Sunday 9 June saw the first staging of the Pete Shields Ilkley 10k road race, created as a tribute and memorial to Harrier Pete Shields who died early in 2020.

Pete was a gifted runner and an outstanding coach, who had guided runners from far and wide, also leading training sessions for athletes at club, national and international levels over many years. He was exceptional at getting the best out of all runners, but especially skilful in encouraging those young enthusiastic runners who are the lifeblood of the sport.

The fast, flat, out-and-back two-lap course along Denton Road starting at East Holmes Field, was a great opportunity for all runners to achieve a personal best or even set a course record, with it being run for the first time.

Equally, as a course with minimal climb, rare in Ilkley, it also meant it was a fantastic opportunity for those less experienced wanting to give a 10km a go.

With club runners, charity runners, members of the Harriers’ run/walk ‘jeffing’ group and a graduate of the first Harriers group for Adults with Learning Disabilities, it certainly proved to be a super inclusive event.

There were some impressive performances with some tough course records to beat in future years. In the men’s race it was a podium first and second place for the Harriers with Nathan Edmondson winning the battle in 30:44, closely followed by Jack Cummings in 31:27.

It was almost a clean sweep with Christos Tzelis being pipped to third place by John Ashcroft of Leeds City AC by just six seconds.

The women’s race was won by Zara Knappy of Keighley and Craven AC in 38:16 over one minute ahead of second finisher Charlotte Wills in 39:29. Third place was taken by Ruth Draisey of Hyde Park Harriers who finished in 40:00 pipping Harrier Beth Rogers into fourth place by just seven seconds.

There were some outstanding age group performances from the 87 Harriers who took part. Seven Harriers secured first place in their age categories: Michael Odell, finishing in seventh overall in 34:35; Mark Hall finishing in the top 20, in 37:07; Peter Shelley in 40:15; Alison Bennett in 46:54; Paul Stephens in 49:00; Sally Malir in 49:12; and Jan Jones in 51:17.

And a further eight finished in the top three: Sara Mclean in 41:31; David Westhead in 41:50; Kate Archer in 41:50; Erin Keating in 46:22; Tracey Watson in 49:17; Diane Kitchen in 53:12; Scott Armitage in 53:40; and Hilda Coulsey in 54:37.

The club’s thanks go to the organisers, volunteers and Ilkley residents for making the event such a success. Profits from the race will be given to Marie Curie Cancer Care in appreciation of the help and care they gave to Pete and his family when he was unwell.

If that was the event to end the week, the start of the week was equally podium rich for the Harriers taking part in the second Harrogate District Summer Race League race held in Ripley. Run by local running clubs the events take place on weekday evenings through the summer and are between five and six miles long, predominantly on road. 28 Harriers took to the start line with yet more excellent results. It was another top two places in the men’s race with Tom Adams pipping Matthew Thackwray to first place in 25:57 and 26:15 respectively. Peter Shelley was next home taking third place in his age category in 32:57. In the women’s race Jane McCarthy was the first Harrier home taking second place in her age category in 34:58, with Alison Bennett taking third place in her category in 39:03.

Elsewhere across the country, it was a bumper weekend mostly on the fells and trails for the Harriers. On Wednesday it was short trip over to Otley for the seven Harriers taking part in the 2.9mile Otley Chevin Fell race.

Despite its length, the race certainly packs a punch with over 900 feet of elevation taking in road, trails, steps mud tracks and grass, a truly multi-terrain event.

Forrest Hamilton was the first Harrier over the line in an impressive 21:25 closely followed by Steven Gott and Steven Bysouth who were separated by one second in 21:37 and 21:38 respectively and both taking third place in their age categories. Alistair Barlow and Bob Hamilton took age category wins at the event finishing in 26:02 and 27:51 respectively.

Over in Haworth on Thursday Jacqui Foster was the only Harrier to take on the Bronte 5, a scenic, undulating five miles, two lap road race on quiet country roads round Penistone Country Park. Jacqui had a great run finishing in the top 25 in a time of 42:50. On the same night up in the Dales two Harriers were taking on the Kettlewell Anniversary Fell Race.

Another five-mile race, the route is challenging covering 550m of climb but with fast descents, the opportunity is there for a fun event, especially if you compete the additional challenge of the Shark Hunter’s Reward – the first man or woman to catch the runner carrying the inflatable shark! Sam Bentham was flying round the course and took the win in 37:31, although we have no confirmation if he caught a shark! Dave Robson also had a great race setting a PB and taking first place in his age category in 44:24.

It was a busy day at home and away on Saturday with Harriers taking part in three challenging events. Nea and Alison Weston headed to the Lake District to take part in the Ennerdale Horseshoe Fell Race.

This is a challenging race described as “not for the faint hearted” as it covers 23 miles and nearly 2300m of ascent taking in several peaks including Red Pike, Pilla and Crag Fell. Nea won the battle of the Westons completing the race in 11th place for the women in 5:53:30 with Alison only a short distance behind in 5:58:46 taking first place in her age category. James Dobbing was also in the Lakes but stepping up the distance to take on the Ullswater Way Ultra, a 33.5-mile race taking in the Lowther and Dalemain Loops of the Ullswater Way. James had a fantastic run taking 22nd place in a blistering 5:48:13.

Meanwhile, in an Ultra much closer to home Martin Hartley and Ritchie Williamson were taking part in the second Stanza Stones Ultra, a 50-mile route with over 6800ft of ascent connecting Marsden to Ilkley.

The route takes in all six Stanza Stones the brainchild of Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who created six poems carved into rock on the theme of water: Snow, Rain, Mist, Dew Puddle and Beck. Martin and Ritchie completed the challenge together and came over the line in 10:52:29 and 30 respectively.

Clearly needing to pound the trails rather than the road, Sunday saw three races attracting Harriers across the country. Unable to relax on holiday, Dan McKeown took on the Mulgrave Castle 10k. Running through the private Mulgrave Estate near Whitby, the undulating course takes participants through woodland and affords fantastic views of the old castle and Whitby Abbey. Dan earned a restful rest of his holiday after taking a fantastic fifth place and first in his age category in 37:31.

Meanwhile, back in the Lakes three Harriers took on the scenic Lakeland Trails Half Marathon, and one the Marathon distance with fantastic results! In the Half Marathon, Dick Waddington was first home in 1:57:04, taking third place in his age category.

Next up and neck and neck were Nicky Liptrot and Helen Waddington who finished in 2:04:25 and 26 respectively taking first and second place in their age categories. In the marathon, Mary Fairclough completed the course in 5:26:44, finishing in the top ten in her age category.

Closer to home again, three Harriers took on each of the races at the Settle Saunter. This annual running/walking event has three distances each taking participants on footpaths and bridleways in some of the less well-known parts of the Yorkshire Dales. First to set off was Mark Judkowski in the 23 mile event, which he completed in 4:22:02, taking second place in his age category. Next up was Sharon Meadows who took on the half marathon event completing it in 4:35:54.

And finally, Joanne Williamson who took part in the 10k event, coming over the line in 1:06:21 and first in her age category – a great result!

It was Yorkshire and Harriers’ success at the Junior Intercounties Fell Running Championships on Sunday. Harrier Sam Bentham was representing Yorkshire and stormed to take the gold medal in the U19 race, leading the under 19 Yorkshire team to the gold medal position overall. There were fantastic results for the Junior Harriers as well with both Alex Wolfenden and Oscar Shinn’s results earning the U17 team the silver medal. Congratulations to all!

And finally, our 21 parkrunners were travelling far and wide achieving personal bests (PB) and finishing in the first ten. Hitting a PB this week, Alison Bennett event, finishing third and with an eye watering age grade of 90.5% at the Morecambe Prom event. Other top ten places were Jane McCarthy and Diane Kitchen at Roberts Park finishing first and tenth respectively with Jane hitting an age grade of 81.9%.

There were also some participation milestones achieved with Rachel Corrigan completing her 25th event and both Steph Fox and Diane Kitchen completing their 50th events, with Diane also hitting a fantastic age grading of 81.41%.