THE New Year started brightly for Ilkley Harriers with some top performances at the Yorkshire Cross-Country Championships which were held at Lightwater Valley last Saturday.

Tom Adams was fourth and Jack Wood ninth in the senior men's race, chasing home winner Andrew Heyes of Hallamshire Harriers.

In the women's event, first Harrier home was Rachel Carter in 41st place.

There were silver medals for Ilkley's under-13 boys, with Alexander Wolfenden (fifth), Archie Budding (14th) and Dylan Shinn (15th) combining for a second-place team finish.

And in the under-15 girls, Emily Gibbins was a fine third.

The end of 2019 was marked by the Auld Lang Syne fell race on New Year's Eve.

There was plenty of fancy dress in evidence for this gallop on the Bronte Way and Jeff Green - in Santa hat - produced a brilliant run to come first Harrier and first vet 50 in a very competitive field.

Lucy Williamson was the sixth lady, Kate Archer was first FV40 and Nea Weston was second U21.

Ilkley also won the ladies team prize - thanks to the combined exploits of Williamson and Archer, plus Alison Weston.

And Alison Weston was back in action the following day at the Captain Cooks race in Great Ayton.

She was third lady vet 50 in what was the first race of the 50@50 FRA listed races to celebrate the Fell Running Association's 50th anniversary. This list includes many of the original fell races, including Ilkley.

Another fell race taking place on Wednesday was the Giant's Tooth event around Ogden Water and that featured an impressive fifth-place finish for Ilkley's Steven Gott.

Also on New Year's Day, there was the option of doing not one but two parkruns and Harriers Alex Hyde, Tom Lambe, Melanie Edwards, Mike Abrams-Cohen, Jaysson Sawyer and Petra Bijsterveld all took advantage, while Jann Smith was the first female at Myrtle.

Parkruns also took place as usual on Saturday and there was a notable performance from Geoff Howard, whose 22:46 at Horton put him top of the UK's early 2020 MV75 rankings for the 5K distance.

Earlier in the week, Howard had finished 140th out of 792 runners in the Jolly Hog Jog in Ripon.

An undulating, mixed terrain, and sometimes muddy 10K race through Studley Park produced some rapid times for the conditions.

Ilkley's Jaysson Sawyer was right up there in 19th place thanks to his 40 minutes and 15 seconds.

And congratulations to Kate Archer, the overall winner of the hotly-contested 2019 Harriers League.

She was following in the footsteps of her father Nick Pearce, a six-time League winner.

The individual category wins went to Jack Cummings (Fell), Rachel Carter (Trail) and Dave Westhead (Road), the latter less than a point ahead of Hilda Coulsey.