UK Athletics Inter Counties Fell Championships, Saturday 19th May 2012

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UKA Inter Counties 2012 Lewis Bryam with Yorkshire U16 boys teamTop British athletes gathered at the Shining Tor fell race in the Goyt Valley on Saturday to contend the UK Athletics Inter Counties Fell Championship. Athletes are selected to represent their county based on recent performances and for the first year the Championship incorporated a race for the junior age groups. The senior race was the first of four events in the 2012 UKA McCain mountain running challenge.

Three of Holmfirth Harriers leading fell runners were selected to represent Yorkshire; Katie Walshaw and Helen Berry in the ladies race and Lewis Byram in the Under 16 Boys race.

The senior race, which started by the Errwood Reservoir, covered 12km and took in 533 metres of climb. After a gradual climb along a road and track turned onto the fell, taking in the summits Cats Tor and Shining Tor before returning via the same track to the finish, ending on a short but steep uphill section. It was a real sting in the tail after such a fast race! The course was well suited to road and trail runners and had no technical ascents or descents. Conditions were perfect for runners and the course records were well and truly smashed.

Yorkshire athlete and Great Britain International, Lizzie Adams, was first lady home in a time of 53:20 and 40th overall. Katie Walshaw finished in a fantastic 4th place, against tough competition, in a time of 56:05 and 69th overall. Helen Berry, in her first outing for Yorkshire on the fells as a senior, ran strongly to finish 8th in 59:57 and 100th overall. With Helen Fines of Yorkshire finishing in 7th (59:11), the Yorkshire ladies team picked up gold medals ahead of Scotland East and Lancashire. The Inter Counties race is used to select teams for the International Snowdon race in July and as a result of her performance, Katie Walshaw gained her second England vest for this event.

The first man home in 46:54 was Northern Cross Country Champion Steve Vernon of the Stockport club, representing Greater Manchester, who beat the Yorkshire men into silver medal position. The race was open to club athletes and the sole representative from Holmfirth was Alistair Rees in 60th 54:59.

The junior races took in the latter part of the senior race route, and with 6.4km and 365 metres of climb it was longer than many participating athletes were used to. Yorkshire dominated the Under 16 race, with two boys and two girls making up the first four athletes home. Lewis Byram had a great run to finish second Yorkshire boy behind team-mate James Hall in a time of 30:04, helping Yorkshire to gold medals.

UKA Inter Counties 2012 Helen Berry UKA Inter Counties 2012 Katie Walshaw UKA Inter Counties 2012 Katie Walshaw-Lewis Byram-Helen Berry 

Copyright Holmfirth Harriers Athletics Club 2012