TRADITIONAL British summer fell running weather returned to bless the Lowgill Sports race with a generous helping of wet weather on the day and during previous days.

In turn, that transformed the hard, dry race of 2018 into a more customary mud bath.

At just over two miles in length, it is relatively short but does have 1,000 feet of ascent with varied terrain.

Starting in the sports field, the race, which is held near Bentham, takes a sharp left turn and drops down through gnarly fields to meet the River Hindburn.

The final stretch of steep descent leading to the river had been converted to a treacherous mudslide by the weather, adding that extra initial adrenaline rush to the race.

Once across the river via a sturdy bridge the first part of the outward climb commences.

Upon entering trees in Helks Wood, the route became a hand over fist, muddy, technical climb over prominent roots as competitors weave between trees.

Almost as soon as runners leave the woods, the gradient eases off and they are treated to a tussocky, puddle-strewn incline out to the summit trig at White Moss.

From here, runners turn left and return via a different route down through Helks Wood.

The descent through the trees is again technical with more than one competitor sliding down the fresh mud on their rear.

The course then meanders over hummocks and through bracken to meet the river bridge.

From here, it is a punishing uphill finale to reach the very welcome finish line.

On the day, the rain eased off for the races making it a humid trial by mud and water underfoot.

Revelling in the muddy conditions, Mercia’s Simon Bailey forged a considerable lead over his rivals and romped home in 15.40, smashing Ted Mason’s 2018 record.

Calder Valley’s Charlie Ing made a return to this race and was again second home in 16.19, taking nearly a minute from his 2018 time.

Last year’s winner, Wharfedale Harriers’ Ted Mason was relegated to third place in a time of 16.33.

Current fell running great, Helm Hill’s Sharon Taylor won the ladies race in 19.18, setting a new recent record.

Pudsey and Bramley’s Rachel Pilling (20.26) came home second ahead of Clayton-le-Moors’ Briony Holt (21.04), third, and both were well ahead of the previous ladies record.

The under-17 race turns as you leave Helks Wood and travels cross country to meet the senior return route back through the woods.

Keighley and Craven’s Eric Beaumont (12.32) repeated his 2018 success as he again romped home in first place from Barlick’s Jack Villiers (13.11), second, and Helm Hill’s Henry Hunter (13.31), third.

Cumberland’s Emily Swarbrick (16.48) ran a fine race to win the girls’ race well ahead of Clayton’s Hannah Eccles (18.12).

Ambleside’s Charlie Allmond (7.35) returned to repeat his 2018 performance and win the under-14 race, which turns just before Helk’s Wood.

Second boy, Keighley’s William Hall (8.28), was knocked into third place overall by first girl, with Chorley’s Jack Lamb (8.42), third.

Wharfedale’s Amelie Lane (8.12) vastly improved her 2018 performance to storm home in second place overall to win the girls’ race. Second girl was Clayton’s Helana White (8.50) from Horwich’s Emma Bradley (10.04), third.

The under-12 race turns atop a hummock after the river crossing to return via the same route and was again won by Barlick’s Jacob Reeday who took over two minutes from his 2018 time to win in 5.20.

Keighley’s Archie Peaker (5.25) continued his good form this season to finish a very respectable second, being chased all the way by Lancaster and Morecambe’s James Brassington (5.27), third.

Keighley’s (5.46) Phoebe Midgely, who is also enjoying excellent form this season, romped home to win the girls race from Barlick’s Lucille Pickles (5.55), second, and Chorley’s Libby Rickerby (6.03), third.

The shortest but by no means least competitive race is the under-9 race that turns just before the river crossing to launch straight into the merciless uphill finish.

Barlick’s Isaac Reeday returned to avenge his third place position in 2018 and win the race in 4.47 from Settle Harriers’ Carl Sanderson (4.56), second, and Barlick’s Oscar Clayton (5.26), third.

In the girls race, Helm Hill’s Isla Jebb (5.12) won, being third overall, with second girl, Barlick’s Bella McCredie (5.13) hot on her heels and fourth overall. Wigan Harriers’ Holly Nicholls (5.36) was third girl.