THE past week has been extremely busy for Ilkley Harriers as the off-road season continues to provide some interesting races and great results.

In stark contrast however, the first Harrier outing of the week was in the Wadi Rum desert, providing Peter Tapper with the experience of a lifetime completing the Half Marathon des Sables in Jordan. He tackled the longest distance race: three stages equalling 120km, completed over four days, with the 60km second day seeing him battling temperatures of 41o. Despite carrying an Achilles injury into the race, Tapper completed the event in an outstanding cumulative time of 25:16:01.

Back to normal temperatures and more manageable distances, two Harriers hit the track on Friday evening at the last of the EvenSplits York 5k series. Held at the University of York Sport Village, it’s a great way to improve your 5k speed over the series. Both Harriers had great races with Jane McCarthy taking first place in her age category in 19:38 and Mark Iley just behind taking second in his category in 20:27.

With Harriers Race League points at stake, there was a fantastic turnout of 26 Harriers for the Burley Moor Run on Saturday. An 11km race, the course is steep and challenging, starting in Scalebor Park, heading straight up to the high point of Burley Moor near the Great Skirtful of Stones and then returning to Scalebor. Ilkley Harriers dominated the top 20 in the men’s race:

Jack Cummings won the race in a fantastic time of 42:35 closely followed in second place by Oli Murphy in 43:36; Sam Bentham took sixth place in 46:29 with Matthew Cox just behind in eighth place in 47:21. Dan McKeown and James Batterley fought hard to the line in 12th and 13th place finishing within four seconds of each other; Jeff Green took first place in his age category and Dave Robson second finishing in 51:22 and 52:32 respectively. Danny Thompson completed the top 20 placings in 17th in 52:57.

Ilkley Gazette: Jack Cummings, winner of the Burley Moor RunJack Cummings, winner of the Burley Moor Run (Image: Woodentops)

And it was top 20 placings for all the female Harriers too; Sally Armitage was first home in seventh place in 1:05:17, followed by Sacha Jones in eighth place in 1:07:20, while Jean Sullivan finished 16th in 1:14:25.

Continuing on the trails, Harrier Antonio Perez Lopez took part in the Holly Hustle on Saturday. The 11km race, which has some challenging elements, takes participants through Meanwood Park, the Hollies, past the Seven Arches viaduct and Adel Crag. Lopez had a great run completing the course in 57:49.

Sunday saw a popular fixture in the Harrier running calendar, the Run Bolton Abbey races in aid of Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice. With routes to suit runners of all abilities, participants can choose a half marathon, ten mile or ten-kilometre route, each of which starts and finishes at the Cavendish Pavilion, taking in a mix of riverside and woodland paths, forestry tracks, grassland and open moorland.

Two Harriers took on the half marathon option. Lucy Lowe was first over the line in 2:22:40 followed by Nigel Illingworth in 3:02:03. It was a great turnout for the 10k race with eight Harriers competing and finishing with an impressive set of age category results: Geoff Howard was first home and first in his age category in 52:45; Chris Cunningham finished 57:56 just pipping Joanne Williamson by three seconds; Carole Cunningham took first place in her age category in 58:50 closely followed by Jane Bryant in second place in 59:12; Helen Horton was also first in her age category in 59:40; and Laura Tapper and Jacqui Weston came over the line in 1:03:45 and 1:08:43 respectively.

It was also race one of the 2024 PECO Cross Country League on Sunday at Middleton Park in Leeds. The League is a series of five races organised in and around Leeds in which clubs affiliated to the League compete across men's and ladies divisions. Each race is about 4-5 miles. It was a fantastic turnout for the Harriers. In the Ladies race, Diane Kitchen was first over the line in 44:09, followed by Kate Lofthouse in 53:13, Sarah Lambert in 54:39 and Sally Wright in 57:02. 12 Harriers turned out for the men’s race which was one outright by Nathan Lawson in 25:51, followed by Steve Gott, taking second place in his age category in 29:54. The next three Harriers battled for the line crossing within four seconds of each other: Forrest Hamilton, Daniel McKeown, and Danny Thompson.

And finally, 22 Harriers took to the paths and trails to participate in the weekly parkrun events across the country and there was definitely something in the air at the Roberts Park event with four Harriers posting personal best times: Andrew Smith in 21:37; Jo Foster in 25:26; Vince Gibbons in 26:22; and Rachel Corrigan in 27:58! Elsewhere there were some great top ten finishes: Matthew Thackwray was the first finisher at Conyngham Hall in 17:56; Harry Stead was third finisher at Lancaster in 20:09; Mark Hall was fifth finisher in Lister Park in 17:50; Rachel Barnicoat was the tenth finisher at the Wetherby event; and, taking the Harriers all the way to Rome, Jo Biggins was the sixth finisher at the Caffarella event in 29:13.