Wasdale show is the final race in the BOFRA championship and with many final positions up for grabs, the races proved to be particularly competitive.
The senior race takes runners on a steep climb up the 2,500 feet of grass, mud and scree to the summit of Kirk Fell and back. Juniors find their turnaround points along the route.
Conditions on the day were not ideal, with half of the imposing mountain shrouded in mist. Whilst to the uninitiated this made the task look less of a challenge, the visibility from midway to the top made this a real challenge to complete the race without losing the track, falling on the difficult terrain, or getting injured. A large number did one or the other, whilst some of us managed to do all three, but we all returned to fight another day.
Despite all the cuts and bruises our runners all showed great determination and tenacity that has made the season so exciting. Well done to you all.
The senior race saw Mark Horrocks (and his compass) claim his 5th victory of the season, bringing him within a single point of the championship leader Alistair Dunn. In 2nd place was Colin Moses, a minute ahead of 3rd placed Bruce Elsworth. Sam Watson put in a strong performance to take 4th place in both the race and the Championship as well as 1st position in the U23 category. Vet 40 Colin Urmston was in 5th place, sealing a great season which saw him finish in second place in the V40 championships. 6th place went to first V45 Paul Tuson, who also claimed 2nd place in the V45 championship. First V50 was Jack Holt in 10th place to seal his position as first V50 in a really consistent season.
The ladies championship couldn't have been closer leading up to the final race, with both senior and V40 categories being decided on the day. First lady was Kate Cooper who returned in 27th place overall, followed by Lyndsey Buck four places behind. Third place was sufficient for Kate Rogan to claim maximum championship points and finish the season as overall winner. Fourth place went to Jane Rousseau. The battle between Dawn Richards and Lynn Whittaker has been relentless all season, so it was no surprise to see the two battling it out for the final championship positions. On this occasion Dawn got the better of Lynn to finish just one place ahead in 5th place to claim 2nd position in the senior ladies' championship and 1st in the V40 category (again, one place ahead of Lynn in each category).
The under 17's category has been one of the most fiercely competed this season and today was no exception. Matthew Fretwell has been troubled by injuries this season, but this was not evident by his performance on the day, beating Tom Doyle, Tom Sessford and Johnny Bradshaw into 2nd, 3rd and 4th places respectively with just 16 seconds between them. The result saw Tom Sessford retain his 3rd place in the championship behind James Mountain and Alex Till. Jack Thompson could only manage 6th place on the day behind Scott Thwaites, but secured 4th place in the championship. The under 17 girls race was missing Emma Flanagan who has already secured first position in the championship, however the three girls brave enough to take on this mountain were fighting for their place in the championship, having all secured wins in previous races. On the day, Amy Fretwell completed a family win taking first place, with a comfortable lead over Emma Thompson and Sarah Wilson to take 2nd place in the championship ahead of Emma and Sarah in 3rd and 4th.
The under 14's race set off with the seniors and despite the short stampede to the wall climb, they all seemed to come out of it without getting trampled. Paul Richardson led the way taking first place ahead of Dale Sutton whose 2nd place secured him 3rd place overall in the championships. With championship positions at stake, Scott Baistow put in a strong performance on the day to take 3rd place ahead of Jake Uren. Their efforts were rewarded as they moved up to joint 4th place in the championship. Only 3 girls competed in this race and they returned home in the same order as they finished overall in the championship, with first girl - Rebecca Swindells finishing 3rd for the season, Mel Morphet in 4th and Faith Biddle 5th.
The under 12's race saw championship winner James Knox put in another strong performance to win his 9th race of the season. As usual there was strong competition from the following field, with Ben Johnstone only 9 seconds behind in 2nd place. James Hall was 5 seconds behind in third place to secure second place in the championship ahead of Ben. Sam Stockdale put in a strong performance to finish 4th in the day (5th overall), ahead of Phil Done (4th overall) and Declan Bulmer (6th). Lorna-Jo Nunwick finished the season as she started it, with another win, taking her tally to twelve. Nicole Narey pulled out the stops to complete her eighth race in 2nd place, ahead of Lilly Hodgson and Ellamae Gibson to finish 2nd overall in the championship. Next Girl was Chelsey Holder who finished in 5th place on the day and 4th overall.
As usual thanks must go to everyone involved in the organisation of the race, particularly to the support from the Fell rescue teams that spent a couple of hours at the summit of Kirk Fell in dismal conditions to ensure that everyone arrived safely.
So that is it for the Championship this year, but there is still some opportunity for a bit of fun at the Malham charity relays at 11.30 on Sunday 21 October. Finally we have the BOFRA Presentation dinner on Saturday 10 November, so don't miss it.