Running Log

Tom Adams of Ilkley Harriers demonstrated his ability on the hills once again when winning the Rombalds Romp at Ilkley.

The race, organised by Leeds-based Abbey Runners, was run as either ‘trail’ or ‘fell’ over the same distance of seven miles.

The fell option was more demanding, with extra tussocks and bogs and additional climbing. There was a shared section through forest in the middle, with the routes converging on the final fast downhill run.

A deluge the night before ensured that the off-road sections over the grouse moor and through the thick gorse were slick and greasy. Many runners lost their footing more than once and arrived at the finish with a generous coating of mud.

On the fell route, the wind blew straight into the athletes’ faces as they tackled the initial hill, although Adams was already pulling away from closest rival Neil Armitage of Pudsey & Bramley.

Adams’ uphill technique is stunning to watch – light on his feet, up on his toes with short easy steps, core strong and shoulders relaxed.

His precision and economy of movement make it all look effortless but it requires enormous self-control and mental discipline.

His descending isn’t bad either. Adams applied steady pressure throughout and by the final downhill section he had a lead of over five minutes from second-placed Sean Bolland (Bowland Fell Runners) to take first prize in 45min 15sec, with Armitage third.

Leanne Hague of Pudsey Pacers was the first female fell-runner home in 66:50, almost three minutes ahead of Aileen Baldwin (Stainland Lions).

Baldwin was running in the over-55s, while Hague was in the over-35s. The third woman home was Jenny Beaumont of Airecentre Pacers. In fell running, age isn’t everything.

In the trail race, Simon Pass of Saltaire Striders came first in 46:17, a whisker behind Adams’ time for the fell.

Karen Hallas (Leeds City) put in a strong run to finish as first woman in 54:22.

A very muddy crew repaired to the Station Hotel in Ilkley for the prize-giving.