TODMORDEN’s Lauren Jeska scored an unexpected but well deserved win at the Loughrigg Silver Howe Fell Race.
It meant she opened up an unassailable lead in this year’s English Fell Championships, to win the ladies gold medal for the second consecutive year.
Calder Valley’s Helen Fines - Lauren’s closest rival in the championship going into this round - and Jo Buckley looked to have secured a one-two for Calder Valley, having set the pace from the off.
However, a faster route choice on the final descent handed victory to the Todmorden Harrier by 11 seconds over Kendal’s Lou Roberts.
Sarah May had an inspired run to finish in sixth place, and together with Gemma Kendall in 21st, the Todmorden ladies secured second place team behind Calder Valley.
That result leaves the club on target for their first ever English Championship medal, with a silver medal already guaranteed.
However, with two wins and two second places so far this year, the ladies will be pushing hard for gold at the next Championship race, the Whittle Pike Fell Race, at Cowpe at the end of July.
Todmorden Ladies Results: 1 Lauren Jeska 1:27:38; 6 Sarah M 1:33:26; 21 Gemma Kendall 1:43:01; 22 Kath Brierley 1:43:03; 34 Mel Blackhurst 1:46:31; 56 Jane Leonard 1:58:41; 61 Helen Hodgkinson 2:00:30; 73 Louise Abdy 2:18:47
In the men’s race, Bingley veteran Ian Holmes also came from behind to snatch victory in a time of 1:08:20.
Jon Wright finished in 25th for the Harriers before Nick Barber crossed the line in 51st, just ahead of 53rd placed John Lloyd and Alistair Rhodes-Dawson in 57th.
Todmorden Men’s Results: 25 Jon Wright 1:15:48; 51 Nick Barber 1:20:05; 53 John Lloyd 1:20:28; 57 Alistair Rhodes-Dawson 1:21:31; 128 Andrew Bibby 1:44:36; 140 Simon Galloway 1:48:19; 148 Richard Leonard 1:51:35; 167 Richard Blakeley 2:01:56.
The Stoodley Pike Fell Race takes place on Tuesday July 5 at 7:30pm. Entry on the night is £3.50 at race headquarters in the Top Brink Inn and is open to runners aged 14 and above, with proceeds donated to a local charity.
The 3.5 mile race starts with a stiff climb up the Calderdale Way past Lea Dam and follows the flat ridge along to the Stoodley Pike monument.
A steep descent down to London Road takes the runners back to the finish field via Broad Carr.