Auld Lang Syne 2014

31st December, Penistone Hill Park

On New Year’s Eve eight Holmfirth Harriers joined a group of 400 athletes to tackle one of the Woodentops popular races, the Auld Lang Syne fell race. Due to the snowfall on Boxing Day and sub-zero temperatures conditions were particularly challenging with ice and snow necessitating a change to the course, which followed a similar route to the Stoop, which took place 10 days earlier.

Jonny McLean & Helen Berry

Jonny McLean and Helen Berry

The Holmfirth line-up included a number of experienced athletes, Club Captain, John Ewart, Lady Captain, Helen Berry, Fell Secretary, Phil Hobbs and a group of triathletes/ironmen who seem to relish the challenging conditions, Jonny McLean, Gareth Humphries, Jason Haigh, Jeremy Hoyle and Mark Buckingham (Sharky).

Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee and Mark Buckingham

Brownlee Brothers ahead of HH's 'Bucko'

The race left the quarry in Penistone Country Park and initially headed down the valley, before the climb up the Bronte Moors high above Haworth. The leaders set off at a brisk pace, but after the initial charge the Brownlee brothers, former winners of the race and a group of International triathletes, including Richard Varga of Slovakia, the best swimmer in triathlon moved into the lead. Most of the leaders fell at some point on the course as they tried to forge a lead on the slippery mud and icy conditions. As they returned back towards the finish, 49-year old Ian Holmes a local runner and former fell International demonstrated his technical skills and local knowledge having won this race eleven times. He moved into the lead chased by the Brownlee’s Gordon Benson and Sharky.

Mark Buckingham takes 2nd place

Mark Buckingham takes 2nd place

As the running conditions improved the amber vest of Buckingham started to close on the leaders and he moved into 2nd place chasing Alistair Brownlee, but it was the Olympic Triathlon Champion who won the race in 38.28, Sharky finished 2nd in 38.35, Jonny Brownlee was 3rd (38.44), Ian Holmes 4th (38.52) and Gordon Benson 5th (40.36). A little further back in a star studded field was Jonny McLean who finished a superb 28th in 44.29, closely followed by Helen Berry who was the first lady in 31st overall in 44.57, a brilliant performance. The Holmfirth athletes had some great results with Gareth Humphries 80th (48.56), John Ewart 87th (49.35), Phil Hobbs 89th (49.44), Jason Haigh 279th (63.39) and Jeremy Hoyle 304th (65.59).

Alistair Brownlee and Helen Berry

King and Queen of the fell

The 2000 Olympic Triathlon Champion, Canadian, Simon Whitfield was present at the race but decided not to race after seeing the conditions. Richard Varga, renowned for his swimming and now living in Leeds and training with the Brownlee’s and Sharky had a super run to finish 8th place in 41.15. After the race most of the athletes and many of the spectators crammed into the Old Sun Inn pub for the Woodentops fantastic prize giving performance.

Full results, photographs and video clips can be found on www.woodentops.org.uk

Pre-2012 news, results & reports are on the old sites: 2009 to 2011, Pre-2009

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