Holmfirth 15 mile and 10k, Sunday 22 October 2017

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Holmfirth 15 mile and 10K, Sunday 22 October 2017

This year we are proud to announce that Longley Farm has kindly sponsored Holmfirth 15 mile and 10k road races by giving us £500 towards the race.

Holmfirth Harriers Athletic Club is proud to present the Holmfirth 15 and the Holmfirth 10k.

It is interesting that the very first "The Suncharm 15" race promotion also included the inaugural Holmfirth open junior road races that were then moved to another date the following year. This time we are pleased to be launching our first ever 10km road race promotion.

We can revive the old race but not the original course so the route will continue on what has now become the regular race route.

Holmfirth 15Date

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017


Holmfirth 15 mile: 09:35

Holmfirth 10 km: 09:30


Holmfirth Community Sports Centre
Heys Road


We will take entries on the day for both the 10 km & 15 mile race, but please arrive early to register.
Race HQ opens at 8.00 a.m.

Entry Fees

Kirkwood Hospice

Registered Charity No 512987


Course Maps

Holmfirth 15 mile: http://www.goodrunguide.co.uk/RouteMap/MyRoutes/417866 and course GPX file

Holmfirth 15 mile course map

Holmfirth 10k: http://www.goodrunguide.co.uk/RouteMap/MyRoutes/417881 and course GPX file

Holmfirth 10k course map

Race History

On 10th March 1968 Martin Booth, Les Bailey, Bob Asquith, Trevor Ramsden and Bob Kingdom made the decision to promote a 15mile road race. Ben Shaw's Suncharm premises were based on the proposed route and agreed to give £20 sponsorship, a finish banner, free drinks and a goody bag to each finisher. It was later decided that a 2½ mile boys u/15 and youths u/17 race was to be added and on 2nd Nov both races were successfully held. The combined entries totalled about 150 runners.

In 1969 the quality and number of entries improved. Ron Hill beaten into 3rd place gives a good guide to the quality. In 1968, 1969 and still in 1970 the race was called the Suncharm '15' but in 1970 the start /finish moved up to Holmfirth High School.

The course consisted of 2 big laps of just over 7 miles with 1 small to make up the 15 miles at the end with the finish in the school car park start on the road at the highest point. So more down than up contributing to the reasonably hilly course being a fast course.

Unfortunately, the course was remeasured with 'calibrated bike' method, originally 'surveyors wheel' method used, and it was found to be the equivalent of approx 30 secs short. A bigger factor for the fast winning times had probably been the high class of athlete who ran the race at a time when 15 miles was as popular as half a marathon.

Although Colin Woodhouse, who set the course record, wasn't a household name he was at his lifetime best and ready for international marathon selection. Unfortunately for him, he peaked at the 15 before the selection race.

The race hasn't generally attracted the same class of women athlete because in that era there was much less depth of quality than today. The exception was in 1987 when Veronic Marot did 83.50 which would have been good enough to have won the 2010 race! Thus the women's record may be even better than for the men.

In 1971 the race was renamed the K & M '15' after the new sponsors whose candle factory was next door to the Suncharm factory.

After the main sponsor changed to Kiwi and the race then became the Holmfirth '15' whoever was to be the sponsor. A feature of the race, in common with many other races of the era, was for each runner to be given a certificate for the time they had achieved. On a personal note, I think that was far better than the typical T-shirt type of freebie which adds significantly to the entry fee cost. But it is much easier to dish out a T-shirt than it is to write out a certificate and hand to the runner or even to post out. In those days most organisers did them on the day when most people stopped for the presentation, bought raffle tickets and enjoyed cheap refreshments!

On more than one occasion the runners have had to negotiate flooded roads when blocked road gullies had failed to cope with heavy rain but of course, that was more of a problem for the course marshals. In 2003 despite correct notice being given to the local highway department, the roads were resurfaced on the day of the race but by speaking to the contractors managed to divert around the New Mill section which made the course more like 14½ miles. 300m was put back on by changing the finish to another part of the school campus but it still left the race several minutes short.

In 2006 some road works and increasing congestion in the centre of Holmfirth enforced a significant course change. The distance lost was made up by adding an extra small loop at the start of the race. The Holmfirth shortcut saved about 20ft of easy climbing but added a short but steeper climb and the nastiest climb which was on the small loop had to be done a 2nd time.

In the hope of avoiding more and more new races, we changed the traditional 1st weekend in Nov date to the last in October. As Sunday morning traffic was becoming an increasing problem an earlier start time had been forced upon us which helped but the earlier date meant the clock change at that time of year helped people get up earlier and that 2 or 3 years further on the traffic was again a major issue.

By 2009 entries had dipped below 200. By this time the leading times were slightly greater but the rest of the field was getting much slower who were still out on the roads by the start of the `Sunday` rush hour.

In 2012 free policing came to an end and we had found no new sponsors. Although the race could have gone ahead without sponsors (as it did in 1983 when the course record was broken) the depressing decision to terminate was made mainly on the grounds of health and safety.

Race budget in 1983

We made some profit on refreshments and a raffle but 69% of a £2 entry fee went on individual and team prizes and certificates which in 1985 entailed a £100 1st prize!

Previous results

Results from 1968 - 1989

Results from 1990 - 2011


We look forward to welcoming you again!

Dene Townend (Race Director)

Copyright Holmfirth Harriers Athletics Club 2012