ILKLEY Harriers produced one of their best-ever performances at this year's British Fell Relay Championships, which took place on Saturday around Grasmere.

In a field of 250 teams, Ilkley’s men finished in a superb 11th place overall, their best result this century, while the ladies team were 10th in their standings.

All facets of fell running were tested on the mountainous terrain; extreme climbs, fearsome descents and tricky navigational challenges, including a leg where maps with compulsory checkpoints were only given to runners as they set off.

In-form Nathan Edmondson got the Harriers off to a flying start in the solo first leg despite being up against some of Britain’s best runners, handing over in 14th place to Matt Cox and Istvan Jacso.

Ilkley’s highest placing on any stage came when Jack Wood and Will Simmons nailed the navigational test of leg three in sixth despite the wet and misty conditions, and Jack Cummings rounded off a stunning team display to confirm 11th overall.

It was a similar story for Ilkley’s ladies. Jane McCarthy continued her fine return to competitive action on the solo first leg before the pairings of Kate Archer and Helen Wood, then Jann Smith and Alison Weston, kept Ilkley in the mix.

Helen Thurston’s excellent final leg time helped the Harriers jump into the top 10 to round off a memorable day in the Lakes.

The focus switched to the start of the cross country season on Sunday and Ilkley again had plenty to smile about, with the men’s team taking third in the West Yorkshire XC at Spenborough, and the ladies sixth.

Jack Wood led the way for the second day running with second place overall, closely followed by teenager Euan Brennan, who was a superb third on his first outing in the senior XC race.

It was a strong all-round display for the men and women, with Sarah Pickering, Beth Massey, Sally Malir and Caroline Howe all in the top 60 for the ladies.

The future also looks bright, as Ilkley’s U17 female team were an impressive seventh at the Northern Athletics XC Relays at Graves Park in Sheffield.

Away from a busy weekend on the relay front, Colin Williams picked up a trophy at what is billed as the 'toughest road marathon in the UK'.

The Langdale Marathon features no less than 3,400 feet of climbing and the arduous race was won by Michael Sprot of Hallamshire Harriers.

Williams came home in a hugely creditable 18th place in three hours, 42 minutes and two seconds and the second V55 to cross the line.

Finally, Jonathan Turner (19:25) and Steve Murray (19:37) were sixth and ninth at the popular Bradford Parkrun, while Rob Cunningham (18:57) finished 11th at Richmond.