Race Report from Rob Fearnley
A glorious autumn day greeted the 1600 entrants for the inaugural Run Bolton Abbey event on Sunday which was organised by the brilliant folks at Sue Ryder Manorlands hospice. Such was the level of interest that the races were postponed by 15 minutes to allow everyone to get parked up outside the Cavendish Pavilion and collect their numbers.
Following an impeccably observed minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday the 10k evcent finally got under way at 11.15 with Kirsty Pomfret and myself in the mix towards the back. Colin Best was not far behind us in the longer 10m event.
Upon crossing the bridge to the north bank of the Wharfe it became apparent that PB’s were not likely to be in the offing and the frustration of queing to cross the bridge only 100m into the race was sign of things to come. A mere half mile into the race everything came ot a grinding halt as several hundred people queued to cross a sigle file footbridge over the beck running through Posforth Gill leading up towards the Valley of Desolation. A 5 minute wait commenced before finally after a mile runners were able to open their shoulders and stretch out into the Laund Pasture Plantation. The route continued along the lower flanks of Barden Fell before opening into one of the most strikingly beautiful views of Lower Wharfedale you’re ever likely to bear witness to.
And then everything stopped again. The need to cross not one, but TWO stiles into a field at Park Hill caused havoc with the incoming front runners of the 10 mile race choosing to hurdle the wall rather than wait their turn on the stile. Upon joining the Dales Way heading up river the route opened out once more with a sharp left turn over Barden Bridge and a 2 mile dash back along the Strid to the finish point, once again at the Cavendish Pavillion.
Kirsty Pomfrett lead the charge in 124th place with a time of 1.05.41 and me a way behind in 1.19.17 and 313th place. Colin was 86th in the 10 mile race with a time of 2.01.01. You can take a good 15 minutes off all those times for the actual run itself though!
Massive shout out to the Brogden boys who completed an Otley AC one, two in the 2 mile race with George Chambers in an equally creditable 6th position. Jensons time of 14:26 bringing him home a clear 50 seconds ahead of Aston with George a further 87 seconds behind.
Overall a great race for a great cause and admirably the organisers have already held their hands up to a few hiccups that they weren’t expecting. A few tweaks here and there and we could well see this race becoming a staple of the autumn off-road calendar.