MERCIA's Simon Bailey led from start to finish to win the Kettlewell Fell Race for the second year in a row.

Although rain fell just before the race, once it arrived, the sun shone to bake the 74 senior and 132 junior runners as they jostled for position on the start line.

All races start and finish in the cricket field with a mad dash to reach the gate first.

Soon after leaving the cricket field, all courses take a sharp right turn, over gnarly loose rocks, to enter the field at the fell base.

It is now a relatively flat race along the track before a steep grassy incline to “the chimney” and the first false summit.

Once through the chimney the course flattens off prior to the second of three climbs.

Once over the third false summit racers are given the luxury of a relatively flat, though tussocky, skyline trot at the edge of Middlesmoor Pasture, to the trig point before the sharp, varied and technical descent.

The descent starts with a small cliff edge leap before competitors negotiate the scree at Gate Cote Scar.

What follows are rocks and steep grass banking, to test all skill levels before the flat run back along the track, sharp left turn over the gnarly loose rocks, and mad dash across the cricket field to the finish.

The junior races follow the same outward route as far as the chimney summit, to turn at various points and return via the same route as the senior race.

Only the very youngest of runners in the under-9 race are denied the climb through the chimney and the chance to launch themselves from the cliff edge.

In the senior race, Mercia’s Simon Bailey led from the start to repeat his win of 2018 in 11.52, from Calder Valley’s Charlie Ing (12.28), second, and Wharfedale Harriers’ Tom Millard (13.08), third.

In the ladies race, Ribble Valley Harriers’ Kirsty Hall gained an early lead and was first out of the chimney.

However, during the rest of the race, Clayton-le-Moors Briony Holt (15.47) took full advantage of her youth and vitality to win the race from Hall (16.17), second, and Calder Valley’s Jo Buckley (17.12), third.

The under-17 race runs separately, but is the same route as the senior course.

Boys’ race winner, Keighley and Craven’s Eric Beaumont finished in 12.12, which would have put him in second place in the senior race.

Chesterfield’s Finlay Grant (12.54) took second place from Keighley’s Sam Headley (12.59), third.

Solo under-17 girl, Cumberland’s Emily Swarbrick, finished in 19.43 which would have placed her 11th in the ladies race.

Ambleside’s Charlie Allmond repeated his 2018 performance to win the under-14 boys’ race in 9.38, from Trawden’s William Walker (10.17), second, and Keighley’s William Hall (10.17), third, who battled hard during a thrilling sprint finish.

Wharfedale’s Amelie Lane continued her fine performance to notch up another win in 10.37, nearly three minutes ahead of clubmate Olivia Aldham (13.09), second, and Trawden’s Isabel Holt (13.17), third.

Barlick’s Jacob Reeday repeated his 2018 performance to just win the under-12 race in 6.20 from second placed Keighley’s Archie Peaker (6.21) in a close, fast race to the finish. Third boy was Wharfedale’s Tom Hooper (6.45).

This season’s battle between Keighley’s Phoebe Midgely and Barlick’s Lucille Pickles ended with Pickles first in 7.23 from Midgely, who was second in 7.25, in a reverse of their performances at Lowgill Sports. Third girl was Keighley’s Katie Buckley (7.56), mirroring her mum’s performance in the senior ladies race.

The under-9 race was a fierce battle all the way between girls and boys in the form of Keighley’s Bethan Buckley and Josh Dent.

They jostled for position during the race but by the time they were on the return track, Dent was just in the lead to win the boys race in 5.21 from second boy, Settle’s Carl Sanderson (5.28) and Barlick’s Isaac Reeday (5.35), third.

Coming a very close second overall, it was a clear girls' race win for Keighley’s Bethan Buckley (5.22) from Barlick’s Bella McCredie(6.12), second, and Wharfedale’s Elena Hooper (6.13), third.