Andi Jones (Salford) made the short trip over the hill to run away with the Holmfirth 15 Mile Road Race. David Thompson (Barnsley AC), winner of last weeks Woodland Challenge (held only a few miles away), took the lead as the field set off in ideal racing conditions. By the time they had completed the opening small circuit (1 mile), Jones had already started to move clear, Ian McBride (Royton Road Runners) followed, with Thompson in third. In the Ladies race, Donna Edmondson Booker and Margaret Sykes were together as they set of on the first of the two circuits.
By the time Jones passed Thongsbridge on the first lap (6 miles) he’d already opened up a gap of over 2 and a half minutes over McBride, with Thompson and Andy May (Valley Striders) not far behind. Edmondson Booker, hoping to improve on her second place finish twelve months ago, had pulled clear of Sykes and held a lead of 45 seconds.
Jones was in a class of his own and finished in 1 hr 19 mins 04 secs – nearly 7 minutes clear of Thompson (1:25:59), with May (1:26:32) having moved though to third.
Edmondson Booker came home in 1:41:17 (quicker than in 2010), with Sykes improving by 2 minutes on last years time to take second (1:42:53), and Lorraine Smith (Holmfirth) third in 1:46:04. Holmfirth took the Ladies team prize.
Modern times in perspective
Jones time was one of the fastest seen on the course for a number of years, but even this wouldn’t have seen him finish in the top 10 in years gone by. Whilst the course has changed slightly over the years since it was first run in 1968 (mainly to avoid the busy centre of Holmfirth), the unofficial record (going by the Harriers centenary book) was set in 1983 by Chris Woodhouse (Derby & County) and is a staggering 1hr 13 mins 44 secs.
That year (1983) the first 10 finishers were all inside 1:18:25, with 109 finishers inside 90 minutes (only five managed it this year). The year after (1984), despite strong winds and heavy rain (parts of the course were a foot under water), the winner still managed 1:17:45, with 90 inside the 1 hour 30 mark. However did they manage it with full time jobs, kids………………… of course they did.