THERE was plenty at stake in the Wasdale Show Fell Race – the final race of the British Open Fell Runners' Association (BOFRA) Championship season.

Ted Mason (Wharfedale Harriers) and Jimmy Craig (Barlick Fell Runners) were battling it out for the men's title and Craig led in the early stages before Mason caught up near the under-14 turn and never looked back.

The latter stormed into the finishing field, even managing an acrobatic leap over the wall, and won in 36min 44sec, Craig tailing off to come fourth in 39.32 behind Helm Hill’s Paul Aitken (38.15) and Keswick AC’s Chris Edis (39.00).

First lady was Wharfedale’s Jean Powell (53.00), making it a double for Wharfedale's seniors, while Cumberland Fell Runners’ Lyndsay Buck was second (54.25) and Trawden AC’s Fionnuala Swan third (54.54).

Under-17 race winner was Wharfedale Harriers’ and England runner Thomas Nelson (21.08), with the minor placings going to Broughton Runners’ Joe Edmondson (21.33) and Helm Hill’s Jacob Aubrey (24.04).

Girls’ race winner was Helm Hill’s Georgia Stevens (29.41), with Keighley & Craven clubmates Hannah Thom (32.38) and Alana Willis (37.05) second and third.

The under-14 boys' race was dominated by the Hudson siblings from Keighley and Craven, with older brother Joe winning in 9.33 and Louis second in 9.39 and Broughton Runners' Ben Edmondson third in 9.47.

The girls’ race was won by Helm Hill’s Katie Thurlow (11.36), with clubmate Emelia Stevens second (12.13) and Ambleside’s Courtney Hutchinson third (12.51).

Wharfedale’s Sam Smith won the under-12 race (4.01), with clubmate Alex Thompson second (4.12) and Ilkley Harriers’ Lewis Carr third (4.23). Smith and Thompson's clubmate Charlotte Barrett won the girls’ race (4.36), with Keighley and Craven’s Beth Roberts (4.39) and Broughton Runners’ Emily Swarbrick (4.54) taking the minor placings.

Conditions were perfect – a warm, fine, bright autumn day – and it was firm underfoot for what can be a beast of a course, which offers some fantastic views of Western Cumbria and Scafell Pike.

It starts pleasantly enough in the flat field next to the showground. However, once runners have climbed the stile over the wall, the relentless climb up Kirk Fell begins.

Runners must first negotiate a rocky track before reaching the fell base. Facing the runners now is a hummocky, grassy ascent that seems to get steeper the further one progresses.

There is a brief pause in the climb at the point where the under-12s leave the path to complete their race, while the rest continue up the steep, grassy climb to the boulder marking the under-14 turn.

Further on there is the under-17 turn, where the terrain becomes scree and rocks.

Scree is underfoot until the first false summit, where it becomes rocky and remains like this until the real summit is reached, 2,400 feet above the start line.

The summit is rather worryingly marked by a team of mountain rescue volunteers, who at least cheer on the runners as they begin the descent.

The course descends steeply, returning via the outward route to the finish funnel.

If the ascent burns the calves and solidified the thighs, the descent turns legs to jelly, making the sight of the stile over the wall into the finish feel both welcome and dreaded in equal measure.

However, in true fell-running style, this deters no-one and an impressive 69 seniors and 74 juniors lined up to take the challenge.