There was a last minute change to the route at the new Gargrave Half Marathon (Sunday 19 January) due to ice but that didn’t spoil runners’ enjoyment of a beautiful course. The views were literally breathtaking as were the rolling hills in the winter sunshine.
Sheet ice on one of the roads meant organisers Its Grim Up North Running had to make a safety call and switched the course from a loop to an out and back instead. This resulted in it being half a mile short though preferable to slipping over on the ice and sustaining an injury or a decision to cancel.
Doing so would have meant 250 runners missing out on a friendly and inclusive half marathon in stunning countryside followed by plenty of homemade cake. This was the first of six races in the North Yorkshire Road Series that aims to attract a substantial number of tourists to the area.
The half marathon started on the canal by the Anchor Inn and continued through Hetton then on to Airton before turning around and returning the same way. Smiling, helpful marshals kept everyone on track and residents lent their support whilst providing them with hot drinks.
Matthew Cardus of Settle Harriers was the winner in 1:14:59 followed by Callum Rowett in 1:15:29. Simon Lambert was third in 1:15:44.
Rowena Leary of Norfolk Gazelles won the women’s race in 1:30:04. Clare Rowntree of York Knavesmire Harriers was second in 1:32:30 and Karen Bowman third in 1:34:32.
They all received a medal, kit bag and chocolate and most importantly, cake!
The next race in the series is the Settle Half Marathon, 10 Mile and 10K on 23 February.