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It was a mixed forecast for the 2012 Family day, but in the end it turned out to be a fine sunny day, in fact the conditions made the fast course all the more challenging.
As is usual practice, the races were started with the Under 9's race which attracted 25 runners, including 7 locals. The grass on the race route was quite long slowing down the runners, but Alexander Thompson from Keighley & Craven came through as winner in 3:01, just 4 seconds ahead of Will Atkinson. Third place went to Sam Smith. In fifth place in 3:23 was Emma Lloyd; who won the prize for first female runner as well as the first local girl trophy donated by Bradley Brownies. In doing so, she beat the existing girl's record by just one second. And one second behind on the day was Toby Meynell who took the trophy for first local boy. Second Girl was Katie Handley, with Niamh McInnes from Bradley in third.
The second race of the day was the under 12's which traverses the fields for half a mile to the Heath and back. 38 runners took part, but it in the end it was a convincing win For Elliot Brett of Keighley & Craven in 6:35. Second place went to Logan Hargreaves Madhas, with Wharfedale Harrier clubmate Jack Muir in third. Richard Done was first local. The girl's race saw a strong run from Katie Atkinson to finish as first girl in 7:46, 8 seconds ahead of Keera Nelson from Wharfedale Harriers in second and Laura Knowles from Keighley & Craven 4 seconds behind in third. Fifth girl was Lucy Fryers who collected the first local girl trophy.
The Under 14's race included some talented runners, including the under 12's record holder James Lund, who showed that the fast course suited him well. The Keighley & Craven runner was comfortable winner in 10:55, with Matthew Merrick from Bingley Harriers in second and Josh Newbold from Wharfedale Harriers in third. Next runner back was Victoria Merrick, keeping the trophies in the family by winning the girls' race in 12:06, pushing last year's winner; Sarah Pickering from Ilkley Harriers into second. Eleanor Robinson from Keighley & Craven was third girl, with Josh Swift taking the trophy for first local.
The senior race takes runners over the fields to High Bradley, where they join a farm track to the foot of the moor, followed by a sharp climb to the summit. The under 17s run with the seniors along the same route, but turn around 400m below the summit. This year the resident livestock made it necessary to re-route part of the course onto adjacent fields. The long grass and additional obstacles made slower times inevitable. Despite this, the race set off at a furious pace, and with last year's winner and record holder Tom Adams unable to compete due to injury, local runner Luke Maude set off from the front. Despite a chasing pack of four Wharfedale Harriers, the Skipton runner held on to his lead for the whole race to finish in a very credible time of 26:55 on the extended course. Dave Kirkham was just half a minute behind to finish second, whilst Gareth Hird managed to pass Jonny Bradshaw on the descent to claim third place by just 10 seconds. Next home and completing the Wharfedale quartet was Jason Hemsley to finish 5th and first MV40.
Ian Rowbotham from Ilkley Harriers has been quiet on the circuit this year, but his 7th place finish showed that he was still in top form to claim the first MV50 prize, whilst club-mate Geoffrey Howard was first MV60. Since Luke Maud has recently moved out of the village, he has had to give up his first local trophy, which was claimed this year by fellow Skipton runner Robbie Swift in 18th place.
The ladies' race included the winners from the last two races, but it was a strong performance from an in-form Clare Pearson to take first place and another win for Skipton AC in 31:35. Last year's winner Emma Barclay from Ilkley Harriers was the first LV40 runner but had to settle for second place in the open race this year. Kirsty Hall from Wharfedale Harriers was third, with club-mate, Lynn Whittaker as first LV50.
Whilst the seniors were battling it out, the under 17's were there in the mix. However with the benefit of a shorter course, the first two under 17's had no intention of being caught by the senior pack. First runner back was Declan Bulmer from Wharfedale Harriers followed by Jacob Boyle from Hyndburn. Ruaridh Mon-Williams was just caught by the first senior to finish in third place. Next under 17 was last year's winner Georgia Malir from Ilkley Harriers ahead of teammate Lucy Williamson in second and Zara Knappy from Keighley and Craven in third. First local boy was Phil Done in fifth place and Jenny Hutchinson completed the local line-up as fifth girl.
Thanks must go to all of the runners, helpers and supporters who made this a really enjoyable and successful event.