Yorkshire County Cross Country Championships – Lightwater Valley, near Ripon, Saturday 5th January

 Imogen Wolff U13G YXC 2019

Imogen Wolff U13G YXC 2019

Once again Lightwater Valley near Ripon hosted the Yorkshire Cross Country Championships. Not only were Individual and Team medals on offer but the first eight athletes in each race would be chosen to represent Yorkshire in the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in March, which includes the trials for the World Cross Country Championships. The conditions were perfect for racing, with the course surprisingly firm, suiting the faster runners.

First to race were the Under 13 girls, with three Holmfirth Harriers representing the club. Imogen Wolff delivered the individual performance of the day, with a fantastic run in front of ‘The Ultimate’ rollercoaster. Imogen backed up her recent victories in the West Yorkshire League, leading this race from start to finish to be crowned County Champion and securing a place in the Yorkshire team. The Lightwater Valley website describes ‘The Ultimate’ as: ‘A thrilling 1.5 mile cocktail of speed, cornering and airtime’, which also sums up Imogen’s race quite nicely. Alice Feetham and Bea Ayres were both making their debuts in this race, and performed really well to finish in 58th and 70th respectively.

Next up were the Under 13 boys, with three more Harriers lining up to take part. Jack Sunderland had competed in this race last year, and this time came in a creditable 73rd, with debutants Harry Gilligan ahead of Jack in 61st place and Lucas Hall a little further down the field in 85th.

Isabel Richardson U15G YXC  2019 

Isabel Richardson U15G YXC 2019

The Under 15 girls followed next, with Isabel Richardson returning from injury to finish in 6th place and secure a place in the Yorkshire Inter-Counties team. Close behind Isabel was Elena Inch, running a tremendous race against tough opposition to cross the line in 16th place. Mollie Scaramuzza was next to finish in 48th, and Lauren Hirst finished with a smile in 74th place.

With no Under 15 or Under 17 boys representing the club, the final junior event to feature Holmfirth Harriers was the Under 17 girls race. Consistent performances by all the runners saw the team finish just outside the medal positions in fourth place. Zara Tyas was the fastest Harrier on the day finishing in 16th place, just ahead of Olivia Dyson, whose hard work was rewarded with a placing of 19th. Sophie Kettlewell was next to cross the line in 25th place, and just a few places further back was Lydia Throssell in 29th.

 Cara Inch U20W YXC 2019

Cara Inch U20W YXC 2019

The Junior Under 20 and Senior Women raced together, with the younger age group running one less lap of the course; 6060m and 8140m respectively. Illness and injury unfortunately affected the U20 athletes, with only two of the four Harriers entered able to take part. Erica Byram finished 5th (24:53) with Cara Inch in 8th (25:13), just clinching a well-earned place in the Yorkshire team. Due to the different age categorisation of the Inter Counties race, it sadly meant that Erica could not be selected.

In the Senior race, in-form Ruby Sykes made a good start, working well with team-mate Helen Berry in the middle of the race, with Helen moving through by the third lap to finish 17th (30:18) and Ruby not far behind in 19th (30:34). With strong runs from Claire Leaver-Hewitt in 36th (32:36) and Helena Croft in 58th (34:00) the team finished fifth ‘A’ team behind some very strong teams. The ‘B’ team was 19th out of 35 teams.

The race was won again this year by GB International Claire Duck of Leeds City AC. Leeds also took the team title from Rotherham Harriers and Hallamshire Harriers.

Other Holmfirth placings: Kath Farquhar 88th (36:18), Lucy Verrill 84th (35:53), Debbie Hall 113th (37:49) and Cara Bintcliffe 127th (38:50).

The Senior and Junior U20s Men’s race also started together with the younger men running 2km less. Holmfirth had just one athlete competing in the U20s, Fionn Kerry, who had a strong race to finish 10th (29.52), narrowly missing out on Yorkshire selection.

 Chris Law YXC 2019

Chris Law YXC 2019

Chris Law, the talented athlete who has just moved up into the senior ranks, had a tremendous run to finish in 8th (33.49) and claim his first Yorkshire Senior vest. He was supported by another promising youngster, Lewis Byram, who had a fine run for 15th (34.22). Next home and also running well was Kai Sunman in 44th (36.31) Tim Street wasn’t far behind in 53rd (36.54) while triathlete Sam O’Shea returned in 74th (37.53). Completing the team was Lavell Pierre in 94th (38.50) which ensured 5th place. A good team result as it was made up of mostly youngsters, and against strong competiton from big city clubs. The ‘B’ team was 27th out of 38 complete teams.
The Senior men’s race was won convincingly by GB international and Leeds City AC’s Emile Cairess in 32:15, retaining his 2018 title. Rotherham Harriers pipped Leeds City to take the men’s team title.

Other Holmfirth placings: Chris Beadle 133rd (40.20), Damo McQueen 151st (41.26), Jonny Sykes 171st (42.00), Neil Thornton 190th (43.07), Karl Dransfield 206th (44.03) & Rob Kersey 270th (48.16). The Harriers will next be in action at the North of England Cross Country Championships to be held on 26th January at Pontefract racecourse.

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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