THE mild dry conditions over the festive period meant the traditionally sticky Captain Cooks Fell Race course was drying out nicely for race day on New Year’s Day.

The race starts in Great Ayton and climbs up onto Easby moor to the Captain Cook’s Monument and then back to Great Ayton. Come the day the sun shone, the breeze was light so perfect conditions, and all that was required were some competitors.

New Year’s Day is now a double-up day for park runs, and a new take on this is the parkrun/Captain Cooks Race double. Just shy of 400 runners signed up, with 350 seniors and 48 juniors, a record. The first kilometre is on tarmac leading to a fast start and the climbing then starts gradually at first. At the two kilometres mark is the split point of the Seniors and the u15/u17 competitors and leading it was junior, Archie Lowe, Mandale AC, running side by side with senior, Harry Holmes, Pudsey and Bramley.

In a repeat of Guisborough Woods race, a few days earlier, it was Lee Kemp, Totley AC, leading the chasers with Under 23 Rory Stead, Aberdeen AC. The third kilometre takes in the main climb of the race to Captain Cooks Monument, a brutishly steep ascent of slippy clay and steps where Harry Holmes gradually increased his lead. Archie Lowe proved to be a great pacer for Harry Holmes, who won easily in 29:28, with Lee Kemp second in 31.03 and Rory Stead third in 31:57.

In the ladies race it was Nik Terrega, York Knavesmire, who led home in 35:30 with Sharon Bulman, New Marske Harriers, second in 37:21 and third Morag Stead, Morpeth Harriers in 38:06. In the teams, the women’s winner was New Marske Harriers from Elvet Striders, and in the men’s, North York Moors AC leading home Esk Valley Fell Club.