Matlock AC duo mix with world’s best in gruelling Three Peaks fell race

Karen Morley, of Matlock AC, powering to the line in the Lea Bunny Run.
Karen Morley, of Matlock AC, powering to the line in the Lea Bunny Run.

Matlock Athletics Club duo Richard Bradbury and Bradley Stone rubbed shoulders with some of the world’s best when tackling the renowned Yorkshire Three Peaks Fell Race.

Run over 37.4K, the annual race, now in its 64th year, is billed as the ‘Marathon With Mountains’ because the course takes in the peaks of Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

The event has to be completed within six hours, so it is literally a race against time, meaning that many runners were timed out or did not finish for various other reasons.

However, Bradbury and Stone most definitely did finish -- and they were in good company too because the highlight of this year’s renewal was the performance of Victoria Wilkinson, of Bingley Harriers. She knocked five minutes, 24 seconds off the previous best time set by a femmale runner, namely Anna Pichrtova, of the Czech Republic, when the Three Peaks doubled up as the World Long-Distance Mountain Running Championships back in 2008.

Wilkinson’s feat, in a time of three hours, 9.19 minutes, won her a £500 bonus prize, and the Matlock duo were also among the awards. Bradbury took first place in his class after finishing 69th overall in a time of 3.38.17, while Stone took second place in his class after finishing 263rd overall in a time of 4.11.22. The race was won by Murray Strain, of Hunters Bog Trotters, in 2.49.38.

The following day, the Lea Bunny Run presented less strenuous fare. But lovely weather brought the runners out in force from the Matlock club, particularly juniors because the race was part of the junior grand prix.

Starting and ending at Lea Green Learning and Development Centre, the event was a 10K road race, with an undulating, picturesque route around the quiet roads of Leaz and Holloway. Some terrific performances included victory for Matlock’s Mike Blair in 38.12 minutes. Hayley Gill was the first lady home and Bradley Stone somehow conjured up the energy to compete less than 24 hours after his tiring efforts in the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

A record turnout of 166 runners included a sprinkling of Matlock athletes in the Masson Hill Fell Race over 6.5K. The first five runners broke the course record, including the winner, Matt Elkington, in 28.17 minutes.

For Matlock, Billy Cartwright was 11th in 31.12, Charlie Unsworth was first U17 in 36.19 and Hayley Gill was third lady veteran over-40 in 40.09. Other times included: Mike Blair 31.37, Ian Watson 35.18, Andy Sheldon 36.12, Richard Bradbury 36.25, Mark Pollak 39.12, Dan Ashcroft 41.20, Mick Moorhouse 42.05, David Clough 43.25 and Simon Brister 43.26.