Osbourne dominates at Heptonstall
One of the country’s best and most popular fell races took place last weekend as 227 runners were waved of for the Heptonstall Fell Race on Sunday. Leeds City man and GB international mountain runner Adam Osbourne showed the way, with a powerful display…
Heptonstall Fell Race report by Stephen Grimley
Calder Valley’s women salvaged local pride at Sunday’s Heptonstall Fell Race. ,Local village runner Kate Mansell, Jackie Scarf and Helen Buchan won the ladies’ team prize in the third running of the 15 mile event.
The race’s growing reputation meant a major influx of classy runners from regional clubs and Valley’s Tim Black was the only local club runner to make the top 10. He finished seventh behind runaway winner Adam Osborne from Leeds City AC with four Wharfedale Harriers entrants packed in the top six.
Osborne led all the way to win in 1:58:20, exactly five minutes in front of Wharfedale’s Spencer Riley. Calder Valley had three more in the top 20 – Kevin Hoult (11th in 2:13:20 ), Ian Symington (14th, 2:15:24 and Steve Smithies (20th, 2:19:510) – while Paul Hobbs (2:17:03) and Andy McFie (2:18:31) shone for Todmorden Harriers in 17th and 18th.
Dominating the lady’s race was Cheltenham’s Liza Barry (2:24:21) who romped home 14 minutes ahead of her nearest rival, Rachel Pilling of Pudsey & Bramley (2nd 2:38:26) followed by Anna Kelly of Clayton, 3rd female in 2:44:16.
The event was organised by the Heptonstall Hurriers, a group of Tod Harriers and Calder Valley Fell Runners based in and around the village. The Hurriers have inspired many of the locals to get involved in Fell Running, and their enthusiasm has proven infectious, with residents embracing the race in a tremendous showcase for the village, its people, and the local landscape.
In fantastic display of community spirit seventy volunteers marshalled, directed traffic, and dished out free soup and cakes, while the White Lion pub provided changing and registration facilities, as well as a the proceeds of a keg of bitter for the good causes, plus cases of real ales as prizes.
The assembled runners received their traditional start-line blessing from the Rev Howard Pask, who has run a London Marathon himself, before setting out in conditions which contrasted to the warmth of 12 months earlier. While it was again bright overhead, this time it was cold and boggy underfoot after snow earlier in the weekend.
Conditions meant organisers were unable to use their usual field for parking. However, highways officials allowed them to use the closed-off Lee Mill Road and Draper Corner as an ironic, make-shift car park for the 150 vehicles that fllooded into the hill top village.
A knee-deep crossing of Hebden Water proved to be a popular new feature to the already challenging course. Runners found themselves wading through the fast flowing river as a result of the old wooden bridge at Hardcastle Crags being swept away during the July floods.
The event raised more than £1000 for charity whilst Mytholmroyd Scouts and Calder Valley Search and Rescue, who helped out on Sunday, were also among the beneficiaries.