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Bingley Harrier Holmes produces summit special
After his decisive victory in the Withins Skyline the previous week, Bingley Harriers’ Ian Holmes was in winning form again at the ninth Great Whernside fell race from Kettlewell, organised by clubmate Pete Jebb.
Two miles up and two miles down, though short, this race of steep inclines and bone-jolting descents involves 1,558 feet of ascent to the summit of Great Whernside.
The weather had taken a wintry turn with a biting wind, though the earlier light dusting of snow had cleared. The race started in bright sunshine with some grey clouds threatening over the summit.
After three quarters of a mile of steep climbing Holmes and Mark Roberts of Borrowdale had opened a gap on the rest of the field with a group of Wharfedale Harriers forming a tight cluster behind.
By the descent through loose rock and scree above Hag Dyke, Holmes was well clear.
He appeared over the horizon with a border collie hot on his heels. There was some discussion amongst onlookers about whether being pursued by a hound constituted an unfair advantage.
At the finish Holmes was nearly a minute ahead of Mark Roberts in 32mins 20secs. Mark claimed the first male over-50 prize with his club mate Mike Fanning finishing in third place in 33:34. Mike Walsh of Kendal and Malcolm Coles of Valley Striders took the men's over-60 and over-70 prizes.
Team honours, however, went to Wharfedale Harriers, with Sam Watson, Ted Mason, Mark McGoldrick and Steve Brock taking fourth and seventh positions respectively with Nick Treitl and Paul Crabtree in tenth and 11th.
Annie Bamber of Ambleside led the women home in 39:27 to finish 25th overall. She was followed in 40:29 by Carol Evans of Settle who took 29th placing and first woman over-40. Gill Myers of Wharfedale was first female over-50 in 42:04.
In the fine spirit of fell racing there was a round of applause for Marjorie Winter an unattached runner and the only female over-60 in the race who finished in 84:01.