner George Collins just had the edge over Wharfedale Harrier James Rosser. Libby Rickerby a member of Chorley AC won the girls race and was also in fourth place overall. Local honours went to Monty Carruthers and Emily Claxton.

The U-17s, and seniors did however have the beck to cross but two ropes were securely attached and a corridor was effectively made for the competitors to safely navigate the first hurdle of the popular multi terrain race which takes in meadow, pasture, moor and woodland, before the pinnacle of Sharphaw is in their sights.

It was a family double for the Reedays as Jacob won the under 14s race. Another rising star, Wharfedale Harrier Amelie Lane won the girls category and was also second overall, whilst Charlotte Wilkinson of Norwich Harriers also proved too good for some of the male counterparts finishing as second girl and third overall.

Finlay Grant from Buxton had a good run to finish first in the U-17s race, despite running home with one shoe off, one shoe on!.

Eve Whittaker of Harrogate Harriers was first girl and Will Atkinson of Keighley and Craven AC was first local.

The legendary fell runner, Reg Harrison from Dalton in Furness was fortunately staying in the village so he officially started the Senior race. Reg began his career in 1957 and went on to break 20 fell race records, locally he was the winner of the Kilnsey Crag race six times.

He was renowned for his fearless descents despite breaking his leg early on his career, but by playing football not running!

There was a strong field of 78 competitiors in the Senior race, many from the North West, but also from further afield including Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire,Hampshire and Scotland. However the race does attract runners from all over the world and this year included competitors from Zimbabwe, New Jersey and Hong Kong. Mark Reeves, 57, is a member of Athletic Veterans of Hong Kong and is primarily a track runner so a Yorkshire dales fell race was well out of his normal comfort zone. Mark has lived and worked in Hong Kong for 35 years and was visiting his father in Wigglesworth so reaching the top off Sharphaw and experiencing the tranquility of the show in general would be a world away from the pro democracy protests affecting parts of Hong Kong.

Neither air miles nor age are a barrier when entering the show fell races, with the youngest competitor in their late teens to the oldest aged 74 years. However it was youth who took the top rankings.

Junior international runner Joe Hudson won the Senior race in fine style, though Father Robert, himself a former winner was not that many places adrift. Harry Coates another former winner was in second place and Duncan Birtwistle last years Malham show winner was in third.

Duncan competes successfully at international level in Orienteering competitions, his father John also decided to navigate this years fell race course and despite start line misgivings he thoroughly enjoyed the experience . 18 year old Tom Barrett was first local male and fellow Keighley and Craven AC runner Katie Atkinson was not only first local lady home but first lady overall , a fine performance from them both having just moved up an age category. Katie also won the Weatherill shield for highest placed local female from any category.

An enjoyable afternoon of sport, only made possible by the hard working team who marked out the course in atrocious conditions on Friday evening and then diverted the two Juniors courses in the early hours of Saturday, all race marshals who so kindly give up their time to help with the event and most importantly the landowners for their kind permission and support.


Under Nines Male: 1. Isaac Reeday Barlick Fell Runners 4.16 2. Robert Shuttleworth U/A 4.42 ( Also first local and winner of the Donald McKell trophy ) 3. Jack McLaffery U/A 4.45

Under Nines Female: 1. Mia McGoldrick 4.49

Under Twelves Male : 1. George Collins Barick Fell Runners 6.24. 2.

James Rosser Wharfedale Harriers 6.25 3. Freddie Preece Telford AC

6.29 First Local boy: Monty Carruthers U/A 8.32

Under Twelves Female: 1. Libby Rickerby Chorley AC 6.37. 2. Isobelle Wilkinson U/A 7.54 3. Grace Darlington Ilkley Harriers 8.01. First Local girl: Emily Claxton U/A 9.00

Under Fourteens Male: 1. Jacob Reeday Barlick Fell Runners 9.25 2.

Charlie Preece Telford AC 10.57 3. Aston Brogden Otley AC 11.23.

Under Fourteens Female: 1. Amelie Lane Wharfedale Harriers 9.31 2.

Charlotte Wilkinson Norwich Harriers 10.49 3. Isabella Welch Stowmarket Striders 12.00

Under Seventeens Male: 1. Finlay Grant Buxton AC 13.24 2. Jenson Brogden Otley AC 14.21 3. Will Atkinson Keighley and Craven AC 14.36.

First Local Will Atkinson.

Under Seventeens Female: 1. Eve Whittaker Harrogate Harriers 14.31 2.

Lexi Whittaker Harrogate Harriers 15.20 3. Maggie Preece Telford AC 15.29.

Senior Males: 1. Joe Hudson Keighley and Craven AC 22.37 2. Harry Coates Wharfedale Harriers 23.16 3. Duncan Birtwistle Mercia 23.32 First Veteran over 50: Jason Hemsley Wharfedale Harriers 29.05. First

Local: Tom Barrett Keighley and Craven AC 27.03.

Senior Females: 1. Katie Atkinson Keighley and Craven 31.09 2.

Jacqueline Collins Barlick Fell runners 31.42 3. Helen Whitaker Harrogate Harriers 33.30. First Veteran over 50: Helen Whitaker First

Local: Katie Atkinson ( winner of the Weatherill shield for highest placed local female competitor from any category )