25 years ago, former Wilson Run record holder, Charles Sykes became lost in thick fog whilst up on Baugh Fell. Fast forward to 2019 and runners were thankfully greeted with much kinder weather conditions for this year's Wilson Run – a dry, sunny day with a light breeze.
Of the 185 who qualified to run, we saw one of our biggest fields in the race's 136th year with 170 pupils lined up at the start outside Lupton House. The course was in good condition with it being relatively dry underfoot, but many muddy parts remained throughout.
From the start, Jamie MacMillan (SH), Spencer Bird (E) and Reuben Copley (P) made their intentions clear. The trio headed through Cautley with only 2 seconds separating them. George Rigal (W) was pushing to stay on the back of the leading three, having pulled away from those behind him. The girls’ race was a slightly different story. Alex Duckitt (R) set the pace early, leading at Cautley by over a minute and applying the pressure to Amy Slattery (L) and Miki Crossley (C), who occupied the second and third girls’ spots respectively.
As the race progressed, Bird and Copley (last year’s runner up) pushed on and began to move away from the 2018 winner, MacMillan. As they passed through Hebblethwaite, Bird had a slender 4 second lead over Copley, with MacMillan 36 seconds behind. Meanwhile, Duckitt continued to move away from the rest of the girls in the field, building a healthy three-and-a-half-minute lead over second place girl, Slattery.
By Danny Bridge, MacMillan had been working hard, reeling in the leading two of Copley and Bird, and was now just 10 seconds behind. With the pedigree of a former race winner, no one could count MacMillan out and all spectators waited for the first glimpse of the runners coming into town.
As the runners came into view, it was the pink vest of Copley leading the yellow vest of Bird. Both had been almost side by side for the entire race but it was Copley, eclipsing his second place finish last year, who punched the air as he crossed the line to win in 1:12:59. Bird finished second just 4 seconds behind in 13:00:03 and MacMillan came home in third in 1:14:03, 48 seconds quicker than his winning time last year. Rigal and Park-Johnson (E) finished fourth and fifth respectively, having held these positions for most of the race. Guthrie (SH) finished strongly on the road from Danny to overhaul Smalley (H) to finish sixth and claim the final boys medal.
Duckitt lead from gun to tape in the girls’ race and was rewarded with a quick time of 1:28:22. Slattery came home second in 1:33:32 and Crossley in third with a time of 1:37:34. Carus House completed the top six, with Ismali finishing fourth and Frankland coming home in fifth. Tinky made it a good day for the Crossley family running strongly in the second part of the race to finish in the medals with her sister Miki.
The House cups (based on sum of the ranks of the first ten runners’ home) went to School (187 points) beating Winder (248) and for the girls, Carus (863) who beat Lupton (952).
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