In the ever-popular Ackworth Half Marathon which attracted a large field and Otley AC took a strong team to defend the Yorkshire Championship they had won 12 months previously over the same course. The race was won by Zachary Kilhara, of Birchfield Harriers, in 65.27 but Otley's Ian Fisher clinched an incredible seventh County Championship at this distance by finishing second in 67.40.

Ably supported by Neil Cayton and Julian Mawson in eighth and ninth positions respectively (and credited with exactly the same time of 71.58), Otley easily retained their team title.

If further support were needed, newly qualified Otley member Jamie Noon finished 10th in 73.24. Howard Jeffrey managed a creditable 85.12 whilst Tom Hannah produced his fastest half-marathon time since September, 1999, by finishing in 91.44. David Hainsworth, amidst preparation for the London Marathon, was satisfied with 1-40.08 and Phil Robertson, making his debut over this distance, managed 1-43.24.

There were a total of 596 finishers and all of the Otley runners were well inside the first half of the field.

Last weekend saw several races in which Otley AC members participated. On Saturday, the Coniston 14-mile road race was staged in unseasonably warm and sunny conditions.

Following the previous weekend's Otley AC training camp in the Langdale Valley, three club members decided to make a return trip and were rewarded with excellent performances.

The race was won by Mark Miles, of Belgrave Harriers, in a new course record of 70min 39sec but Ot-ley's Jack Robertshaw recorded 1hr 38min 10sec to claim the third veteran over-60 prize.

Not to be outdone, Jack's wife Kath collected the first lady over 60 prize in 1-46.59, whilst Hannah Peacock, whose ultimate goal is the London Marathon, was pleased to finish in just over two hours.

The aptly named Fiendsdale Fell Race took place near Chipping, Lancashire, and was an English Fell Running Championship qualifier. The race involved 2,600ft of climbing over a total distance of nine miles and Otley's Andrew Robertshaw completed the course in an excellent 15th place in 1hr 22min. New devotee to the sport, Matthew Cox, also performed creditably to finish 45th in 1hr 34min.

This year's Otley Ten Mile Road Race, supported once again by Otley Motors, will take place on Wednesday, June 15, and entry forms are now available from the club, from sports shops and leisure centres and can be down-loaded from

Skyrac AC

AT their annual presentation night in the Nunroyd Park clubhouse Skyrac Athletic Club presented the Round Table Award for the person achieving national and international recognition to Laura Kirk for a second year running.

The Juniors' Best Newcomer Award for girls went to Under-11 athlete Harriet Middleborough and for the boys to Jamie Common. Cross-Country awards went to Lewis Christoforou and Rebecca Harrison in the juniors and Ian Clarke and Lisa Dent in the seniors.

The senior fell handicap award went to Martin Farrow. The Golden Athlete awards went to Joel Riley and Lindsey Clarke. In the technical events of throws and jumps the awards went to Emma Smith and David Rhodes.

The Jack Crook Award for services to the club went to Mrs June Kirk.

At the Barton-on-Humber Cross-Country races the club won prizes in every race.

Results for Skyrac: U-11 girls - Alicia Jeavons 6th, Jay Riley 9th, Miriam Forney 17th, Daisy Agar 25th and team silver medals.

U-11 boys - Jamie Common 2nd.

U-13 girls - Rebecca Harrison 4th, Jemima Edwards 20th, Harriet Middleborough 24th, Rachel May 27th and team bronze medals.

U-15 girls - Cathy Elliott 13th.

Senior men - Joel Riley 1st (also 1st junior); Nick Howards 6th (3rd junior); newcomer Guy Good 27th and team gold for these three; veteran Peter Jeavons 45th; Tim Agar 46th (25 years after he first ran at Barton); another newcomer John Middleborough, a veteran, finished 47th and they were seventh team overall.

Some of these senior runners are parents who have joined the club after their children have taken up the sport showing that Skyrac is a family club. Training takes place at Nunroyd Park, Yeadon, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Skyrac Fellrunners

The Fiendsdale Fell Race from Fell Foot, north west of Chipping in Lancashire's Forest of Bowland, has suffered a gradual fall of in entries over the years and from around 200 runners a few years ago entries had fallen recently to around 60.

In 1997 the race profile was raised slightly when the race was included as a counter for the Ladies' English Championship but in 2005 the organiser's dreams finally came true when it was selected as not only a full English Championship counter but also a counter for the Skyrac Derek Emsley Trophy.

So last Saturday Fell Foot was a country traffic jam as 491 runners arrived at the race start.

Race winner was the current English Fell Champion, Simon Bailey. For Skyrac Rob Weston finished in 1.38.35 followed by Martin Farrar in 1.50.02, Robert Pritchard in 1.50.35, Graham Breeze in 2.00.32 and Malcolm Coles around four minutes later.

Pre-entries for the tenth Guiseley Gallop, to be held at 10.30am on Easter Sunday, are approaching the 450 mark and with entries on the day the race seems certain to have a record field. Peter Rawnsley devised the route, which is a combination of road, canal towpath and wooded trails, before the trail running boom and the astonishing growth of the event illustrates how popular off-road running has become over the past decade. Peter can be contacted on 01943 875516.

Sportshall finals

The National Finals of the Sportshall Athletics was held at the Birmingham National Indoor Arena on Sunday.

Teams from every county in the UK had fought hard through heats and regional finals to come together in competition to see who became the Norwich Union Sportshall Champions of United Kingdom.

Norwich Union Sportshall has reached over 300,000 children this year helping to turn today's youngsters into tomorrow's athletes.

The competition was of a very high standard and in the team competitions the West Yorkshire U-15 girls were sixth, U-13 boys tenth, U-15 boys tenth and the U-13 girls 11th.

The performances of everyone were excellent and resulted in the following medals;

U-13 Boys - Ben Williamson vertical jump bronze.

U-15 Girls - Hannah Francis-Smithson standing long jump gold; two lap gold; Overall All rounder Champion's Trophy. 4 x 2 lap relay - silver (Danielle Carr, Hayley Sharpe, Harriet Pickles, Hannah Francis-Smithson).

U-15 Boys - 4 x 2 lap relay gold (David Roman, Simeon Ottley, Carlton Smith, Keiran Hanse).

The Sportshall athletics scheme's success is well documented with shining examples being Olympic heptathlon bronze medallist Kelly Sotherton and Mark Lewis-Francis. Kelly won the title of Sportshall champion in 1992 and Mark won the title in 1998.

Bethany's award

The annual Leeds Sports Federation awards dinner and presentation was once again held at the Civic Hall for those sportspeople and teams that had excelled in 2004.

In the category of Junior Sportswoman of the Year, Horsforth athlete, Bethany Staniland, came runner-up. She received an engraved plaque for her national and international successes in the under-17 women's heptathlon and 300m hurdles. In the former event, she was a double bronze medallist at both the AAA's and English Schools Combined Events Championships and in the latter, she won the silver medal at the All England Schools Championships. As a result, she was selected to represent England Schools in both disciplines.

Bethany also took a share in the Team of the Year award. Leeds Rhinos won this, but Leeds City AC's under -17 women's heptathlon team of Bethany, Kirsty Parr, Alice Simpson and Ashley Little were the runners-up. In 2004, they had been the West Yorkshire Schools heptathlon team that won gold medals at both the North East and All England Schools Combined Events Championships.

Cookridge multi-event athlete, James Sleigh, came a very creditable 11th in the under-17 men's pentathlon at last weekend's AAA's Indoor Combined Events Championships in Cardiff.

He added 152 points to his previous best score with 2,643 points. The hallmark of his performances was consistency; 9.70s for the 60m hurdles, 10.00m for the shot (5kg), a 5.84m long jump, 1.67m for the high jump and a personal best in the 800m with 2.22.94.

Following last weekend's AAA gold medal success in the under-20 men's heptathlon in Cardiff, there was further good news for Horsforth's Andrew Staniland as he was invited to the Great Britain National Long Jump squad training camp.

This was held at the Birmingham's new High Performance Centre at Alexander Stadium.