Having established an early lead over the rest of the field, Katie Walsh (Holmfirth) and Mary Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers) ran in tandem for the whole of the women’s senior race in the West Yorkshire Cross-Country League at Grange Park, Wetherby on Saturday.

In the final straight, Walsh accelerated to finish two seconds ahead of her rival in 20min 25sec over the 5.4km course. Jo Buckley, also of Bingley Harriers, followed them home in 20:59.

The races at Grange Park were the first in a series of four to be held at different venues around Yorkshire, with the last races on December 9 at Thornes Park in Wakefield.

In addition to the senior women’s and men’s categories, there are races for under-17s, 15s, 13s and 11s, with both individual and team prizes.

Yet again conditions were near perfect, with little wind and clear skies, though perhaps too warm at times for the athletes.

For Sue Brown of Baildon Runners, it was her first cross-country since her schooldays.

Sue, first woman in the Autumn Breaker 10K road race in Blackpool last Sunday (37:12), setting a new club record, got off to a slow start in the middle of the field.

“I was unsure how to pace myself” she said. Gradually she worked her way through the pack to finish in seventh place (21:24). “I will definitely learn from this,” she said after the race.

In the senior men’s 9km race, a similar story to the women’s race unfolded.

A group of three - James Walsh (Leeds City), Daniel Garbutt (Skyrac) and Ian Mitchell (Longwood) - broke away early and dominated the race.

Gradually Walsh applied pressure and extended his lead to win in 28:36. Garbutt and Mitchell were left to battle it out for second and third, with Garbutt having a two-second edge in 29:07.

After this first event in the calendar, Bingley lead for the women’s teams, with Leeds City and Holmfirth second and third. In the men’s teams, Leeds City are ahead, followed by Holmfirth and Wakefield.

The next fixture is on Saturday, November 10 at Nunroyd Park, Yeadon.