West Yorkshire Cross Country League, Race 3

Sunday 17th November, West Park, Leeds

Alex Burke

U11 Boy, Alex Burke
(photo woodentops.org.uk)

The third in the four-race series took place at West Park in Leeds at the weekend. The course was certainly the muddiest that the athletes have encountered in some time, and probably the toughest this specific course has been in decades, according to Holmfirth Harriers’ endurance coach Alwyn Dewhirst.

Some outstanding individual and team performances saw Holmfirth Harriers dominate results in the junior age categories. First victory of the day came in the first event, with Alex Burke running superbly to win the U11 boys race. Added to his second place in the first league race, this puts him in with an excellent chance of taking overall first in the league with just one race to go. Callum Noble also had a great race for the U11 boys, finishing in 15th place. In the U11 girl’s race, Florence Jones held her own against some much bigger girls and did really well to come in 23rd.

The best result for the U13 boys was Declan Levay, who put in a great run to come in 8th. The rest of the team were not far behind, with Jack Sunderland in 11th, Jamie Stewart in 15th and Harry Gilligan in 27th. This gave them a team result of third on the day, but unfortunately they won’t have enough team results to get a team placing at the end of the league. For the U13 girls, Jess Trafford and Emily Wood (in her first race of the league this year) both ran well to finish around the middle of the pack, in 40th and 47th place, respectively.

Kristian Green was once again in a league of his own, taking a comfortable victory for the U15 boys – this was his third win of the league, securing him the overall title alongside the race win. Matthew Burke also ran well in this race to finish in 11th place. In the U15 girl’s event, Holmfirth Harriers had five runners, with the best performances being Isabel Richardson in 4th and Elena Inch two places behind in 6th. A good run from Annie McLean in 13th place saw the team take first position, putting them in with a real chance of taking home gold medals at the final race. Elizabeth Gilligan and Lauren Hirst coped well with the muddy conditions, to finish in 40th and 45th place, respectively.

U17 Women

U17 Women 
Zara Tyas, Olivia Dyson & Lydia Throssell 
(photo woodentops.org.uk)

There was also team success in the U17 ladies race, with Olivia Dyson having another excellent run to record her second 3rd place this year. Alongside great team support from Zara Tyas in 7th and Lydia Throssell in 12th, this put the team in first place on the day and guaranteed first place overall for the league.

As well as the guaranteed medals mentioned above, several junior Harriers are in contention for individual medals with just one race to go. There’s still lots to play for as the runners head for Spenborough on 8th December.

By the time hundreds of juniors had trodden the course over eight races, the park was very well chewed up and made even tougher going for the seniors. There was, however, one firmer section through the middle which hadn’t been used for the junior events and proved a welcome opportunity to gain some rare traction.

Senior Women

Ladies Team photo
with International runner Alex Bell [Pudsey & Bramley]
(photo woodentops.org.uk)

The women’s race, over 2 laps and 5,700m, had a class field. GB 800m runner, Alex Bell, of Pudsey & Bramley AC led from the start and won by over a minute and a half in 19:54. If one GB international wasn’t enough, Claire Duck of Leeds City, who competed in the 2017 World Cross Country Championships also chose to take part in her local race. Holmfirth’s Katie Walshaw pushed Claire all the way and the two were stride for stride for much of the race, with the Leeds City athlete taking the advantage at the finish. Katie clocked 21:16. Holmfirth demonstrated its strength in depth with three other team counters in the top 11. Helen Berry found the tough course to her liking, finishing in 6th (21:55) with Julia Jagger 8th (22:34) and a tiring Ruby Sykes in 11th (23:12). The quartet once again dominated the team event, with 28 points over second placed Knavesmire with 65 points.

Although the League does not recognise ‘B’ teams, Holmfirth’s second team would have clocked 4th team on the results, with Claire Leaver-Hewitt 18th (23:57), Helena Croft 26th (24:41), Margaret Sykes 26th (24:53) and Julia Thomas in 39th (26:35). Having missed race two, super-vet Lesley Ewart had to run at Leeds and must complete the final race in December to take the FV65 League title. She was comfortably 1st FV65 in 54th overall (27:49). The tenth and final Holmfirth runner was Ruth McKenzie in 61st (28:30).

The final event of the day was the Senior Men’s race which covered a distance of 8400m. In difficult conditions the overall winner was Graham Rush of Leeds City in a time of 27.52. The lead athlete for Holmfirth was the promising youngster Kai Sunman who, once again, had a good run for 12th place (30.02). Tim Street, making his first appearance in this year’s cross country league, also had a strong run for 39th (32.24). Continuing their battle from the previous race were Chris Taylor and Jonny Sykes with Taylor coming out on top in 70th (34.17) and Sykes in 72nd & 3rd M55 (34.21). They were closely followed by Damian McQueen in 75th (34.42). The final counter for the team and bringing them home in 10th place was Gary Graham in 83rd (35.26).

Other Holmfirth placings were: 91st Mark Law (36.07), 98th Sean McCaffrey (36.25), 118th Jonathan Bray (38.31), 124th & 1st M65 Rob Kersey (39.18), 128th Matthew Rose (39.56) & 131st Jonny Hotchkiss (41.04).

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

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