OLYMPIC triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee provided the fitting send off for race organisers Dave and Eileen Woodhead.

He won Sunday’s Auld Lang Syne Fell Race at Penistone Park, Haworth which brought down the curtain on 33 years of race promotion by the popular Keighley couple.

Brownlee and his younger brother Jonny cut their racing teeth in events organised by the couple lovingly known as the Woodentops.

And after winning the race for the fifth time Brownlee conducted the chocolate throw out which is one of the popular features of their races.

Dave, who is 60 this month, and Eileen, 58, have organised the Stoop, Auld Lang Syne, Stanbury Splash, Withins Skyline and Bunny Runs since 1984, and will continue to photograph the races, but have handed over the organisation to the Wharfedale Harriers club.

Su Thompson, the Craven Herald’s fell running correspondent and treasurer of the club, said: “Dave and Eileen will be a hard act to follow.

“They have created and organised these races and built them up so that they have become big events.”

She added: “it was extremely flattering for the club when Dave asked Lynda Hargreaves if we would take on responsibility for all the races each year.

“We have already discovered just how much work is involved and it will be very much a club effort.

“It is amazing just how much Dave and Eileen have put in to organising these races and making them such a success.”

The Wharfedale Harriers are expected to retain many of the existing features of the races, but plan to add “their own little twists.”

One element of the races which is not going to disappear is the chocolate throw out. “The prospect of free chocolate at the end of a race has persuaded many a youngster to get out of bed on a cold winter morning and go racing,” said Thompson.

One thing that will change is the fact that different individuals will be responsible for organising each of the events with members of the club working as stewards and officials as part of a team effort.

The first race that the Wharfedale Harriers will organise is the Stanbury Splash on January 14.

The club is preparing for the challenge and wants to show that the Woodheads have passed the baton on to worthy successors.