THE Ilkley Harriers were busy racking up the running miles despite the cold December weather and nine Harriers headed for the Lake District to attempt at the Abraham's Tea Room Winter Round, starting and finishing at George Fishers in Keswick.

The event, in which teams can set times between December and February, entails 30 miles and 12,000+ feet of ascent over Catbells, Robinson, High Stile, Red Pike, Grisedale Pike, Hopehead Gill, Eel Crag, Sail, Causey Pike, Rowling End and Barrow.

Joyce Marshall, Alison Weston and Mike Duffield started the first leg at 7am when it was still dark, handing over to Jann Smith and Paul Carman, plus their special guest, Heidi the dog.

Not content with just doing one leg, Weston, Smith and Carman then combined for the third part of the route before the longest and trickiest leg was undertaken by the trio of Rachel Carter, Jane McCarthy and Helen Thurston.

All went well throughout the day, with Marshall and Val Kerr rounding things off as the Harriers posted a target for other teams this winter of eight hours and 17 minutes, being greeted at the end with a team gold teapot.

Staying on a fell running theme, Peter Shelley spent the weekend learning from the experts on a course in the Dales, organised by Due North.

Long distance fell running legend Nicky Spinks and Great Britain star Ben Mounsey were on hand to impart wisdom, tips, techniques and plenty of encouragement to runners from around the country.

On Saturday evening, the focus was on speed rather than endurance, at the final race of the Podium 5k series in Barrowford.

In the second race, Ilkley’s Sally Armitage dipped under 20 minutes for the first time to take 34th in 19:53, while Mark Iley was just a few places behind in 20:40.

The week also saw the last of the Evensplits 5k races this year, at the Brownlee Centre on the outskirts of Leeds.

Again it was damp, but the windy conditions were the trickier aspect, and this was reflected in slightly slower times than usual.

Ilkley’s Hilda Coulsey clocked a very respectable 25 minutes and 16 seconds, topping the F65 category and even finishing faster than both the first F55 and F60.

Highlights from the series as a whole were Nathan Edmondson's two second places at 15:56 and 15:39, Nicola Budding taking a minute off her personal best through the course of the year, and Hilda Coulsey winning the overall F65 prize.

The popular Saturday morning parkruns are also over 5k and free to enter, and there were several notable displays again from Ilkley Harriers.

Kate Archer was the first lady at Skipton and went sub-20 minutes into the bargain, with a time of 19 minutes and 57 seconds. Fellow Harriers Tim Ashelford and Jonathan Archer also made the top 10 in that event.

Over at Sale, there was a new personal best for Mike Abrams-Cohen, as he stopped the clock in an impressive 19:20 to take sixth place.