HOLMFIRTH Harriers made a sparkling start to the West Yorkshire Cross Country League season – and not just because of the glorious sunshine.
The Holme Valley club fielded full teams in all 10 races and finished in the top three in nine of the sections, with 71 athletes turning out.
There were no shortage of individual success with Olivia Sykes winning the Under 15 girls race with a great display of front-running, while Katie Walshaw won an epic battle against fellow Great Britain fell runner Mary Wilkinson (Bingley Harriers).
There were superb runs in the senior men’s race too, with Jake Rowlands, Dave Watson Richard Smith and Richard Anderson all home in the top 10.
Across the junior races, a further 10 athletes finished inside the top 10.
The Juniors, particularly, did the club proud, especially as many were competing in their first ever cross country race.
The Olympic effect was very evident in the Under 11 boys. An average field in previous years at this age group has been about 35, but 70 lined up including 10 from Holmfirth.
It proved a thrilling race for the Harriers, with Callum Durrans leading the charge to finish second Samuel Bedingfield hot on his heels in third and Freddie Wilkinson not far behind in fifth.
Only seconds behind, Ned Johnson and Arron Smith fought it out for 12th and 13th places and Jack Marsden 18th. George Hobbs ran strongly in 33rd, Tom Haley-Porteous 40th, Joseph Charlesworth 47th, Archie Hall 59th and Sean Keddie 63rd.
The team were easily first with 10 points (first 3 home to count).
In the girls race at this same age group, Sunnivah Waterman had her usual strong run finishing up the field in fourth, Francis Keddie was just seconds behind in fifth, while Emily Travis and Millie Yates sprinted it out to finish in 23rd and 24th (with the same time given).