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Tadcaster 10k 2024: Firth seizes control in opener as Mason returns with a bang

Joe Firth laid down a marker in the battle to become the 2024 York and District Road Race League champion with a dominant victory in the opening fixture at Tadcaster as Charlotte Mason returned from a year out to kick off her latest title bid in some style. Firth (Tadcaster Harriers) won last season’s curtain-raiser…

Joe Firth laid down a marker in the battle to become the 2024 York and District Road Race League champion with a dominant victory in the opening fixture at Tadcaster as Charlotte Mason returned from a year out to kick off her latest title bid in some style.
Firth (Tadcaster Harriers) won last season’s curtain-raiser before slipping steadily to settle for bronze as the campaign progressed but a 31:53 – which was almost two minutes faster than his 2023 time here – proved he can be the man to beat with reigning champion Jordan Howe so far absent this term.
Vale of York AC duo Alex Ford (32:16) and Thomas Fell (33:04) were hot on Firth’s heels throughout a 10k race which took 475 competitors from Tadcaster Grammar School up to Bramham village, then on to an undulating out-and-back section under the A64 and finally home via the energy-sapping Headley Short Hill.
On a cool evening, Dom Carter of York Postal Harriers was once more just outside the podium places with 33:30, with Kieron Brown (York Acorn Running Club) and Joe Slater (Tadcaster) packing the top six with 33:58 and 34:25 respectively.
City of York AC’s Mason surrendered her 2022 crown to Josie Rawes after sitting out the previous summer league but she came back with a bang, placing 11th overall as her 35:22 was a series best to leave York Knavesmire Harriers’ Kate Thompson (38:21) trailing in her dust while league debutant Georgia Hird of Pocklington Runners set a high bar for her own season with 38:50 for third. Tadcaster’s Nik Tarrega completed the top four with a 38:56 following her first attempt here in five years.
Shane Grace threw down the gauntlet in the men’s veteran-40 race with 34:36 for the hosts as Phillip Elliott (34:56) and Charlie Goodwin (35:30) of Knavesmire made clear their intentions to challenge. Incumbent M50 titlist Dave Smithers consolidated further Knavesmire success with a 34:28 to trump Pocklington’s Richard Ginn (37:05) and Tadcaster’s Paul Millgate (37:26).
Stephan Tomaszewski will hope to deliver honours yet again for Easingwold Runners after taking the M60 win with 39:20, with City pair Stephen Wright (40:15) and David Lancaster (42:18) providing stiff opposition in the opener. Unrivalled in the M70 category last season, Michael Hetherton of Pickering Running Club drew another line in the sand with 52:00 on the nose to leave Knavesmire’s Michael McGrath (53:53) and Selby Striders’ Steve Ingledew (54:15) with plenty to do across the five remaining events, with the next coming at Pocklington on May 7.
David I’Anson was the sole finisher in the M80 class with a hugely impressive 1:02:23 for 448th overall.
Selby will hope to see off competition from new league additions and local rivals Snaith and Cowick Running Club this season and Paula Fenteman struck an early blow with 44:20 for gold in the F35 category as Snaith’s Sara Backhouse and Acorn’s Nicola Gover both took 44:43.
Samantha Davies of Easingwold was sixth in the ladies’ standings with 41:55 and leads the F45 race from team-mate Jennifer Duncan (44:30) and Postal’s Diane Campbell (45:26). Karen Wood will hope to retain the F55 crown after signing for a 43:16 to outpace Pocklington’s Liz Beardsley (46:07) and Anita Ruddock (47:10) of Knavesmire.
And Liz Piper ensured Knavesmire spread solid results throughout the competition with 55:38 for top spot in the F65, where fellow YKH hopeful Margaret Oliver (1:01:26) and Kathy Hayes-Taylor (1:03:57) of Pocklington will also hope to enjoy strong pushes.
The team battle already has a familiar shape after just one fixture as Knavesmire’s ladies claimed four of the top 18 places – thanks to Thompson, Emma Brookshaw, Rebekah Thomas and Emily Harper – to score a low 36 and establish a clear advantage over Tadcaster (57) and Pocklington (71).
In the men’s table, 2023 champions Tadcaster took six spots from the top 17, including Firth’s first place and strong times from Slater, Grace, Will Jackson, AJ Marchant and Andrew Sloan to score 56 and get Knavesmire wondering how they can narrow the gap from their 94 for provisional silver, with Acorn sitting on bronze with 113.

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