ILKLEY Harriers supplied a large number of runners to several events of contrasting terrain and scenery across West Yorkshire last weekend.

At the Rombalds Stride on Saturday morning, 23 Ilkley athletes took part and provided the overall winner as well as two female age category winners. Out of a total of 437 participants, Oli Murphy had a brilliant run to finish in 1st place overall in a time of 2hr 38. Kate Archer showed why she won the recent Harriers award for ‘best endurance athlete’, finishing third female - and first FV45 - in 3hr 27 while Rebecca Mon-Williams was first FV55 in 4hr 23.

Organised by the 15th Airedale Scout Group, a tough but scenic 23-mile route taking in the trails of Rombalds, including Ilkley and Burley Moor, as well as Burley Woodhead, Otley Chevin, Menston and Esholt.

The race attracts a hardy breed of athletes keen to test themselves at a challenging local winter event; there is a 10-hour time limit, enabling long-distance walkers to take part as well as runners.

In addition to the winners, other Harriers with outstanding performances included Matthew Kennedy who came 17th overall and 3rd in his age category. Ben Sheppard was 19th and 4th in his category. Pete Shelley was also 4th in his category. Andrew Overend, John Hayes, James Dobbing, Adam Gerrish and Derek Oliver all also finished within 4 hours. Other standout performances came from Alison Weston, 2nd in FV55, and Paul Stephens, who was 2nd in the MV65 category.

Away from the fells, there are unlikely to be many places a northern road runner would rather be than Dewsbury’s Bradford road heading out towards Batley on a wild and windy Sunday morning in February. This was borne out by the fact that 15 runners from Ilkley made the early morning journey to join the nearly two and half thousand other participants taking in the Dewsbury 10K.

The course is a straight out and back and well known for being a quick one, with there being a slight incline on the way out and the second half being a net downhill and on this occasion with a tailwind.

Jack Cummings of Ilkley had a brilliant run out to finish 4th overall in a time of 31:18, just a minute behind the winner Joe Sagar of Leeds City AC. The newly crowned winner of the Harriers ‘emerging talent’ award Christos Tzelis lived up to expectations being not far behind in 6th with a time of 31:58.

Plenty of other Harriers impressed, with Ruth Kitchen finishing as 16th female and Jane McCarthy 2nd in the FV50 category. While Dave Foyston succeeded in his goal of going sub-36 minutes, Steve Coy finished as 12th MV50 and Emma Sheppard was 16th FV45.

Still in West Yorkshire and back on the fells two Harriers made it around the ‘Wadsworth Trog’.

Taking place near Hebden Bridge and requiring the competitors to navigate more than 19 miles of wild moorland terrain, the Trog also takes in over 3,600 of uphill. Paul Carman made it back in 43rd place in a time of 3hr 42 and Jann Smith was 95th in 4hr 14.

As with the other events at the weekend there were a good number of Harriers out for the 5K parkruns. This in part due to a new inter-club parkrun competition along with Baildon and Saltaire, with runners’ age adjusted scores used in a league format.

At Lister Park Ilkley had the first two female finishers, namely Esme Stoney and Alison Bennett. At Skipton Alex Foyn finished 2nd and Rob Cunningham was 3rd. Emma O’Looney was 5th female at Bowling Park and Kate Williams 9th.

As is often the case, Roberts Park attracted most runners from Ilkley with 13 turning up. Sally Armitage was 1st female and 3rd overall in a time of 19.03. She was just pipped by James Horrex who was 2nd. Meanwhile Lisa McDonnell, Clare Boyle and Rachel Corrigan all managed to better their PB’s.