Report by the Hon. handicapper….
Abbey runners organised a perfect sunny and still morning for an early autumn stroll around Ilkley moor.
Two races Fell & trail starting at the same time and place with some common sections in for both races. The fell keeping entirely to Ilkley moor & Rivock Edge woods, where as the trail dropped over to the upper parts of the Aire valley and had a long section on the Ilkley – Keighley track/road across the moor.
Last year the leading fell runners beat the trail runners back, but with several of the leaders in the Fell going off course and a late change to the trail course, the top finishers was dominated by the trail runners this time.
1st back in a close finish was Quentin Lewis, Baildon Runners 44:20, just ahead of Colin Walker, P&B 44:25, a little behind were Otley’s top two of the Hon. handicapper, 45.10 & Liam Dunne, 45.25 in 3rd & 4th respectively, all doing the trail race.
Caron Ralph, (fell), Lisa Maughan (trail) & Chris Wordsworth (trail) had there own battle meeting both times on the common route with Caron finishing just 7 seconds ahead of Lisa in 1:12:03 & 1:12:10 respectively and Chris shortly afterwards in 1:13:57. Here’s Chris Wordsworth’s report:
On Saturday morning I headed to Ilkley for the Rombalds Romp trail race, a seven miler across Ilkley Moor. We met up with a number of other Otley runners in the car park and made our way up to the start in ideal weather conditions, sunny but not too hot.
Two races start and finish at the same point, one a fell race over a steeper route, the other a trail race over gentler terrain, or at least as gentle as Ilkley Moor can offer. I opted for the trail race.
After a short briefing we were away, heading gently uphill towards the Swastika Stone, with me taking my usual place towards the back of the field. There was a brief error of route finding, but a local runner soon had us back on course. It was fairly hard going but the views up Wharfedale and across Beamsley Beacon were spectacular and eased the pain somewhat.
The course then took a steeper and more direct route over the crest of the moor, and there was a gradual descent, again with good views, towards the conifer plantations. The tracks through these plantations were pretty muddy but I slithered through and emerged for another steady descent to the road leading to the masts on the moor’s summit, fortified by a couple of jelly babies from my pocket. The road was tough going, steadily uphill with some steeper bits and I was forced into a short walk at one point.
Once over the summit with lungs burning I was hoping for an easy track down to the finish, but we followed a more circuitous route with a steep and muddy descent that I was forced to take at a slow pace to minimise the risk of a head first trip into the bracken. As ever on such descents, a number of people flew past me with apparently little concern for their own safety. The final half mile was on a good track and I found a little bit of energy to finish at a reasonable pace. I was pleased with my time over a challenging course and equally pleased with the bottles of beer given away to finishers.
Overall it was a well organised and enjoyable race to do (good weather helping). I will definitely be back next year and would urge others to give it a go.
Race report in the Telegraph & Argus.