Local runners impress on the Knavesmire

Athletes from Stainland Lions and Halifax Harriers travelled to take part in the ever popular - and over subscribed - York Brass Monkey Half Marathon.

This was the 30th running of the Knavesmire Harriers-supported race with competitors having to battle wild and windy conditions which meant that personal best times were at a premium.

Nevertheless, there were a number of notable performances from the Calderdale contingent. The 14-strong Lions runners followed on from last year’s successes and underlined the ever increasing confidence and improvement with five finishing under the 90 minute mark.

A well fought battle to be the first Lion home was won by men’s captain Mark Pigford who took the honours in 1:21:35. He was followed by Phil Tucker (1:22:52), Josh Whiteley (1:22:54), Richard Hand (1:23:13), Dave Webb (1:29:39), Dave Hutchings (1:31:11), Gav Dodd (1:32:20), Matt Higham (1:35:45), Martin O’Brien (1:40:45), Diane Waite (1:47:06), Ian Quigley (1:48:01), Paul Beverley (1:49:22), John Hirst (1:53:16) and Dave Cooper (1:54:44).

Thirty Halifax Harriers also completed the course and personal best times were achieved by Craig Empsell, Andy Haslam, Liz Mitchell and Subhash Sharma.

First Harrier home was Ryan Barker in an impressive time of 1:18:37, followed by Ian Whitehouse in a fast 1:21:01. Ray Hall picked up first Vet 65 in an excellent time of 1:35:01.

Sarah Louise Cumber was first Harrier lady home clocking 1:26:05, placing her sixth and first Vet 40. Next lady home was Liz Mitchell in 1:42:39.

The race was won by Yared Hagus from Wallsend Harriers in 1:06:42 and first lady was Felicity Milton from Woodford Green, Essex in 1:17:45.

Harriers times: Ryan Barker (1:18:37), Ian Whitehouse (1:21:01), Jamie Westwood (1:21:15), Andy Wiggins (1:24:38), Craig Empsall (1:24:52), Matt Longden (1:25:06), Sarah Cumber (1:26:05), Andy Haslam (1:29:00), Kevin Garbutt (1:28:11), Dave Bancroft (1:30:22), Paul Berry (1:30:40), Ray Hall (1:35:01), Robert Hardcastle (1:35:47), Luke Meleschko (1:41:10), Liz Mitchell (1:42:39), Matt Taylor (1:42:04), Linda Crabtree (1:44:10), Amy Crabtree (1:44:53), Paul Hopkinson (1:44:10), Marc Rocheteau (1:45:22), Phil Turner (1:46:00), Frank Chislett (1:50:03), Subhash Sharma (1:50:18), Claire Plunkett (1:54:21), Martin Haigh (1:54:30), Darren Miller (1:57:54), Mike Spence (1:56:36), Christopher Kirkbride (2:06:28), Derek Parkinson (2:30:03), David Woolley (2:43:11).

TWO hardy members of Stainland Lions braved the elements to compete in the Essar Four Villages Half Marathon around Helsby in Cheshire.

The event is another very popular scenic road race through rural countryside, passing through the Cheshire villages of Dunham on the Hill, Mouldsworth, Manley and Helsby. Here the strong winds were combined with rain for the tail-enders, but that certainly did not include Mags Beever, who finished in 1:29:52 and team mate Amanda Zito (1:34:24).

The same day also saw the inaugural running of the Inskip Half Marathon near Preston.

The organisers put on a very successful first race, attracting 270 runners and drawing many compliments from those who took part.

Again the finish times did not tell the full story on the flattish course, as runners battled against a strong head-wind for the first six miles.

This race also attracted a Stainland trio who did well in the conditions, Lesley Henderson being the first Lion home in 2:06:52, with Angela Goulden 2:12:27 and Julia Newsome in 2:20:13.

BEN Mounsey and Gavin Mulholland of Calder Valley Fell Runners dominated the Hebden Challenge which can be run over the full 22 mile or shorter 15 mile courses.

By the first check point, the in-form Ben Mounsey and last year’s winner Mulholland had established a strong lead of 10 minutes. The pair continued to run together until the 20 mile mark, but in a role reversal to last year, it was Mounsey who had saved enough breath to push on ahead to finish in a new record time of 2:53:00 minutes despite the high winds and difficult underfoot conditions.

Mulholland finished two minutes behind, posting a nine minute improvement on last year’s finishing time, while Adam Breaks came in third in 3:11:00, making it a Calder Valley clean sweep in the long route finishers. First woman home on the long route was Jo Waites, continuing her return to form finishing in 12 place overall in 3:31:00.

On the shorter route, relative newcomers Vicky Butcher and Melanie Nicholson had a great run, finishing substantially closer to the front than the back of the field – an impressive achievement which shows that they have definitely graduated from the beginners’ group they started with just a year ago.

Calder Valley’ are hosting another ‘Have a Go Day’ this Saturday, January 28. See www.cvfr.co.uk for details.