Keith takes handicap race honours

Keith Midgley, winner of Halifax Harriers Christmas Handicap
Keith Midgley, winner of Halifax Harriers Christmas Handicap

Halifax Harriers have held a Christmas Handicap race since 1985 and this year Keith Midgley was first back in the challenging 5.8 mile race.

The contest starts and finishes at Savile Park and runners make their way down to Copley, on Wakefield Road and up past Wainhouse Tower back to the moor.

As is the tradition, slower runners start first and the faster ones have a handicap from a few minutes up to 25 minutes.

It was a close call at the end with Midgley only nine seconds in front of Peter Clegg.

For the first time in the history of the race, the ladies ran the same course as the men, with April Caufield just pipping Laura Knowles by two seconds in a time of 39:41.

The only Halifax Harriers member to have run every race since 1985 is John Greenwood - 34 consecutive years. This year his time was 50:08, some way slower than his fastest time of 32:57 set in his heyday.

Junior runner Max Burgin, a nomination for the BBC’s Junior Sports Personality of the Year and the fastest runner in the world at his age group, was the fastest on the day in 33:28.

The record for the race was set in 1992 by Steve Halliday in a time of 29:27. Kenny Stirrat ran 29:36 in 1996 and Max’s father, Ian Burgin, has the third fastest time of 29:42, set in 1986.

STAINLAND LIONS’ Paul Shaw and Robert Ashcroft took part in the Sheffield Santa Dash on the day before Christmas Eve, both kitted out in the Santa suits provided by organisers.

Ashcroft completed the 10k in 51:13, with Shaw hot on his heels in 51:21.

Fell Lion Jim Harris, who is partial to orienteering events, did well in the Calder Valley Fell Runners Christmas Score. His time of just under 2 hours 20 minutes for the 20k route was enough to secure a top 10 place.

Santa brought Maria Harron a 5k personal best on Boxing Day at the St Stephen’s Day race in Ireland. She flew round in 21:01.

A record breaking 85 Santas and elves ran around Todmorden for the Harriers’ annual Santa Run.

The streets were ablaze with red and green as the Toddies took off from the Golden Lion pub and meandered around the streets, stopping en route at Ferney Lee Care home to sing Christmas carols to the residents.