MAY got off to a fast start with 18 Harriers taking part in the ever-popular Dick Hudsons fell race on Thursday.

There are only two fixed points in this seven-mile course with competitors starting at the barrier at the bottom of the track to White Wells and choosing whichever route they want to get to the gate at Dick Hudsons and back again.

Knowledge of the moor was clearly an advantage for Harrier Nathan Edmondson who took first place over six minutes head of the second finisher in 44:00. Michael Odell was the next home in eighth place overall and second in his age category in 49:42, followed shortly after by Jeff Green taking first place in his age category and 12th overall in 50:37.

Seven Harriers made it into the top 30 finishers with Matt Cox, Gavin Moore, Nick Kealey and Dan McKeown having great runs. It was a family battle to the finish for the only two female Harriers taking place with less than 60 seconds separating Nea and Alison Weston. And it was bragging rights for Nea who finished in 1:10:30 followed by Alison in 1:11:22.

There was no rest for Alison who, along with Kate Archer, was in action again at the Coniston Fell Race on Saturday.

A classic fell race with some steep and technical sections but with some fantastic views across the ridges. Starting from the Copper Mines Road, the 14km route summits Wetherlam, Swirl How and the Old Man giving a total of over 1000m of ascent.

Weston was first over the line for the Harriers in a fantastic time of 2:03:25 and taking third place in her age category, followed by Archer in 2:10:32.

Sunday was the busiest day in the calendar with Harriers taking part in four different races. Based on an outstanding race performance last year, Helen Waddington was yet again in an England vest, having been selected to take part in the England Age Group Masters which this year was part of the AJ Bell Great Birmingham 10k.

An undulating City Centre race, participants set off from Centenary Square headed out to the Jewellery Quarter passing the famous Mailbox building and New Street Station, finishing in Smithfield. As a masters event it was a tough field and Waddington put in a great performance completing the race in 46:11 coming in the top 15 of her age category.

Still on the road, it was another Harrier podium finish at the Melmerby 10km. Starting in the village this undulating route takes runners through surrounding villages on quiet rural roads and has the potential for some fast times. And that was definitely the case for Matthew Thackwray who whipped round the course in 32:45 taking first place by nearly two minutes. Jaysson Sawyer also had a great race finishing in 38:29 and taking third place in his age category.

And the podium placings continued on the fells at the Great Hameldon Hill Race in Accrington. Starting at the base of The Coppice on the outskirts of Accrington, the race crosses tracks, fields and open moor before a bog and steep climb leads the runners to the Great Hameldon trig. A fast descent picks up the outward route and ensures an exciting finish. And it certainly was that for Harrier Oli Murphy who romped home in 38:50 taking first place, almost two minutes ahead of the second finisher.

In other news, three Harriers have been chosen to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the European Off Road Running Championships taking place at the end of the month in Annecy, France.

Ben Rothery will take part in the Senior Men’s up and downhill race, Sam Bentham in the Junior Men’s uphill only race, and Edward Hobbs in the Junior Men’s up and downhill race. We look forward to reporting on their performances.

And Christos Tzelis claimed victory at the Tadcaster Sprint Triathlon, where his superb 6k run section secured him his podium finish.

And finally, 26 parkrunners were smashing the age gradings, achieving Personal Bests (PB) and finishing in the first ten across the board this week. Achieving age gradings well over 80% were Mark Hall and Alison Bennett at the Lister Park event, Hilda Coulsey at the Fountains Abbey event and Jane McCarthy at the Roberts Park event.

Not content with that, McCarthy also achieved a PB and was third finisher. At the same event Harry Sime also got a PB, as did Rachel Barnicoat at the Bramley event. And other top ten finishers included Alex Foyn and Jaysson Sawyer at Fountains Abbey, Robert and Nicola Budding at Northallerton, Tom Lambe at Leicester Victoria Park, Jacqui Foster at Ford and Tim Ashelford at Chevin Forrest.