Todmorden Harriers were out in force for the first of the six-race series in the 2012 English Fell Championships on Saturday, the six-mile Lad’s Leap Fell Race in the Peak District.
Lauren Jeska put up a strong start to the defence of her ladies title but had to settle for second place behind Bingley’s Emma Clayton.
The pair had quickly opened a gap and Emma held a small advantage until the halfway point.
Lauren (pictured) managed to take the lead on a steep descent but on the long climb back to Lad’s Leap rocks Emma got back in front.
Despite a strong final descent by Lauren to the finish she was unable to catch her rival.
The ladies team suffered a blow to the defence of their team title, as Chris Preston retired injured and Jane Leonard and Kath Brierley stopped to assist.
Lucy Burnett in 38th place and Sarah Warburton in 61st place were Todmorden’s other team counters as they were still able to score what may prove to be valuable points.
Todmorden Ladies Results: 2 Lauren Jeska 52.51; 38 Lucy Burnett 65.07; 61 Sarah Warburton 71.02; 66 Melanie Blackhurst 71.47; 91 Sue Roberts 79.26; 93 Helen Hodgkinson 79.43; 99 Moyra Parfitt 84.2; 100 Clare Duffield 84.2; 107 Jane Leonard 89.06; 108 Kath Brierley 89.06.
In the separate men’s race, Jon Wright led the way for the Harriers in 48th position. Dwane Dixon finished in 58th, with Sean Carey in 68th and John Lloyd in 78th position.
Todmorden Men’s Results: 48 Jonathan Wright 50.39; 58 Dwane Dixon 51.5; 68 Sean Carey 52.24; 78 John Lloyd 52.57; 156 Marcel Ellison 59.28; 209 Dave Collins 63.05; 220 Dan Taylor 64.07; 224 Phil Hodgson 64.19; 254 Mick Craven 68.34; 255 Mark Whitaker 68.39; 269 Richard Leonard 71.43; 285 Richard Blakeley 76.45; 288 Chris Drinkwater 78.45; 298 David Wilson 81.22; 302 Peter Ehrhardt 84.23.
Five Todmorden racers who represent Calder Valley Fell Runners were placed well. Shaun Godsman was first Todmorden male over the line in 17th place with a time of 47.09, followed by club mates James Logue in 27th in 48.04 and Mark Goldie in 107th in a time of 55.31
In the ladies category Helen Fines, who has just returned from injury, was well placed in eighth posistion with team mates Carol Fryer and Sharon Godsman offering their support.
Twelve Todmorden runners took on a local challenge in the Heptonstall Fell Race on Sunday.
The race which is co-organised by a group of Todmorden Harriers and Calder Valley Fell Runners attracted over 170 runners to its 15 mile course.
Andy McFie was the first Todmorden runner back in 26th position in a time of 2:22:22, with Trevor Davies completing the route in 2:30:42 for 38th place.
New member Becca Marshall was the first Todmorden lady to finish just past the three-hour mark to claim ninth lady finisher, with Hatty Nylan, 11th lady, a few minutes further back.
Todmorden Results: 25 Andy McFie 2:22:22; 38 Trevor Davies 2:30:42; 54 Darren Graham 2:35:39; 61 Darren Tweed 2:37:05; 75 David Baldaro 2:40:16; 88 Joe Daniels 2:45:32; 89 Dan Taylor 2:46:14; 123 Duncan Ritchie 2:57:23; 127 Phil Cook 2:59:04; 132 Becca Marshall 3:00:33; 135 Paul Cruthers 3:02:41; 138 Hatty Nylan 3:06:38.
A quartet of Harriers took on the Joe Ashcroft Memorial Cowm Reservoir 5k.
Richard Butterwick was the first Harrier in 20:42 for 29th place, just ahead of Sarah Glyde in 33rd, who was fifth lady on the day, in a time of 21:00. Ray Poulter clocked 24:37 for 65th place, with Myra Wells finishing first v50 lady, and 92nd overall, in 28:52.