ON a warm August evening, Silsden was the starting point for the beast of a race that is the King’s Challenge.

Originally setting off from outside the King’s Arms public house, an increase in traffic through the centre of the village has necessitated a change of plan. The race now starts in Silsden Park but is no less of a challenge.

Following public footpaths, the first half of the race is a relentless uphill grind, challenging the thighs of even the strongest runners. From the park there is a short road section before chasing up through the fields and walled path towards Haw Farm.

Runners must then cross the road and make their way up through High Swartha farm. From here there is a brief respite of downhill before a boggy chase to North End Farm. Another short run along Lightbank Lane leads to the fell proper and a steep push up the Nab towards Windgate Nick.

No time to rest a while on the very convenient bench as racers now enjoy a skyline run across Addingham High Moor towards the trig point marking both the highest point and the turn point of the race.

After rounding the trig runners now make their way back to the band stand in the centre of Silsden and hope to not get lost on the way. Although the route is well marked there are many opportunities for wrong turns.

In addition to being a popular race with locals, this year the race formed part of the Fell Runners Association “50 at 50,” a varied mix of 50 races celebrating 50 years of the FRA. 91 runners of all shapes and sizes toed the extended start line to take on this 6 mile, lung-busting, thigh crunching race.

There were various battles along the way as runners vied for places, not least between the eventual 2nd and 3rd ladies who swapped and changed positions throughout the race.

The eventual winner, Pudsey and Bramley’s Paul Pružina led for most of the way and finished in a blistering 42.00 mins from local favourite Bingley Harriers’ Ian Holmes, 2nd, (42.30) and Baildon’s Michael Malyon, 3rd, (42.35). The ladies race was won by Ilkley Harriers’ Fay Walsh (54.33) from the Silsden based duo of Wharfedale Harriers’ Lucy Needham, 2nd, (60.25)and Katherine Kirkham, 3rd (60.38).