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What a contrast between our last race at Kettlewell and this weekend's race at Helm. Kettlewell is mostly on open ground whereas Helm is on track, mainly through fern, bracken and woods, so a good start is required. It's also the training ground of the Helm Hill Runners who are keen competitors in our races. The race has a fast uphill start then a gradual descent down to the bottom of the fell. Here the hard work starts with some steep up and down sections up and down the Helm three times; conditions are usually very humid going through the fern and gorse. Finally there's the long haul from the Helm summit on the fell wall back to the start line.
The senior race had a line up of 49 runners and it was no surprise that two Helm Hill Runners took the first two placings. In his first season as a senior Tom Addison claimed his first BOFRA win, in a hard fought race from Alistair Dunn and first 'vet 40' Mark Horrocks. Andrew Grenfell, Tim Austin and Jeff Chadwick claimed the next 3 places. First 'vet 45' Adrian Pickles finished seventh with another fine performance by 'vet 50' Jack Holt in eighth.
Bingley's Natalie White set a time of 26:10 in the Ladies race, which will take some beating in the future. Her ninth place in a class senior field must have been the performance of the day. Second and third Ladies were Rebecca Gledhill and Helen Glover; first Lady vet was Lynn Whittaker.
The under 17's races are exciting events and you would not like to name the championship winner. Two seconds parted the first two runners with James Mountain narrowly winning from Scott Thwaites, who were closely pursued by Tom Sessford, Johnny Bradshaw and Joe Kelly. Last year's under 17's champion Jack Thompson followed in sixth; which tells its own story…the competition's red hot. Only two girls ran with Rosie Stuart and Sarah Wilson first and second.
In the under 14's 24 runners competed. Sam Till had a comfortable win from Ryan Croasdale with Rory Addison closely following in third. First girl was Melanie Hyder, who is flying at the moment and ran a brilliant sixth place. Emma Spencer and Rebecca Swindells took second and third girls prizes.
The under 12's attracts some classy performers and the boys winner James Knox put in a flyer to win comfortably from second place Danny Walsh. James Hall and Phil Done filled third and fourth positions. Megan Stuart was first girl with a credible eighth place overall. Lorna-Jo Nunwick and Nicole Narey finished second and third girls. Competition in the girls is keen with 13 runners turning up on the day out of a field of 30.
Oliver Spencer ran a great race in the under 9's, well clear of the rest of the field. I for one cannot wait for this lad to go up to the under 12's. Next position was another exciting prospect, Ellamae Gibson, with one second parting Ciara Coyle and Lucy Horrocks. Daniel Cardus and Sam Horrocks followed next to collect second and third boys.
On a personal note, I've seen Tom Addison run from a junior, he's an exceptional athlete and a down to earth sort. It's nice to see someone come through the age groups and put in a great performance - the boy did good!
I would like to thank the Station Inn for a friendly welcome for our runners after the race, and a big thank you to our ground crew i.e. timekeepers, flaggers, marshals, statisticians, etc.