A FIELD of 235 toed the start line for this year's Fairfield Horseshoe Fell race in near ideal running conditions.

Intermittent cloud cover and a gentle breeze protected the runners from the strong sun that had been gracing the country throughout the week.

At 14.5km in length and with 914 metres of climbing this race, one of the oldest in the fell running calendar, provides a stern test of athletic ability with a combination of steep pulls and long fast runnable sections.

Short rugged descents off Hart Crag and High Pike add a true technical dimension to the race and complete the group of attributes which make a classic Lakeland fell race .

Keswick's Carl Bell led the field home in 1-20-17, nearly three minutes before Jack Wood, of Ilkley Harriers, entered the finishing funnel.

Carl said that humidity had, surprisingly, been a factor on the tops and meant he was some way off Mark Roberts' course record of 1-15-11. Another factor is that race regulations now prohibit passage on the western side of the fell wall after Dove Crag in order to avoid damage caused by runners seeking the optimum route.

Third man home was Joe Baxter of Pudsey and Bramley. Ambleside's Gary Greenhow (1-24-00) was first South Lakeland runner home in fourth followed by the closely packed trio of Rob Brown (Keswick), Mike Ainsworth (Helm Hill) and first veteran, Mark McGoldrick of Wharfedale Harriers.

First woman home was Kelli Roberts, of Helm Hill, finishing 16th in 1-31-54, more than three minutes ahead of her club mate Sharon Taylor who was 20th. Third woman was Bianca Dyer of Helm Hill who was also first veteran. Marie Robson, of Helm Hill, was first female V50.