LAST weekend saw the staging of the Meltham Tough 10km road race, and an Ilkley Harriers runner took victory in dramatic circumstances.

As the name indicates, this is a challenging route with 650 feet of climbing, including several very tough hills where runners are exposed to the elements.

Runners circumnavigate Blackmoorfoot reservoir, before a great one-mile, mainly downhill, finish back to Meltham.

Christos Tzelis was the only Harrier to take part and in a nail-biting finish he won the race, just one second ahead of the second placed finisher.

Tzelis beat his own 2023 time by over three minutes and at a rapid 33:18, he is one of only six runners who have managed a sub-35 minute finish in this race in the last 12 years.

His result is even more impressive given he had also raced the previous day at the Northern Cross Country Championships.

Those 2024 Northern XC Championships were held in Sedgefield, County Durham.

The races were set on a large undulating common next to Hardwick Park, with the fast course providing lots of potential for good times.

Rachel Carter led the Ilkley ladies home in the senior women’s race, followed by clubmates Alison Bennett and Petra Bijsterveld.

Dan McKeown flew the flag for the Ilkley men in the senior men’s race, finishing high in the field of more than 400 runners.

Great results also came courtesy of the Under-17 males, with Archie Budding finishing in a superb sixth place overall and fellow Harrier Sam Bentham coming home in 15th position.

In the junior men’s race, Tzelis finished in 12th place, with Harrier Beth Rogers coming sixth in the junior women’s race.

There was more great news for Rogers a few days ago, as she was selected to run for England at the Diest International cross country race in Belgium on Sunday, February 11.

With cross country season in full swing, race number four of the PECO series took place last weekend.

The race was held at Middleton Park in Leeds and hosted by Wetherby Runners, assisted by Nidd Valley.

In the ladies’ race, Ruth Kitchen had an excellent run, finishing in a very impressive 10th place overall.

Sarah Hayes was the second Ilkley lady over the line, with Catherine Glaister the third woman from the Harriers to finish.

Helen Jacques, Kate Lofthouse and Sarah Lambert also had great performances at this event.

In the men’s race, Forrest Hamilton led the Harriers home, in a great time of 30:25.

Hot on his heels was Dave Foyston, with Jaysson Sawyer the third Ilkley man to finish.

Gavin Lamb almost pipped the latter, coming home just one second behind him.

Their fellow Harriers David Singleton, Alan Travis and Roar Leijssen also had great runs at this event.

There was another impressive turnout of Harriers this week at the weekly timed 5km parkrun events.

A first-place finish for James Horrex at the Cliffe Castle parkrun saw him cross the line over a minute ahead of second place.

Lister Park in Bradford was the parkrun of choice however, with eight Harriers completing the three-lap circuit.

Paula Reynier brought her total number of parkruns up to 300 by completing this one; a very impressive tally.

Mark Hall was the first Harrier over the line, and second finisher overall in a time of 18:33.

A second-place finish came for Samesh Chotai at the Skipton parkrun, as he clocked a PB on this course of 17:43, with Jane McCarthy the first lady to finish at the same parkrun.

Also at the Skipton parkrun, Alex Foyn finished in an impressive fourth place overall.

Vince Gibbons and Harry Sime achieved PB’s at the Roberts Park parkrun and junior Harrier Esme Stoney was the third female over the line at the Chevin Forest parkrun.

Ilkley Harriers rounded off the week with their annual celebration night, held at Olicanian Cricket Club, to toast the Harriers’ successes of 2023.

Ilkley Harriers is a friendly welcoming club, open to all. 

If you would like to try their training sessions, please come along to our main club night on Tuesdays, by signing up on the training page at:

Once you have done that, you can go along to their main club night at 6.45pm on Tuesdays, where the runners meet upstairs at Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club.