Sunday 21st February – Ilkley Moor Fell Race

Sunday 21st February – Ilkley Moor Fell Race

Tom Lynch writes: This race report could just consist of the word “WINDY”, but I will try and elaborate.

The race was a sell out a few days before, and there were no entries on the day, however the starting/finishing field was well down on this with about 80 people missing from the start line – the weather may have had something to do with this with almost strong winds and some drizzle prior to the start, thankfully the rain held off for the most part.
I wasn’t really expecting much from the race as I optimistically entered whilst I was injured, and I was only just back into fully fit condition, there were about 5 other Otley runners lined up at the start too. The start was the usual scramble to get position for the climb up to the Cow and Calf, where Andrew Robertshaw was waiting there to cheer us on. I got a pretty poor start, but it meant I actually overtook some people later in the race, which is unusual for me in this race, I never seem to have a particularly good time in it. As soon as the climb was over we were immediately exposed to strong winds blowing up the valley, and the race then basically consisted of either running into the strong wind, running downhill in treacherous muddy (even for Ilkley Moor) conditions and/or wind, or running uphill, sometimes into the wind. I felt quite strong this year, overtaking a few of my local rivals, but my watch was telling me another story, despite a good descent section on the final part of the race down from Badger Stone I was several minutes off last years’ time. It became clear after the race that pretty much everyone was at least several minutes down on their expected times due to the wind…….…Did I mention it was windy?

The winner of the race was Tom Adams (Ilkley Harriers) in 39.13, and first lady (and also first FU23) was Bronwen Jenkinson (Eryri Harriers) in 51.11. First in for Otley in 75th was Graham Lake in 53.00, then Rogan Ashton 94th 55.12, Tom Lynch 100th 55.27, Gary Johnson 208th 67.01, Andy Webster 225th 68.27 and Caron Ralph 264th 73.12, with 312 finishers. Results at

And also from Graham Lake:

Rather muddy and windy this one. Always good fun with some cracking descents, but there was no let-up this year as even on the flat you were teeth-in to a 50 mph gale. I personally found it tough, and was really struggling on the hills. I also managed to fall quite hard on what I thought was soft heather, but turned out to be hard rock.
The race was won by Tom Adams in 39.13 just ahead of last year’s winner Simon Bailey.
1st Lady was Bronwen Jenkinson of Eryri Harriers in 51.11.
For Otley were
Graham Lake 75th in 53.00
Rogan Ashton 94th in 55.12
Tom Lynch 100th in 55.27
Gary Johnson 208th in 67.01
Andy Webster 225th in 68.27
Caron Ralph 264th in 73.12

My time was 7 minutes slower than my course PB, mainly due to the wind, I guess most others found it pretty tricky too. We did get a nice Ilkley Fell Race Buff though.

Results and photos here

8 thoughts on “Sunday 21st February – Ilkley Moor Fell Race

  1. Otley’s no. 1 4 legged supporter had no problems with the wind apart from blowing his droopy jowls upwards, looked hilarious!
    Well done everyone, definitely a day to forget about race times.
    I had a good easy run back to Otley for me, wind behind all the way..

  2. A bad day indeed , there is nothing worse for a runner then a hostile wind , no joy in racing with a 50 mph gale. Although Caron R. had a nice result with 73:12 that considering the weather condition is good indeed . Also Graham L. with 53:00 ran well in a difficult day on the Ilkley Moors . Well done everybody who ran this short , but hard fell race .

  3. This doesn’t feel like a ‘short’ fell race (it’s considered AS). So many different sections, you have to run it quite tactically. Seemed to take bloody ages on Sunday.

  4. I’m impressed you even attempted it, the weather was awful on Sunday and I wouldn’t have liked to have been on’t moor.

  5. I have done this fell race from 2001 to 2008 and I always found out how hard it is going up to the top then lose all your high climbing in just a minute going down to the wooden bridge , it is short because it is just 5 miles Graham but for me this fell race is the hardest one in the district especially when there is a windy day then becomes hard going .

  6. Well done all. True Yorkshire grit!

    When I were a lad I once did this and hard rock were like soft heather to us! Appen it still is fo’t Graham (no damage I hope)

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