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Talented youngsters Nab victory
Promising young athletes Joseph Crossfield of Halifax and Tilly Melechi of Ilkley achieved their goals in the punishing Beefy’s Nab fell race on Sunday.
The race, organised by Keighley & Craven Athletics Club since 2003, is a tribute to Ashley “Beefy” Bevan, a member who died in 2002.
Three gruelling miles and 650 feet of ascent over open moorland begins and finishes at Leeming Reservoir in Oxenhope.
A short section on tarmac and bridleway precedes a steady climb on a narrow muddy trail to Nab Water Lane. Then, a direct assault on the tightly packed contours of Nab Hill.
The Nab, a loose column of stones, marks the beginning of the steep, tussocky descent to the reservoir. Hazardous concealed bogs await the unwary.
One race marshal commented: “It’s mercifully short.” A field of 48 runners started under clear skies with good visibility and barely enough wind to turn the sails at the wind farm adjacent to the Nab.
At Nab Water Lane, Joseph Crossfield, (male under-18), already had a clear lead on local runner Christian Holmes, of Wharfedale. At the Nab it was Crossfield first, then Holmes and Gareth Hird of Wharfedale. On the downhill section, Hird passed Holmes to finish second in 21mins 35secs.
Holmes, a previous winner in 2010, was third in 21.43. Crossfied finished in 21.19 to win.
“I’ve been trying to win the race for a few years now,” he said afterwards. “In 2010 I lost to Christian and Steve Smithies of Calder Valley. Last year to Simon Bailey of Mercia. The race suits me, a good hill and a fast descent.”
Tilly Melechi of Ilkley was thrilled to be first woman home in 27.43. It was her first win in a senior race, though she was running as an under-14.
“I was winning last year but was beaten by Hatty Nylan of Todmorden in a final sprint,” said Tilly.
There was one second between them at the finish last year. This year there was clear blue sky between Tilly and second woman home Chris Whitaker of Wharfedale in 28.23.
Prizes were awarded at the Lamb Inn, Oxenhope by race organiser Brett Weedon.