THERE was a carnival atmosphere on streets of Otley on Sunday as the town came together to encourage runners taking part in the 2024 Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon.

About 14,000 runners took part in the marathon and half-marathon which started at the AMT Headingley Stadium at 9am.

The runners followed a circular route around Woodhouse Moor before heading for Adel, Lawnswood, Bramhope, Pool-in-Wharfedale and Otley.

As an official spectator hub Otley put on quite the party for residents and visitors as their runner friends headed on to the dreaded long climb up Leeds Road – said by many to be the toughest part of the route.

After the event many runners took to social media to thank the Otley spectators for their incredible support.

Posting on the Otley Our Town Facebook Page Joe Harrison said: "I ran my first marathon yesterday and have joined this group just to show my appreciation to the people of Otley in particular. The support in general for the marathon was amazing, however Otley was incredible. It honestly felt like the whole town was out to cheer us on. The wall of noise and motivation you gave us to tackle that hill was something I'm truly grateful for. Thanks all."

Ilkley Gazette: Runners in the 2024 Leeds Marathon

Karen Robinson posted: "Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the incredible support you all gave when I ran through Otley yesterday during the Rob Burrow marathon. I wanted to take you all with me - especially up that hill! It meant so much and made me quite emotional."

Mark Harper posted: "I nearly quit the Rob Burrows marathon today until I reached Otley - thank you all you were great. The crowds pushed me on and gave me another wind."

And Sara Cawkwell posted: "Otley, you absolutely blew me away. I was having a right wobble and wanting to give up. I was very proud to tell the other runners that Otley was my home town. Thanks for keeping me going!"

Leeds City Councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: "Yet again Otley showed why it has such a reputation for community spirit as thousands of runners passed through the town.

"Residents and visitors alike encouraged, motivated and clapped just when runners needed it as they turned to head back to Leeds with nine miles to go and the Chevin to climb.

"Changing the route at the request of ward members to pass through Boroughgate and Kirkgate ensured that everyone including the Otley hospitality industry served up a great day.

"I'd like to take Leeds City Council, Run For All, the volunteers and everyone who took part and those who spectated for a great day."

Ilkley Gazette: Rob Burrow and family at Sunday's marathonRob Burrow and family at Sunday's marathon (Image: submitted)

The marathon was set up in 2023 to raise money for motor neurone disease (MND) charities and a new MND centre in Leeds - following rugby league legend Rob Burrow's diagnosis in 2019.

This year it's expected to raise millions of pounds for both of these charities, alongside a host of other good causes.