Ilkley Half Marathon result and report by Jamie Smith

Race Date: Sunday 16th July 2023

I spied the Ilkley half marathon being advertised at the Ilkley beer festival back in February and thought as I tucked into yet another pint of beer “that seems like an excellent idea” so signed up. At £34 it’s average price now for a major road half marathon and given the money goes into community fundraising I felt with that and my efforts at the beer festival, at least I’m keeping the Ilkley community afloat!

As I returned in July, expecting glorious sunshine, I looked at the weather forecast, and my spirits sank as it looked very Worksop half marathon weather i.e. autumnal with the going good for ducks. Nevertheless, I departed sunny South Yorkshire in more hope than expectation of a dry race.

For those that aren’t familiar with the race, its organised by the Ilkley Round Table community fundraising organisation and they requested people use public transport to get to Ilkley as parking was limited and main roads shut for the race. So, I parked up at Burley-in-Wharfedale station where it was free to park and a modest £3.70 return for a 10 minute journey down the line to Ilkley.

The clouds were still looking rather ominous as I made it to Race HQ and dropped off my bag and found the start. The race is more than just that as it had an event village with live music on later, a range of street food and even a fly past by a Lancaster Bomber in the afternoon.

At the start, the sun made a brief appearance, enough to convince me to ditch the waterproofs for just the famous green and gold vest, I thought at least Colin Hardy would be proud even if I got a soaking. We started a little later than advertised at 10.35 but as the race was sold out there were quite a few people to manoeuvre into position.

I’d not been able to do much training owing to having to take 10 days off running a week or so ago following cellulitis after a rather nasty insect bite on my leg, so the plan was to take it steady.

The course looked undulating on paper but by Sheffield standards, I would describe it as flat. The route winds its way through some very picturesque countryside with only one section of road open to contraflow traffic, so there was a great atmosphere. The whole community really gets behind the race and the marshals and volunteers very friendly and enthusiastic in equal measure.

The hardest the rain ever got was a light shower which didn’t dampen any experience of the race and despite being overtaken by someone juggling (I am really not pulling your leg, video evidence available on request) I really enjoyed the route. I finished in 2 hours and 19 seconds which I was very happy with given how little distance and time I had ran since the Sheffield Round Run.

I didn’t spy any fellow striders but I must say a big shout out to Jason, his wife Sarah and their children Mia and Alfie for giving excellent support, race videos, coat drop (on route) and coming out in questionable weather. Mia, my god daughter, enjoyed wearing the medal as the lanyard was pink so an all-round good day!

The men’s race was won by Lawrence Mccourt of Morpeth Harriers in 1:07:04 and the women’s race by Sally Armitage of Ilkley Harriers in 1:22:19. I did find another strider in the results, Amy Leake, who finished in 1:58:19, well done to all that took part!

Striders results:

Pos Name Cat Time
903 Amy Leake F Sen 1.58.19
997 Jamie Smith M Sen 2.00.19

Full results: here

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