In cloudy bright conditions, the monster that is Farleton Knotts looked almost docile and inviting. The day was warm but a variable breeze promised to cool the competitors as they raced around this tough and varied course. However, appearances can deceive and this race is not for the faint hearted. Monster or not, it failed to deter as 73 seniors and 92 juniors gathered in the start field to compete in their individual races. This year, for reasons beyond the control of BOFRA, all races started in a different field to normal, and excluded the short road section.
The senior race starts calmly enough in a field below the Knotts before crossing a stile onto the fell base where it winds its way relentlessly round the bracken coated fell. Runners disappear completely as they climb around the back of the fell to emerge at the summit. The feeling of relief at having reached the summit is only relatively short lived. There is the initial respite of a two part adrenaline pumping, scree descent. All the summer rain has worked its own type of magic on the scree, making it very slippery and, muddy at the bottom. This year, many runners emerged from this section sporting muddy hands and rears. Next, there is a balance challenging hairpin turn prior to the real treat of the day: a second ascent! This climb is much steeper than the first and rewards those with hand over fist scrambling skills rather than running skills, to reach the summit for a second time. Runners can now relax into a long run down the fell, following the outward route, back to the finish line and much needed refreshments.
Helm Hill’s Tom Addison made light work of multiple demands of this race to win in 33.41. 2nd man was Barlick Fell Runners’ Jimmy Craig (34.31) and Wharfedale Harriers’ Ted Mason was 3rd (35.13). 1st lady was Glossopdale Harriers’ Caitlin Rice (41.25), who was holidaying in Cumbria. 2nd lady was Edinburgh University’s Louise Mercer (41.31) and 3rd lady across the finish line was Emma Morton-Collings (48.46).
The U17 race follows a similar course to the seniors but has only one ascent to deal with. The first boy down the scree and into the finish funnel was race winner Joe Edmondson of Broughton Runners (19.20), with Wharfedale’s Thomas Nelson not far behind in 2nd place (19.31). 3rd boy was Helm Hill’s Jack Byrne (21.30).
The closing 200m of the girls’ race was a sprint battle to the finish between Helm Hill club mates Georgia Stevens and Imogen Burrow. Georgia held her nerve and her pace to finish 1st (25.50) with Imogen 2nd (25.53). 3rd girl was Keighley and Craven’s Hannah Thom (30.22).
The U14 boy’s race again witnessed a battle to the finish line with race winner Keighley and Craven’s Joe Hudson 1st (8.49) and Wharfedale’s Logan Hargreaves-Madhas hot on his heels, 2 seconds later. 3rd boy was Border Harriers’ James Salt (9.01). The girls’ race was won by Clayton-le-Moors Briony Holt (9.48). 2nd and 3rd girls were Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (10.07) and Wharfedale’s Emily Jones (10.55).
The U12 race, once it is on the fell proper, follows its own course part way up the fell side before traversing scree and returning to the finish line. Wharfedale’s Sam Smith triumphed, crossing the line in 1st place (4.15) followed by Ilkley Harriers’ Lewis Carr, 2nd (4.40) and Calder Valley’s James Duffy (4.48). Super speedy Alice Jones (Wharfedale Harriers) won the girls race, a mere 2 seconds behind the 3rd boy, having raced him all the way down the finish field. 2nd and 3rd girls were Broughton’s Emily Swarbrick (4.57) and Wharfedale’s Charlotte Barrett 2 seconds later.
The U9 race was as hotly contested as ever, with only 1 second separating the first boy and first girl. Race winner, and 1st boy, was Broughton’s Alex
Graham (2.27), collecting another trophy this season. 2nd boy was Ewan Dix of Tavistock Harriers (2.30), here on holiday with his family. 3rd boy was Howgill
Harriers’ Liam Barr (2.42). 1st girl (2nd overall) was Hoad Hill’s Bethan Saunders, again gaining another win this season. 2nd girl was Broughton’s Jessica
Edmondson who just pipped the third boy to record the same finish time. 3rd girl was Eden Runners’ Esme Wakingshaw (2.46).