Men’s Yorkshire Champions at Ilkley Moor Fell

18 Feb 2018 – Ilkley Moor – 5 miles / 1316 ft

We had ten runners out for this year’s Ilkley Moor Fell Race, which also happened to be the Yorkshire Fell Championship event. With a strong presence at the front of the field, Captain Baxter lead P&B home as the winning team. Here’s what he had to say:

“Heading to the Ilkley Moor Fell Race I was both excited and somewhat apprehensive. It would certainly be a good opportunity to test the old pins and with the race being the Yorkshire Championships the field of runners was bound to be a strong one. But equally, I was conscious that it had been some time since I’d done a race that finds itself in the category of ‘Short and reet’bloody nasty!’

“I had done the race two years previous and come away disappointed. After a good start, I soon suffered in the horrible conditions. Not long after the first climb I found myself on my own and was thrown around like an old plastic bag. The severity of the winds, and in particular the effect they had on me, must have been bad with Graham Pearce commenting ‘Even I felt sorry for him’.

With an abrupt ‘Right! 3,2,1 GO!’ the 2018 race was off! Not long after the start, I found myself in 2nd place behind the Fell Running Legend that is Simon ‘HUGE QUADS’ Bailey. My initial thoughts were, ‘Christ, it ain’t ‘alf a fast start! Get me to that single track’ and a further ‘…..I wonder where Tom Adams is ??’

We soon reached the single track and despite Pearce making attempts to cut in front via his “secret route” the positions remained the same but from nowhere Tom Adams soon began tickling at my heels. I nearly considered making a joke about forming a tag team against Simon but soon realised it was probably best to prioritize my running AND I was too short of breath anyway as we had begun the first short climb of many up to the Cow and Calf rocks. I consider Tom a chum and certainly know how good he is, but this did not mean I would be letting him pass. Still on the single track, I left it to him to make his move or go into the rough stuff either side of us. He soon did and with what appeared to be with relative ease past myself and upon arriving at Simon continuing pushing on. He is clearly very much already in form.

With a reasonable descent down to Blackstone Beck (Still managing to hear the bellows of Dave Woodhead shouting ‘GO ON JOEY!!!!!!!!!’) I managed to stay with Tom and Simon but with the climb that followed, I began to lose contact.  I took the opportunity to look to my left to see where the rest of the field were and I found that I and one other Dark Peak runner had made a gap on the rest of the field. We had a great battle for the remainder of the race and in doing so allowed us to keep a distance from the pack behind. We both pushed each other on the climbs. I would pull a gap on the descents but he would come back again and again. It was only with less than 1 mile to go that I managed to push on for 3rd place and Yorkshire Silver medal. It was great to have improved on my bronze from last year, chuffed indeed.

I then waited for the rest of the claret and gold to come tumbling into the finish and soon learnt that we had managed Yorkshire Gold for Men’s team with many more club vests close behind. A fab start to the year for all and Callum showing that he’s a strong addition to the team, leaving with two medals of his own (Bronze U23 and Team Medal).”

Speaking of which, Callum provides some commentary on the race from his point of view:

“Yorkshire champs came early this year and tested who had put in some serious winter training, or who had managed to survive the bouts of new year flu. Weather and ground conditions were ideal for the run up Ilkley Moor and the claret and gold was out in force. The warm up consisted a swift jog to the first race corner, where Mr Pearce shared his ‘racing line’ i.e. running through some bushes and dissecting the corner in half, before returning to the start line.

The clock struck half eleven and everybody was keen to get going, however the event organisers decided we were not positioned on the marked start line. After a solid ten minutes of fannying around, the marshals exhausted their efforts pushing the start line back and set us off.

It’s tight racing from the start to the first climb and I settled in behind a Bingley lad on the narrow, undulating path. Starting the ascent, I moved through the field, past Pearce and Crampton, who kindly shouted some motivation as I turned over the legs. Even the first climb was tough, with hands on knees towards the top. By this point the field was relatively spread and Joe stretched away and out of sight on the descent to Blackstone Beck. After the bridge crossing at the beck we spun 90° to climb again, at this point I had pulled away from those surrounding and started to make way across the moor tops. Ian Holmes soon caught up, somehow he can run through trog as easily as trail, and made a sizable gap. Sticking close by was the silver placed U23 lad, something I failed to do and fell further down the field. I held position until the final decent where I made good ground catching (unknowingly two U23 runners), however losing out to Ted Mason as I pansied down the grassy ski slope section and towards the finish.

The race sets a solid benchmark for the fell season, a Yorkshire Gold for Men’s P&B team is a strong start! Many congratulations to Joe for his Yorkshire Silver medal this year and Crampton and Pearce for placing 20th and 21st respectively. A shout out to Claire on her first race back with a solid 4th place and to Rach for placing 5th (only 4 seconds apart).”

As mentioned, this also marked Claire’s return to racing. Her and Rachel made a strong pair, pretty much sticking together throughout the course, with the Green Machine just pulling away during the muddy sprint to the line.

While offering a hearty well done on the ladies’ run, Dave Woodhead was quick to point out, “You would’ve bloody had the team prize there with just another lady!”

Such a shame we were one short of a team for the ladies but such ups and downs are in the nature of fell running, it can be argued. Interested ladies with a love for racing on the fells – drop us a line and join up!

For the Junior side of things, P&B were duly represented by promising young fell runner Thomas Martin, who had a cracking run finishing 13th in the 1 mile race.

Many thanks to Ilkley Harriers for organising the race and Woodentops for the photos.

Joe Baxter 3rd 38:46 (Yorkshire Silver). Callum Hanson 11th 40:48 (Yorkshire MU23 Bronze). Neal Crampton 20th 42:02. Graham Pearce 21st 42:13. Niall Bourke 48th 47:03. Colin Walker 53rd 47:40. Graham Pilling 58th 48:05. Claire Green 85th 50:32. Rachel Pilling 87th 50:36. Emil Andrews 236th 1:06:31.

1st Men’s Team – Joe, Callum, Neal, Graham. Men’s Yorkshire Champions – Joe, Callum, Neal.

Juniors (U11 / 1 mile): Thomas Martin 13th 7:51.


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