THE Wharfedale Harriers took up the challenge of organising the Soreen Stanbury Splash for the first time after taking over the baton from Dave and Eileen Woodhead who created the event in June 1984.

The microclimate that exists around the moors above Haworth, and is wholly independent of any national or local forecast, was kind in providing fine conditions with intermittent sunshine.

Consequently, the route was the true Stanbury Splash one and the recent wet weather ensured that the race retained its key features of muddy puddles and bog fest appeal along the route down to Sladen Beck and around Ponden Kirk.

Ilkley Harriers’ Jack Wood and 15 times Splash winner, Ian Holmes (Bingley Harriers), entered into an early battle for first place.

Indeed, as they descended the first charge down to Sladen Beck, Holmes was in the lead with an eager Wood on his tail. The 6.7 miles route is a long way and Wood’s youth and vitality stood him in good stead as he powered away.

By the time they dropped into the finish funnel Wood’s “good run out” reaped rewards as he won in 45min 44sec. He was 40 seconds ahead of Holmes who had to settle for second place and the first vet 50 prize.

Third place went to Robin Howie. Wharfedale Harriers’ Dave Kirkham was first vet 40 coming home in 17th place overall. Calder Valley’s Stephen Morran was first vet 60 and Rossendale’s Ken Taylor was first vet 70.

Rising star Ruby Sykes (Holmfirth Harriers), who has enjoyed success as a junior fell and cross-country runner, won the ladies race in 54:38, from Todmorden Harriers’ Annie Roberts (56:03) who is also enjoying fell running success.

The third finisher and first lady veteran was Haworth GP Jo Buckley of Calder Valley 58:06. The first vet 50 was Spenborough’s Natasha Geere (63:38) and first vet 60 was Stainland Lions’ Aileen Baldwin (70:34).

Twenty-seven under-nines lined up for the junior quarry runs determined to win their goody bags and Soreen malt loaf.

To earn the rewards they had to plough their way through a legendary puddle that never dries and climb out of the quarry twice before a mad sprint to the finish.

Wharfedale’s Hugo Bishop (2:46) and Keighley & Craven’s Bethan Buckley (2:52) took the titles. Bethan is a regular at the quarry runs and won the Stanbury Splash quarry run outright in 2017.

In the main combined junior quarry run, which takes in a run around the pond and Trig point on Penistone hill, 82 runners lined up.

Many juniors who would normally compete in these races were absent, having run in school county qualifying races the previous day.

The under-11 races were won by Keighley’s Katie Buckley (7:43) and Holmfirth’s Declan Levay (7:44). The under-13 winners were East Cheshire’s Luke Carrington (7:21) and Bingley’s Martha Jackson (7:27) while the under-15 races were won by Wharfedale’s Sam Smith, who had won the North Yorkshire School’s Junior Championship the previous day, (6:13) and Otley’s Charlotte Rawstron (7:40).

The two-lap under-17 races saw victories for Keighley’s Eric Beaumont (12:34) and Otley’s Holly Davey (15:15).