More than 1,000 runners braved flurries of March snow on Sunday to take part in the biggest ever Keighley BigK 10k race.
Organisers had expected high numbers, but forecasts of freezing temperatures and snow raised doubts about how many of those who signed up would show up on the day.
But all fears were unfounded, when enough entrants arrived in Victoria Park to trump last year’s best of 950 and make it the biggest run since it started four years ago. Full results for every entrant can be found in this week's Keighley News.
Held every Mother’s Day, the race is organised by the Sue Ryder charity in aid of its Manorlands hospice in Oxenhope, which offers end-of-life care for people throughout the district.
It attracts both serious runners and people who just want to raise money for the good cause.
Rachel Cunningham, of Sue Ryder, said: “Quite a few people signed up on the day so it has been the best year yet.
Regional fundraiser, Andrew Wood, said although the number of participants was up on last year, the total raised was expected to fall about £5,000 short of the £49,000 raised in 2012 due to a drop in the sponsorship raised by corporate teams this year and the withdrawal of direct funding from Keighley Area Committee.
But he added: “Nevertheless, this is a great total and will make a huge difference to the care we provide for our patients. It’s fantastic so many people turned out to support us.
“As ever, we owe a great deal to our team of almost 100 volunteers, who turned out to make sure our participants were safe and well looked after.
“We are also very grateful to our sponsors, White Rose Volkswagen, Keighley College, Convenience Hire and Airedale Shopping Centre, as with their support it means every penny in entry fees and sponsorship raised goes straight to our care at Manorlands and in the local community.”
Among competitors were a group of 30 dressed in pyjamas and onesies. They were running in memory of Susan Anderton, a Keighley childminder who died earlier this year aged 50.
She spent her last week in Manorlands, and her friends and family decided to run the race to raise funds for the charity that was so important in her final few days.
Runner Lauren Wilson said: “We chose pyjamas because she loved her pyjama parties.”
Fielding possibly the biggest group of runners was Oakbank School. More than 70 pupils of all ages, as well as teachers, entered, some in fancy dress.
Teacher Tracy Foy said: “We hope to raise about £1,000.”
Of the hundreds of runners, a magnificent seven, in particular, stood out. Team Penguin consisted of men from around the Keighley and Ilkley area, who hope to raise in excess of £50,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research by cycling from Leeds to Newcastle dressed as penguins in September, then staying in costume for the Great North Run.
They ran the Keighley BigK 10k in costume as a practice for that race, but also to raise money for the hospice.
Mark Summerson, who came up with the idea, said: “I like the fact it was snowing today – it’s quite fitting for us!”
The race covers a lap of the town and takes in four of its parks, starting and ending in Victoria Park.
Winner James Mountain, 22, of Riddlesden, runs for Skipton. After coming third in last year’s race he was happy to improve his position, adding: “It’s nice to raise a bit of money, and it’s a good local race for me. It’s a hard 10k – it’s a fast course with a few hills to challenge you.”
James Lund, 13, of Keighley, was the first junior across the line. Although he trains once a week, this was his first 10k. He said he was “really happy” to have finished in such a strong position.
The first woman home was Helen Glover in a time of 39 minutes and 55 seconds.
There were a number of under-tens who took part, and the oldest entrant was aged 72. And any mum who finished the face was handed a carnation.
The race was filmed by Keighley Film Club, with funding from Bradford Council.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, who set off the runners, said: “It was an immense privilege for me to be invited to start this year’s BigK 10k.
“Huge credit goes to Andrew Wood and his team of volunteers at Sue Ryder Manorlands hospice, and also to the sponsors, who do so much to ensure the event is such a success.
“It was particularly heartening to see so many young people pulling on their trainers and taking on the challenge in support of such a magnificent cause. Congratulations to everyone involved.” * Don't forget to order your photo from the event on this website. And type in Race at the checkout stage to ge 20 per cent off the usual reprint price.