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Bugthorpe 10k: Firth flying towards maiden title as Pocklington push for team glory

Joe Firth will claim a maiden York & District Road Race League title just by competing well in the season finale at Wistow after making it three wins from three appearances in the fifth fixture at Bugthorpe on Tuesday night. Tadcaster Harriers’ star man Firth signed for a 32:21 on his debut on the 10k…

Joe Firth will claim a maiden York & District Road Race League title just by competing well in the season finale at Wistow after making it three wins from three appearances in the fifth fixture at Bugthorpe on Tuesday night.

Tadcaster Harriers’ star man Firth signed for a 32:21 on his debut on the 10k East Yorkshire course which rises steeply to Acklam before spinning 331 finishers drawn from 12 local clubs back downhill towards a frantic finish into the tiny village of Bugthorpe.

Firth’s three victories cannot be matched but league rules state that individuals must complete four races to be considered for honours, meaning his unlikely absence from or poor performance at the July 2 showdown at Wistow would see the men’s crown default to a rival.

James Eaton – who triumphed at Pocklington in round two – followed his team-mate in with a course-best 33:35 as Dom Carter of York Postal Harriers added a third bronze to his campaign haul after signing for 34:16.

Michael Lambourne (City of York AC) was hot on his heels in 34:24 to beat York Acorn Running Club’s Kieron Brown (35:29), while Dave Smithers of hosts York Knavesmire Harriers completed the top six with a 36:02 that shaved 13 seconds off his 2023 time.

Charlotte Mason clinched her second title in three years by making it four straight successes on the Knavesmire last time out but there was no easing off the gas for the City champion as she trumped Knavesmire great Becky Penty (38:59) by over two minutes with a race-winning 36:49 that was good enough for eighth place overall.

In third was Tadcaster challenger Nik Tarrega, who looks to have done enough for second place in the series after a 39:39 edged out nearest nemesis Georgia Hird of Pocklington Runners, with the Sheffield-born athlete adding a 40:47 to her fine record.

Close behind in the Yorkshire Wolds were Pickering Running Club’s Kelly Richmond (41:12) and Samantha Davies of Easingwold Running Club with a season-best 41:39.

Pocklington’s Katie Wise (43:25) landed the veteran-35 category prize despite following Penty in as third-placed Louise Boaz of Postal (45:24) is unable to match her three wins this summer.

Davies will seal F45 glory for Easingwold by finishing at Wistow, with Fiona Randles of Pocklington best placed to profit from any default after taking 44:23 ahead of Acorn’s Julie Lawn in 45:38.

City’s Karen Wood went 5-0 with a 44:17 to consolidate her untouchable campaign as Pocklington’s Liz Beardsley (47:56) and Anita Ruddock of Knavesmire (48:05) filled the F55 podium at Bugthorpe.

F65 leader Sally Ann Polkey (Tadcaster) skipped race five after winning all three of her previous races and she will take the trophy by running well again at Wistow. Without her attendance on Tuesday, Easingwold’s Sally-Anne Lardner (59:56) and the Pickering pair of Sally Brown (1:04:56) and Nicola Wise (1:05:02) enjoyed excellent results.

In the men’s age categories, Eaton needs to turn up seriously next month to wrap up the M40 challenge after holding off Tadcaster duo Darren Tomlinson (36:40) and Stephen Walker (37:08).

Dave Smithers has a perfect record in the M50 after outgunning Tadcaster’s Paul Millgate (37:58) and Pocklington’s Richard Ginn (38:46) for a fifth victory.

Stephen Wright of City (41:54) could sneak in and take M60 gold with Stephan Tomaszewski not expected to feature in the last race. Three wins for Easingwold’s pacemaker were followed by a 21st place at Bugthorpe due to a knee injury and Wright capitalised to get ahead of City’s David Lancaster (44:15) and Vale of York Athletic Community’s Steve Middup (46:31).

Michael Hetherton retained his M70 crown with a 51:51 for 4-0 as Tadcaster’s Mark Thompson (53:28) and Michael McGrath of Knavesmire (56:45) were left in his wake. Huge credit goes to David I’Anson for delivering the M80 title for Knavesmire, with his 1:02:59 rubber-stamping the achievement.

Pocklington’s ladies are in a great position to push for team glory after making it two wins this term with four top-20 places for 42 points at Bugthorpe. Hird’s fourth spot and dynamic displays from Wise, Randles and Meg Letts mean another triumph at Wistow and a third-placed or lower display from holders Knavesmire could put blue and white ribbons on the trophy.

Teams will discount the weakest of their six efforts: for Pocklington this is currently third in the Tadcaster curtain-raiser while Knavesmire will disregard their shock sixth at Easingwold. Beyond those marks, Pock have two wins and two second places, with Knavesmire on three wins and one second place, setting up a tense confrontation on July 2. Postal, meanwhile, were a solid third on Tuesday.

Tadcaster reasserted their dominance with a fifth men’s team win as Firth, Eaton, Tomlinson, Walker, Andrew Sloan and David Murphy scored 38 points compared to the 124 taken by both Knavesmire and Easingwold.

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