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Jez Hellewell pushes hard to claim unexpected victory
The inaugural Washburn Valley Folkin’ Reservoir Ramble saw Ilkley ’s Jez Hellewell win the 20-miler and Simon Barker of Valley Striders likewise over the 14-mile route.
Hellewell (2hr 46min 47sec) learned two lessons – always do a recce and never throw in the towel.
He explained: “I got horribly lost early on with another small group. They were doing the 14 and me the 20. I ended up doing 21.62 miles.
“I was very tempted to drop down to the 14 but instead I decided to push hard and try to claw back as many places as possible.
“I eventually took the lead with about four miles to go for an unexpected win.”
A beautiful Saturday morning also featured Dentdale’s Whernside Fell Race , 12.1 miles over runnable ground, 2,972 feet of climbing and stunning views.
Will Buckton, Jack Wood and Alistair Barlow (all Ilkley) finished around two hours, with Buckton improving ten minutes on his previous appearance.
A worryingly low turnout of local clubs attended Saturday’s prestigious Northern Road Relays at Leigh, with no junior teams at all.
Spen were 65th of the 88 senior men’s teams, Gerard Skippins running a strong anchor.
Lancashire clubs dominated as Leeds City A and B and Sheffield Hallam were the only Yorkshire teams in the top 25.
Bingley Ladies were 22nd in the senior women’s behind Wakefield, Leeds, Holmfirth and Sheffield.
Meryl Dodd produced a gutsy last leg after strong runs from Mary Wilkinson, Jo Buckley and Sue Becconsall.
Unfortunately the national finals have been cancelled, so their top-25 position counts for nought.
The previous weekend saw the unique Rombalds Romp involving two courses, diverging at halfway: a fell or trail course, each seven miles and 700 feet climbing.
A gentleman’s agreement in the last half-mile saw a tie. Colin Walker (Pudsey & Bramley) won the fell version alongside Quentin Lewis (Baildon ) on the trail route, Lewis grateful not to damage a knee badly bruised in a bog.
Cumbrian Tom Addison might have won, had he not gone astray. The podium placers were his brother Mark and Richard Pattinson (fells), and Rogan Ashton and Steve Webb (trail).