Veteran fell runner Ian Holmes retained the senior fell race title, for the seventh time, at Burnsall Feast Sports on Saturday.

In glorious sunshine, the over-40s veteran, who is a member of Bingley Harriers, crossed the finish line in an impressive 14 minutes and 26 seconds – knocking 13 seconds off last year’s winning time.

A descent specialist, Ian was 11 seconds ahead of rising star Graham Pearce, from Pudsey and Bramley, who was the first to the top of Burnsall Fell, but could not hold on to his lead.

Another over-40s veteran and former fell race winner, Andy Peace, from Bingley Harriers, took third place in 14.48.

There was also a notable run from 16-year-old Joel Wood, from Threshfield.

Taking part in the senior race, he was among the top 20 finishers.

“He did unbelievably well and is one to look out for in the future,” said race secretary Jim Maxfield.

This year’s fell race had the highest entry for at least 15 years, but the finishing times were a long way off the record of 12.28 which was set by professional runner Fred Reeves in 1977 and which was equalled by amateur runner JR Wilde in 1983.

First lady to finish was Helen Glover, from Keighley and Craven, in a time of 18.57 and first local was Ted Mason, from Wharfedale Harriers, who was fourth overall in 15.20.

More than 70 youngsters competed in the junior fell races, with the various age categories being won by James Stapleton (under eight), Charles Smith (under 10), Joe Stapleton (under 12), John Lockwood (under 14) and Scott Bairstow (under 18).

The 10-mile road race was also keenly contested, with the field including five England athletes.

Leeds City runner Alan Buckley took top honours in 52 minutes and 47 seconds.

And the first lady to cross the finish line, Sarah Jarvis, of Bingley Harriers, won a place in the history books. She became the first female to finish the race in less than hour – and she did so with two seconds to spare.

First local was Graham Booth, of Hebden, in 1.21.36.

The races are just one part of Burnsall Feast Sports, which have been staged in the village since Elizabethan times.

The actual fell race is a relative newcomer, however, having been conceived during a drinking session in the Red Lion in 1870.

The celebration is always held during the Feast of St Wilfred, the patron saint of the village church.

As well as the races, this year’s attractions included brass band music, a Punch and Judy show with local resident David Aynesworth and side stalls.

“We had perfect weather,” said Mr Maxfield. “It was one of those days when everything went according to plan.”

* For the full results and more pictures see this week's Craven Herald.