Tadcaster 10k 2023: Firth first for hosts as Rawes ramps up relentless pace

Joe Firth stormed to a debut victory on home turf with Josie Rawes setting the early pace for the ladies as the 2023 York and District Road Race League kicked off at Tadcaster.

Firth (Tadcaster Harriers) took the first win of the series just nine days after racing Manchester Marathon in 2:38:13 as he clocked 33:49 on an undulating 10km course which starts at Tadcaster Grammar School, heading to Bramham and returning via Headley Short Hill – a section that can sap the energy of even the fastest competitors.

Beaten into second and third under overcast skies and the occasional cooling breeze were two York Knavesmire Harriers, with Tom Pavis (34:14) chasing team-mate Jasper Baker (34:16) before squeezing past him to improve on his 2022 time here by over two minutes.

Dom Carter (York Postal Harriers) was a second short of breaching the top three while Knavesmire’s Jake Shannon (34:41) and York Acorn Running Club’s Kieron Brown (34:48) completed what already looks like being a highly competitive top six.

Rawes (Knavesmire) continued her fine start to the year – including a clear Snake Lane 10 victory in February – to finish 25th overall with a course-best time of 37:03. Knavesmire completed the ladies podium thanks to Emily Baines (37:18) and Rose Mather (37:23), with the latter shaving almost a minute off her previous Tadcaster time.

Hazel Hall of Knavesmire (39:11) was fourth with a standout performance from the veteran 45 ladies’ category. Ruth McGivern (40:18) flew the Tadcaster flag with a fifth-placed finish while City of York AC are represented in the ladies’ top six by Chrissie Dover (40:23).

John Yoward (34:55) and Darren Tomlinson (35:53) boosted Tadcaster in the vet 40 men’s category, with Chris Poulton (34:59) sandwiched in between them to support the Acorn challenge. Knavesmire’s Dave Smithers (35:17) leads the vet 50 men and Richard Ginn (36:55) made the first serious dent in the competition for Pocklington Runners as he took second from Acorn’s Matthew Smithson (37:24).

Stephan Tomaszewski was both 64th overall and first vet 60 man over the line with 39:32 for Easingwold Running Club, with City’s Steve Wright (41:10) and Mike Jackson of Tadcaster (42:41) not far behind.

Five vet 70 male finishers were led by Pickering Running Club’s Michael Hetherton (49:40).

Dover (40:23) was over three minutes clear of second-placed Nikki Calvert (Pocklington) in the vet 35 ladies category, where Easingwold’s Sam Lewsey (44:05) took third.

Vet 45 ladies leader Hall was followed in by Knavesmire colleague Bethany Benger (44:56) and Acorn’s Julie Lawn (46:46). City’s Karen Wood (45:20), Tadcaster’s Sue Tindall (47:03) and Vivianne Fraser (47:06) of Knavesmire filled the vet 55 ladies podium.

Knavesmire’s Jet Jon Shepherd (52:39) was five minutes ahead of her closest competition and club mate Mary Farmery in the vet 65 ladies race.

A strong team performance lifted Knavesmire’s men into first in the fledgling team standings, despite Firth’s individual success for Tadcaster, with his team second and Acorn a leap behind in third. Pocklington, Postal and Easingwold complete the top six.

Knavesmire ladies have laid down a daunting challenge to their rivals as they lead the team competition by over 30 minutes thanks to Rawes, Baines, Mather and Hall dominating the season opener. Tadcaster are second and a strong Pocklington showing booked them third place ahead of Postal, Acorn and Easingwold, with attention now turning to the second fixture in East Yorkshire on May 9.