In a bumper weekend of running events there was much focus on the second Leeds Marathon festival in which a number of local runners were participating.

But it was two big fell races and a flat 5K that proved most successful in terms of finishing positions for competing Ilkley Harriers.

Ben Rothery again showed that he is one of the top fell athletes around with a brilliant victory at Pendle Cloughs, smashing the course record in the process.

This event was the third counter in the English fell championship series ensuring a strong competing field. The race was a gruelling 14 miles with six climbs totalling over 4,000 feet; and rather unusually for Lancashire took place in hot and sunny conditions adding to the challenging nature.

Rothery stamped his class on the race unfazed by the conditions, finishing in a time of 1hr 58, a minute and a half clear of his closest rival. Two other Harriers excelled at this race with Kate Archer achieving a time of 2hr 56 and Jane McCarthy 3hr 03. Both Ilkley ladies finished 4th in their respective categories.

Some distance north-west of Pendle and taking place at the same time was the Fairfield Horseshoe fell race. Again, run in hot conditions and again won by an Ilkley Harrier with an incredible performance.

Oli Murphy smashed the field to bits winning by over five minutes from the 2nd placed athlete in a time of 1hr 26. This race takes in the classic nine mile Lakeland route starting out from Ambleside, enduring 3,000 feet of uphill and requiring good navigational skills. It is advertised as ‘not an ideal first fell race’.

Other Harriers taking part and all performing brilliantly were Gavin Lamb who put in a great run to finish 3rd MV40. Jim Ryder who was 5th MV55 and Katie Poulter finished 23rd female overall.

On to flatter surroundings but no less impressive, last years winner of the Leeds Marathon Nathan Edmondson elected for a shorter distance this weekend, winning the York 5K race on Friday night in an amazing course record time of 14:42.

The race which was part of the EvenSplit series and held at the University of York Sport Village Cycle Circuit. It was also attended by Harrier Mark Hall who bettered his own MV60 club record to 17:48 in another brilliant showing and finishing 1st in the category. Harry Sime also achieved an impressive 20:17 ensuring he finished 4th in the MV60 category.

So onto the Rob Burrows Leeds Marathon. Fourteen Harriers were among the 14,000 participants in the second running of the event which began last year to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease. The first Ilkley runner home was Forrest Hamilton finishing in 49th position in a time of 2hr 58:38, no mean feat on a course that is by no means flat.

The only other Harrier to break the elusive three-hour barrier was Dave Foyston who scraped under by just three seconds despite never running more than ten miles during his training runs.

There were plenty more impressive performances with Steven Bysouth and James Lumb finishing in 3:01 and 3:11 respectively and being 23rd and 35th in the MV40 category. Fiona Schneider put in a very good run to finish 10th in the FV60 category. While Dave Reynier was 25th MV50. The other Harriers putting in a great shift in the heat were Tony Pye, Robin Nicholson, Charles Wain, Alan Travis, Hannah Osieku, Jonathan Nelson, Sarah Lambert and Jo Pattinson.

Meanwhile in the Half Marathon there was a quartet of Ilkley ladies who completed the course headed by Heidi Hoad; finishing in an impressive 1hr 48 and 36th in her category. The other ladies who navigated the course, which was a similar route to the marathon but avoiding descending into Otley or heading back up the hill of doom were; Charlotte Smithson who was next coming home in 2 hours. Followed not too far behind by Lucy Lowe and Rumana Chowdhury.

Also taking place this weekend on Friday night and attended by an Ilkley runner was a race at Pinhaw Moor. Dave Robson continued his streak of finding the most obscure fell races possible to test the report writers’ detective skills. Robson had his usual excellent run in the five mile event based at Earby to finish 1st MV50 and 27th overall of the field of 218 runners.

Finally in terms of races, there were two Harriers present at the Ripon 10 mile mixed terrain event on Sunday based around Studley Royal. Jaysson Sawyer was 5th of the 170 finishers in a time of 1hr 06:24 and Mark Hall close behind in 6th. Particularly impressively, it was Hall’s second MV60 category win of the weekend after also racing on Friday!

Moving onto the weekly 5K parkrun results, there were some more superb performances from Ilkley Harriers. Tom Adams finished 1st at Conyngham Hall in a time of 16:13. Rob Cunningham was 3rd finisher at Witney in Oxfordshire in 20:24.

James Horrex was 3rd at the tough Chevin course in an impressive 19:36. Nick Kealey was 2nd at Roberts Park with 18:04. Alison Bennett was 3rd at Morecambe Prom in 21:48 giving her a whopping age grade of over 90%. Finally the Coys continued their weekly parkrun tour with Steve finishing 3rd at Sandy Water in South Wales and Gaenor finishing 5th.