RAIN most definitely did not stop play at this year’s Cowling Gala fell race.

The wet weather varied between a gentle covering to torrential downpour during each of the various races, being the lightest during the joint Under-17 and senior race.

The races start with a mad sprint across the field to reach either the narrow stile or, for the more agile, a high wall to be scaled in order to reach the road crossing and route to the fell.

Upon reaching the fell, runners clamber over rocks to the summit at Salt Pot, or Wainman’s Pinnacle.

The race then becomes a skyline run along Earl Crag to the Pepper Pot, or Lund’s Tower.

Runners round the tower before returning the way they came to the finish line. To make the going tougher, the return skyline run has a slight incline which slows even the fastest of runners.

Despite the weather, it was u17s runner, and last year’s second-placed Alex Thompson, of Wharfedale Harriers, who showed the seniors how to run a fell race.

He led form the start and in the opinion of former winner, Keighley and Craven’s Ian Wills, he 'toyed' with him for the whole of the course.

As in previous years Thompson finished the race with a flourish as he hurdled the wall back into the field and made his leisurely way to the finish line to win in 20 minutes 48 seconds from Willis second (20.54) and Wharfedale’s Declan Bulmer in third place overall (21.46).

The ladies race was won by Pippa Barrett (26.01), despite making a bad route decision “somewhere at the back of beyond on the top” from Barlick’s Emma Pease, second (28.26) and Wharfedale’s Lynda Hargreaves third (34.27).

As in previous years, the u14s race was won overall by a girl, further dispelling the myth that boys are better than girls at fell running.

However, Wharfedale’s Amelie Lane was not satisfied with merely winning the race, but also set a new course record of 10.51 in what can only be described as challenging conditions.

Second girl was Keighley’s Scarlett Metcalfe, over two minutes later (12.57) ahead of Ilkley Harriers' Hatti Bishop, third (14.25).

The boys’ race was won by Wrexham’s Ted Bolton, nearly a minute behind Lane (11.41). Second and third boys were Wharfedale’s Tom Smurthwaite (12.16) and Keighley’s Nathan Caunt (12.20).

Wharfedale’s Tom Hooper scored a convincing win in the u12 race (9.05) from Barlick’s Logan McCredie, second (9.29) and Wharfedale’s James Rosser, third (9.48).

The U12 girls’ podium was a Wharfedale takeover as Emily Anderson won (10.34) from Layla Kirkley, second, (10.36) and Lydia Eastwood, third, (11.08).

Bronte Tykes junior cyclist Flynn Howe showed the u9s runners the way as he romped home to win the race (6.29) from Bingley Harriers' Thomas Jebb, second (6.36) and Wharfedale’s Dylan Alcock, third, (7.11).

The girls’ race was won by Wharfedale’s Elena Hooper (6.41) who finished third overall – another girl who is snapping at the heels of the boys. Second and third girls were Barlick’s Bella McCredie (6.43) and Ilkley’s Bella Atwell-Skevington (8.07).