Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Duty calls at the Jack Bloor Races

 Yesterday evening saw the 25th.annual Jack Bloor races take place on Ilkley moor; start and finish being as usual just below White Wells.  Jack Bloor was a fellrunner and pioneer climber who helped establish the now classic 3 Peaks race and coached many orienteers to World Class level.  The Jack Bloor Fund was set up to maintain his work in helping those who possibly would not otherwise be able to pursue their aims to succeed in their outdoor pursuits. 

 The COMPLETE RUNNER has sponsored the races for several years and so early evening yesterday saw  me setting up our start and finish banners in bright sunshine which predictably failed to last.   The youngsters fared OK. 6 and 7 year olds darting up the hillside to White Wells covering a half a mile. Followed by 8/9 years on the same route. 10/13s  ran a testing mile and 14/16 year olds an even more severe 1.5 miles on flagged courses.

The senior race is approximately 5.2 miles.  I say approximately as the route is unmarked.  Runners use their navigational skills and can run any route as long as
they go through the 6 designated check points.  It certainly made for interesting spectating at the finish as runners emerged from different points on the descent.  I felt like a sniper trying to take photos as they popped up and raced by.


It was amazing to witness the numbers of competitors who had clearly not "reccied" the last part of the steep descent. Despite the finish being next to the start, they had failed to take time to work out the least hazardous route, deviating from the path to scramble through the heather; several suffering nasty falls, narrowily avoiding the protruding rocks and the beckoning stream.                    

Arguably the best performance of the night in the deteriorating cold, wet conditions was that of Bingley's Victoria Wilkinson who broke the 1995 record of Lucy Wright.  But the young race winner
Peter Hodkinson of Erewash was obviously equally pleased with his victory.  The fact that he is only just old enough to drink his beer from co-sponsor the Ilkley Brewery could see him holding on to the Swastika Stone trophy for several more years.

So that was the Jack Bloor races over for another year. An evening which started well for the youngsters in bright sunshine but ended like fellrunners like it....damp and dirty!                       

That's all folks!

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