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Thousand runners beat the cold at Keighley 10k
More than 1,000 runners braved flurries of March snow today to take part in the biggest Keighley 10k race yet.
Organisers had expected high numbers, but forecasts of freezing temperatures and snow raised doubts over how many of those who signed up would show up on the day.
However all fears were unfounded when enough runners arrived in Victoria Park to make it the biggest run since it started four years ago.
Held every Mother’s Day, the race is organised by the Sue Ryder charity in aid of its Manorlands Hospice in Oxenhope, which offers end of life care for people throughout the district.
It attracts both serious runners and people who just want to raise money for the important charity.
Last year’s run attracted 950 entries, but this year enough runners turned out to easily beat that figure, and the charity hopes this means a record amount of money is raised for the hospice.
Rachel Cunningham, of Sue Ryder, said: “There have been quite a few people sign up on the day so it’s been the best year yet. We probably lost some runners because of the weather but they seem like a hardy group.”
Among the runners were a group of 30 dressed in pyjamas and onesies. They were running in memory of Susan Anderton, a Keighley childminder who died earlier this year aged 50.
She spent her last week in Manorlands, and her friends and family decided to run the race to raise funds for the charity that was so important in her last few days.
Runner Lauren Wilson said: “We chose pyjamas because she loved her pyjama parties.”
Fielding possibly the biggest group of runners were Oakbank School. More than 70 pupils of all ages and teachers entered, some in fancy dress. Teacher Tracy Foy said: “We hope to raise about £1,000 today.”
Of the hundreds of runners seven in particular stood out. Team Penguin consisted of seven men from around the Bradford area who hope to raise in excess of £50,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research by cycling from Leeds to Newcastle dressed as penguins in September, then staying in costume for the Great North Run. They ran the Keighley 10K in costume as a practice for that race, but also to raise money for the hospice which helps so many people in their area.
Mark Summerson, who came up with the idea, said: “I like the fact that it’s snowing today, its quite fitting for us. When we do the run in September I’m sure it’s going to be much warmer.”
The race covers a lap of the town and takes in four of its parks, starting and ending in Victoria Park.
Winner James Mountain, 22, of Riddlesden, runs for Skipton. After coming third in last year’s race he was happy to improve his position, adding: “It is nice to raise a bit of money, and it is a good local race for me. It is a hard 10K, it’s a fast course with a few hills to challenge you.”
James Lund, 13, of Keighley, was the first junior racer to cross the line. Although he trains once a week, this was his first 10K.
He said he was “really happy” to have finished in such a strong position, and hopes similar success will follow in future races.
The race was filmed by Keighley Film Club, with funding from Bradford Council. Any mother who finished the race was handed a carnation.