A BEAUTIFUL fine morning with lots of sunshine greeted a record 450 runners for the Esk Valley Fell Club Captain Cook’s race from Great Ayton to the Captain Cook Monument and back on New Year’s Day morning.

Add to this to 55 juniors, who completed shorter courses, to make it a superb event. The course includes a climb of over 1,000 ft up to the Monument on Easby Moor, some parts, including a muddy slippery path before merging on to the moor and then descending back to Great Ayton.

At the Monument, the leader was Gregory Jayasuriya, Midd and Cleveland Harriers, closely followed by Archie Lowe, Middlesbrough AC, and not far behind Harry Holmes, Matlock AC.

Harry Holmes had won the Guisborough Woods Fell Race a few days previously and he showed his form by overtaking the first two in the descent and romping home to first place in 30 minutes 37 seconds. Second place went to Archie Lowe 13 seconds behind, and third was Gregory Jayasuriya a further seven seconds behind.

First lady runner was Georgia Campbell, Jarrow and Hebburn, in 38:08 with Sally Fawcett, Dark Peak Fell Runners, eight seconds behind in second place. Hollie Elliott, Midd and Cleveland Harriers, was third lady in 39:07. The team winners were Midd and Cleveland Harriers with runners-up, Elvet Striders ‘A’, and third, Esk Valley Fell Club ‘A’. The winning ladies team was Pickering Running Club, second New Marske Harriers ‘A’, and third, North York Moors AC.

Sam Rhodes, Durham Fell Runners, won the under 17s race of 4.15km, including a 99m climb, in 16:21, with Jenson Brogden, Otley AC, 12 seconds behind. Imogen Atkinson, Spenborough, won the under 13s race of 2.25km, including a 54m climb, in 11:36, and Thomas Cole (individual) won the under 11s race of 1km. including a 22m climb, in 7:20.

Race organiser Clive Thornton said: “Proceeds from the race will be donated to charity, and as this was a record turnout with record proceeds, £2,700 will be distributed to local charities over the coming weeks. The race was the 37th time the event had been held, and runner number one Graham Robinson of Pickering Running Club, who has run all 37 versions. The Fell Running Association, the governing body for fell running, is 50 years old this year on April 4, 2020. As part of the celebrations there is a series of races called the 50@50 (50 races at 50 years) and the Captain Cooks Race had the honour of being the first race in that series.”