Monday, 23 May 2011

Seeking shelter....Pontefract Half 1986

 Gale force winds up to 70 m.p.h. continued to wreak havoc across the north  today and Ilkley was not immune.  So it was a case of running canny this morning; seeking shelter along the tree lined river bank then heading up through Middleton Woods which form part of Sunday's ILKLEY (Harriers) TRAIL RACE. The event began as a 2 lap 8 miler, then reflecting the change to metric became a 10K. 
 Following some objections from Sunday morning drivers it then "morphed"  into a trail race,  modified several times.
  If you fancy competing for the first time you can check out  photos of the latest
route on the Ilkley Harriers club website.  under "our races".   This year's race has been moved to Spring Holiday Monday.

1986.............a look back at this week 25 years ago.
 3 weeks had passed since the Bristol Marathon and it was racing time again.  Roger Norton, a former Oxford Blue and well known Yorkshire athletics reporter, was race organiser of the Pontefract Half Marathon started in 1983.  Pat and I used to sell "mobile" at the event and of course, if only to get my run in, I would do the race, often without sufficient warm up.  The word had gone around the Valley Striders club that the individual and team prizes were excellent so the boys in white and black turned out in force.
  The race was won by David Wilkinson of former  Bradford club, Airedale and Spen Valley (ASVAC) in 68.54 . David was a frequent winner of local races in this period  but sadly passed away at a very young age.   Second was fellow Mancunian and new V.S. member Brian Eden (69.26) with  Duncan Gaskell (ASVAC) 3rd in 70.06.
Duncan is now one of several "managers" who bring athletes out of Kenya to compete on the roads and tracks of Europe and America.   Paul Pickup, Malta marathon winner was 4th.

  Valley Striders other counters were John Convery 8th, Keith Cludery 11th, myself 14th (73.18),  Mike Abbs 22nd, Martin Hopson 23rd and Steve O'Callaghan 25th.
So a good day for our Leeds club with 7 in the first 25.   Blog follower Martin Lister was 27th in a fine 77.50.  

But the most famous participant without any doubt was a former local South Kirkby  pit worker, DJ and TV personality, Jimmy Saville: frequently seen in races throughout the country in this period, raising money for various charities.

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