The promise of spectacular scenery lured four Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers to the annual running of the Ripon 10 mile race.
The race, which starts and finishes on Hell
Wath Nature Reserve, is an undulating, picturesque mixed surface course that leads the runners from Hell Wath around the Studley Royal Estate with beautiful views of Ripon and the stunning, surrounding countryside.
The race organised by Ripon Runners is part of the Hornblower Series which also includes the Jolly Holly Jog and the Burn Valley Half in Masham.
The pre-race predicted heavy rain did not materialise and instead the 450 plus field found themselves bathed in glorious sunshine.
Graeme Surtees was the first Harrier home in 1:36 (267th) just ahead of wife Cary (1:42 325th). Mother and son team Julie and Christopher McGrath showed no ill effects of their recent London Marathons.
Chris had a good run over the tough, hilly course in 1:56 (420th) taking eight minutes off his time from the previous year and Julie followed shortly in 2:00 (434th).
Over at the Howgills Half Marathon and Greg and Nicola Swinbourne took on an exceptionally tough hilly terrain in the hot conditions.
Greg completed the half marathon in 3 hours and 3 minutes and Nicola covered the 26.2 mile marathon
distance in 5 hours and 30 minutes. Fantastic running in the heat.
Closer to home, the inaugural Durham Trail 10 Mile Race took place around the scenic area of Maiden Castle.
The race was about half a mile longer than advertised but the masses running the route were more than impressed with the organisation and route that the extra 800m at the end on tired legs was lapped up and many runners crossed the line smiling.
Harrier Darren Armstrong had a great run, finishing seventh in a strong field of 400 runners in a time of 1:15:41.
Derek Snowdon had a good run over the 10.5 mile course, finishing in 1:48:28, with Kim Watson next in 1:58:01.
Nita Gaffney ran a strong 2:07:39 which was a great time given her absence from the training scene for a few weeks due to injury.
On Wednesday evening, the Pinchinthorpe 5k trail race attracted 136 athletes, with Hartlepool’s Paul Wilson winning in 17:00, closely followed and pushed by Daniel Francis from the Richmond Tri Club who came in two seconds behind Paul.
Burn Road’s Lee Kitching took third place in 17:53, with Steven Morrison 12th in 19:10.
Carl Marchant has spent most of the season training for track events but his return to the trail produced a great result of 24:34.
Julie McGrath finished well in 28:57 claiming second Vet55 position, with Mick Skirving close behind in 29:09.