Running Log

Airedale Athletics gained a historic first-ever victory during the WASHBURN VALLEY RELAYS.

The team of Quentin Lewis (Baildon Runners), Matt Nowell (Bradford-Airedale) and anchorman Will Kerr (St Bede’s) held off a strong challenge from Abbey Runners to defeat the 50 other teams.

The invitational event, organised by Otley AC, now comprises three different loops of three to four miles around Fewston and Swinsty reservoirs, with each handover at Fewston car park.

A perfect summer evening saw Lewis finish the opening leg with a 150-yard cushion over Nigel Armitage of Pudsey Pacers.

Gary Scott put the first of six Eccleshill teams immediately into contention with an impressive sixth spot. Paul Stanhope and captain Mick Hogan then held on for an excellent 11th position at the tape.

Nowell was chased down in the long second leg by top-rated Matt John from Abbey Runners. Having taken over in 12th place from a recovering Alex Grant, John handed over just five seconds adrift.

The final leg was a tactical battle between the experienced Duncan Clark and Kerr. Clark had caught his rival after the first downhill mile but at this point Kerr kicked on and eased out to a 41-second victory in 60min 19sec.

Host club chairman Carol Armitstead presented Kerr with the Tony Allen Trophy.

Her own club put out a strong women’s team of Laura Martin, Rachael Bumford and Karen Best which finished tenth to claim the Joyce Smith Trophy.

Pudsey Pacers’ top team was anchored by Karen Pickles to finish sixth and gain the mixed team trophy.

Airedale Athletics can claim lineage back to Airedale Harriers, who were founded in 1880 – a boom decade for the sport.

That club’s glory years were in the 1970s, when they were national champions as Airedale & Spen Valley AC. Now the partnership of five clubs see new opportunities.

Delighted captain Kerr said: “This win really puts us on the map now. I’m dead keen to push on from here and find new competitive runners – from football, cricket, wherever.”

Kerr can be contacted on 07949-079744.

Leading finishing positions: 1 Airedale Athletics, 2 Abbey Men’s A, 3 Wetherby Men’s A, 4 Up & Running, 5 Otley Men, 6 Pudsey Pacers Mixed, 7 Ilkley Men’s A, 8 Airedale Vets, 9 Abbey Men’s B, 10 Otley Ladies, 10 Eccleshill C, 11 Wetherby Men’s B, 12 Horsforth Harriers Men’s A.