This must have been the hottest race in the Dales this year with soaring temperatures nearing the high 20's and increasing as the race went on. The ground underfoot for the most part was hard and very dry with only a short stretch over softer grassy heath. There was a very slight breeze along the upper stretches of the course but this gave little respite to the 267 competitors who completed the 14K course. For the lower lying parts of the course there was no breeze and the heat was heavy on runners and organising staff alike. Sun cream and water were the order of the day.
Our patron Mr James Wight started the race that was hotly contested for individual and spot prizes provided by the sponsors Dalesport of Bedale and Puma Running with club team shields provided by York Acorn for the team of the first two men and one lady, the Swaledale Club Shield for the team of the first four ladies, and the Rotary Club Shield for the team of the first four men
This event is becoming quite a challenge for the runners personal bests and there are new runners entering with good times each year. Apart from Gary who seems to speed up each time there are people like Craig Stewart of Forfar Road Runners who put in a PB of† 58.57, knocking almost 7 minutes off his last years time and† coming in 5th place, it being the second time he had entered, his last years placing was 38th in 64.52. One to watch in the future.
Gary Dunn of Thirsk and Sowerby , who, according to one competitor, went off like a rocket from the start, won the race once again and again set a new record, despite the, heat taking 7 seconds off his last years record and finishing in 53.17, this is the third time he has won the competition and he thoroughly enjoys the event. Over a minute behind him came Chris Beecham of London Frontrunners in 54.58 followed by Mark Aspinall of Clayton le Moor Harriers in 57.19, bearing in mind the oppressive conditions, these were excellent times for this route.
The results for the ladies saw Sarah Tunstall of Kendal AC take first place in 60.26 with Becky Penty coming second in 63.14 and 3rd placed was Erika Johnson of Swaledale Road Runners with a time of 66.09
In the categories, the Female 35+, we had an international flavour, it being won by Tracy Watson of Dubai Striders.
Female 55+† Janet Kilgour of Claremont Road Runners
Male 40+ Andrew Meskimmon Of Dewsbury Road Runners
Male 50+ Andy Normandale of York Acorn
Male 60+ James F Shemit of York Acorn
York Acorn Shield. Won by York Acorn team
Swaledale Club Shield. Won by Swaledale team
Wensleydale Rotary Club Shield. Won by Thirsk & Sowerby Harriers
There were one or two minor cuts and scrapes and one man suffered slightly from heat exhaustion but was treated by the St Johns Ambulance staff at the event. One chap retired soon after the first hill with a pulled muscle, but he declined a lift, and insisted on walking back over "such a beautiful course"!.
There was excellent support for the competitors, many bringing family and friends for the day out. The Castle tea-rooms were open for refreshment as were the Castle gardens and shop etc for the visitors.
The Rotary Club of Wensleydale thank all who ran the race, supported the runners, the St Johns officers and all those who acted as marshals and the Swaledale club non runners who took on the role of timekeeping etc. We are indebted to Andrew and Avril Steele our sponsors of Dale Sport and Puma and of course our patron James Wight.† We hope to see you all again at next years race that will be on Sunday 26th July 2009.
Many more photos can be seen in Image galleries†.