Easingwold 10k 2023: Howe and Penty throw title tussles wide open as league reaches halfway stage

Reigning men’s champion Jordan Howe blew the York and District Road Race League wide open with a stunning victory on his season debut at Easingwold while Becky Penty provided a third different ladies’ winner as the 2023 competition reached the halfway stage.

York Postal Harriers’ Howe, who had the title all but wrapped up at this stage last year, missed the two opening rounds to see Joe Firth (Tadcaster Harriers) and Jake Shannon (York Knavesmire Harriers) stake their claims to his crown, but on a sunny Tuesday evening he threw down the gauntlet heading into the last three races with a course-best 32:09 to romp home over a minute clear.

James Eaton made the podium for the first time this season, his fine 33:38 from the veteran men’s 40 category leading a tight Tadcaster pack featuring Firth (33:52) and Wayne Wetherhill (33:56) as Knavesmire’s Tom Pavis (33:58) and Postal’s Dom Carter (34:47) completed an impressive top six.

Like Howe, who had clean heels for a four-second improvement across the undulating 10km which took 409 runners from Millfield Park up to Crayke before sweeping back into north Easingwold on Mill Lane, Penty also came back with a bang on her season bow.

From the veteran 35 ladies’ category, she led a Knavesmire clean sweep with 36:46 on her first appearance here since 2007. Round-one winner Josie Rawes maintained her title hopes with 37:27 and Rose Mather took bronze with 37:54 as Tadcaster’s Ruth McGivern (39:31), Knavesmire’s Hazel Hall (40:01) and Elizabeth Nairn (41:03) of Selby Striders gave the top six a familiar look.

Tadcaster took a huge leap towards claiming the men’s team prize with four places from the top eight on offer here, with challengers Knavesmire close behind and York Acorn Running Club still in the conversation. Knavesmire ladies, however, now have one hand on the trophy after filling four top places from five available, with Postal and Pocklington Runners having it all to do if they are to deny the club who host the fourth race on June 6 the glory of another team title.

Eaton’s second place saw him conquer the vet 40 men’s race, where Acorn’s Christopher Poulton (35:40) added another silver to his win from Pocklington and Phillip Elliott clocked 35:48 for Knavesmire. Dave Smithers (36:06) has three wins from three vet 50 men’s outings to keep Pocklington’s Stephen Maddison (37:14) and Acorn’s Matthew Smithson at arm’s length.

Easingwold Running Club’s Stephan Tomaszewski is eyeing vet 60 men’s glory after going 3-0 with 40:25 to outpace City’s David Lancaster (42:37) and Mike Jackson (42:41) of Tadcaster. Likewise, Pickering Running Club’s Michael Hetherton (50:54) almost has the vet 70 men’s event sewn up after dominating Tadcaster’s Mark Thompson (52:02) and Knavesmire’s Michael McGrath (56:31).

Penty, Nairn and Pocklington’s Katie Wise (41:35) bossed the vet 35 ladies’ race while Hall is almost over the line for the vet 45 ladies, here boasting a near five-minute gap to Knavesmire’s Bethany Benger (44:57) and Tadcaster’s Joanna Millican (45:56).

Karen Wood of City (45:52) is close to clinching outright vet 55 ladies success after her third category win, with Knavesmire’s Vivianne Fraser (48:08) and Sue Tindall of Tadcaster (48:11) recording strong finishes behind her.

Kathryn Dickinson backed up her win last time out with 47:20 for Knavesmire in the vet 65 ladies challenge, where Tadcaster’s Sally Ann Polkey (53:39) and Easingwold’s Sally-Anne Lardner (1:01:25) also signed for excellent times.