THE 25th anniversary of the Three Shires fell race saw Ricky Lightfoot of Ellenborough AC win for the second year running, writes Mike Addison.

A field of 355 runners tackled the 13-mile course which starts in Little Langdale and takes in the summits of Wetherlam, Pike O’Blisco and Lingmoor. The route climbs over 4,000 feet and features in the Lakeland Classics Trophy.

Reaching the first checkpoint on the summit of Wetherlam, Lightfoot had opened up a lead of around a minute on the steep and demanding 1,500-foot climb. Although not confident of the route Lightfoot extended his lead over the fells, taking a comfortable win.

A string of runners trailed in Lightfoot’s wake, with Mark Palmer, of Welsh club MDC, proving to be the strongest of those as he held on to second from Wetherlam to finish second and first V40.

Chasing Palmer were Horwich’s Darren Kay and the Ambleside trio of Ben Abdelnoor, John Helme and John Deegan. With Kay taking a wrong turn off Pike O’Blisco and dropping out of the race it was left to the Amblesiders to battle it out. Abdelnoor overtook Helme on the final climb up Lingmoor to finish third, while Helme ran strongly from the summit of Lingmoor to hold off Deegan and take 4th position. Deegan secured the team prize for Ambleside AC, taking 5th overall and second V40.

The ladies race saw a predictable win for Dark Peak’s Janet McIver, who stormed to victory. Despite setting records in three of the Lakeland Classic races this season she was a few minutes off the record of 2.05.29. Ambleside’s Jane Reedy was second.

A group of runners containing Bingley’s Natalie White went astray over a misty Swirl How dashing any chances of a win. White was left to claw back places for the remainder of the race, eventually finishing in 3rd.

The biggest applause of the day came as Selwyn Wright, organiser of the Three Shires fell race for 25 years, crossed the finish line.

Junior runners from South Lakeland picked up English championship medals following the final counter of the season at Viking Chase, near Stokesely, North Yorkshire, on Sunday.

Helm Hill’s Megan Stuart and Lorna Nunwick got silver and bronze in the U12 girls’ category with the gold going to Blackburn’s Sally Searson. Team mate Lauren Appleyard finished fifth overall.

Although she was not competing on Sunday, Helm Hill’s Melanie Hyder – who has just received an England call up to run in the home internationals in Scotland – won a silver in the U16 girls’ category behind Leigh’s Laura Riches.

In the U14 boys’ category Helm Hill’s James Knox secured a bronze with a third place finish on Sunday ahead of team mate Rory Addison. The gold went to Holmfirth’s Tom Halton with Tamworth’s Kristian Edwards securing silver despite winning on Sunday.

The first-ever running of the Settle Loop Tough Trail race attracted a 72-strong field and was enjoyed by runners of all disciplines from fell to road.

Ilkley’s Tom Adams was the race winner covering the nine-and-a-half mile course in 46 seconds over the hour and was followed over the line by Baildon’s Quentin Lewis.

Settle Harrier Jill Robinson led home the ladies with clubmates Jess Cunliffe and Jill Eccleston hot on her heels, making it local ladies one, two and three.

The race was organised to raise money for Settle Scouts towards the refurbishment of their Drill Hall base.

The Dalehead Fell Race was won by Borrowdale’s Jonny Bland (49-00) with Keswick’s Steve Hebblethwaite just eight seconds behind. The first lady was Keswick’s Phillipa Jackson (55-53) ahead of Ilkley’s Holly Williamson (1-05-40).

This Sunday sees the first National Schools' fell Running Championships at Sedbergh School.

Special guest on the day will be Joss Naylor MBE, who will be making the presentation of awards along with Sedbergh School headmaster, Christopher Hirst.

With race entries of more than 450 children, it promises to be a spectacular event - there are four races, with the first at 11am for Year 7 pupils.

The event is sponsored by Ron Hill and Pete Bland Sports, and is being run under the auspices of the FRA and be covered on local television.