BLISTERING heat added that extra dimension of competition to this year’s BOFRA Helm Hill Fell race.

Always a hot one, due to the tall bracken holding any heat and killing any available breeze, this year it was even tougher in extremely hot and windless conditions. However, these extreme conditions, coupled with Father’s day, did not deter 62 senior and 128 juniors from taking on the challenge.

Starting near the Station Hotel at Oxenholme, the race has a long, undulating, run out to the woods at the other end of The Helm, from where it winds, in a web-like fashion, up and down and around The Helm.

As it progresses it takes in more woodland, tall bracken and a variety of wildlife that would be a pleasant distraction were it not a race.

After visiting the trig for a third and final time, there is an undulating summit plateau run before a long downhill race to the finish back near the start line.

Both the senior men’s and ladies races were a battle of current fell running greats giving an exhilarating spectacle for those watching and supporting along the course.

In the men’s race Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey, Mercia’s Simon Bailey and Wharfedale Harriers’ Jack Smith got off to a great start, battling all the way.

In the end it was Bailey (22min 44sec) who won the day from Mounsey (23:26) 2nd and Smith (25:10) 3rd.

In the ladies race Wharfedale’s Kirsty Hall, Pudsey and Bramley’s Rachel Pilling and Helm Hill’s Catherine Wilblock locked horns over this challenging course.

Hall was the clear winner (28:56) from Pilling (29:58) with Wilblock (31.29) in third place.

The under-17 race was also marked by the presence of some runners who are on fine form this season.

At the end of a tough battle in the boys race, Settle Harriers’ Sebastian Segger-Staveley won in 11:18 from Helm Hill’s Robert Askew (11:34) and Eden Runners’ Tom Humphries (11:45) .

In the girls’ race Dallam’s Rosie Woodhams dominated, coming home in 12:48 ahead of Bingley Harriers’ Emily Field (13:22) and Helm Hill’s Erin Bagge (16:09).

The under-14 race was led out by Wharfedale’s Alexander Thompson with clubmate Sam Smith, Rossendale Harriers Joel Taylor and Ambleside’s Daniel Sanderson hot on his heels. However, Thompson maintained his lead and pulled away on the downhill stretch to finish first setting a new, long-course, record in 8:14, from Smith (8:25) 2nd and Sanderson (8:36).

Ilkley Harriers’ Bernadette Raven got an early lead in the girls race and romped home in (9:53) ahead of Cumberland Fell Runners’ Emily Swarbrick (10:13) and Ambleside’s Holly Dobson (10:39).

The under-12 race saw Calder Valley’s William Hall win in (6:05) ahead of Helm Hill’s Evan Allan (6:21) and Ambleside’s Rowan Ashworth (6:23).

The equally familiar face of Leven Valley’s Olesia Winder claimed a strong lead to win the girls' race in 6:35 from Ambleside’s Sophie Rylance (7:03) and Helm Hill’s Sarah Smith (7:08).

The under-nine race might be populated by the youngest runners but don’t let anyone try to tell you it isn’t competitive!

Helm Hill’s Simon Rigby won the race in a sprint finish (2:41), pipping Ambleside’s Tom Ashworth (2:41) into second place with Helm Hill’s Alfie Addison third in 2:55.

The girls are no less competitive with a determined Milly Timbers of Keighley & Craven winning in 2:59 from Settle’s Lucy Bagot (3:19), and Wharfedale’s Isabella Wright (3:28).