THE 2020 Stanbury Splash certainly lived up to its name after heavy and plentiful rain the previous night ensured that the whole 6.7 mile course was muddy at best and a deep sploshy grass and mud combo at worst.

The usually benign Sladen Beck and Ponden Clough Beck had morphed into man-eating raging torrents to such an extent that using a distinctly wobbly bridge to cross the beck at Ponden Kirk was by far the safer option than going through it!

The steep descents to both becks were characterised by running water and skis were suggested by many as the best footwear for the job!

As if all the additional water and deep mud were not challenging enough, a strong westerly wind buffeted runners on the already difficult outward trudge.

In spite of all of this, a seasoned 254 runners gathered in Penistone Quarry bottom to take on this quagmire of a race where no-one returned clean or dry.

Indeed, many runners returned wearing an extra coat of mud to add to the overall “fun” of the event.

However, the gods were smiling on these hardy individuals, as a glorious rainbow formed over the moor at the start of the race.

At the head of the runners, Ilkley Harriers’ Tom Adams appeared to float around the course to win in 45.29.

He wasn’t given an easy ride though, as the 2019 winner, Wharfedale Harriers’ Robin Howie, and Todmorden Harriers’ Andrew Worster battled with each other and challenged Adams all the way.

Howie (46.28) finished in second place just under a minute after Adams, ahead of Worster (46.42) in third.

In the ladies race, Wharfedale’s Ailish Graham showed everyone that she is not to be underestimated by winning in 53.58, a minute and a half ahead of international mountain runners, Leeds City’s Emma Clayton (55.28) and Todmorden’s Annie Roberts (56.31).

Although the rain held off for the senior race, it did not for the junior quarry runs.

The north breeds its children tough and this was on full show as a total of 80 lean, mean running machines lined up in the quarry to start their own very muddy romps around the moor.

The under-9 race was the first out of the quarry and the runners completed a double climb circuit before charging towards the finish line.

At the finish it was definitely a case of girls being far hardier than boys as the first three were girls, including Alice White, who won in 2.59, from Ilkley Harriers’ Harriet Carter (3.07) and Mercia’s Bleu Bailey (3.32). The first boy, Freddie Walsh, was sixth overall in 4.03 ahead of Spenborough’s Henry Atkinson (5.00).

The main junior race takes in one loop of Penistone Hill, going round the trig and back into the quarry before the final thigh-busting climb out of the quarry and sprint to the finish.

The under-11 winners were Wharfedale’s Hugo Bishop (7.19) and Keighley and Craven’s Bethan Buckley (7.48), who also won in 2019.

Under-13 race winners were Ilkley’s Alexander Wolfenden (6.36), who won in 2019, and Bethan’s older sister Keighley’s Katie Buckley (7.37).

Ilkley’s Archie Budding and Erin Doyle were the winners of the under-15 race in 7.04 and 7.25, respectively.

The under-17 and under-19 runners completed two circuits of the moor before dashing to the finish. The under-17 race winners were Bingley Harriers Alex Flaherty (11.52) and Harrogate Harriers’ Eve Whittaker (12.40) whilst the under-19 race winner was Keighley’s Eric Beaumont (11.44).