PICKERING Running Club may have only fielded a small side for this years’ Smugglers’ Trod challenge event - but there was a clean sweep for the local trio.

Nick Cousins, Russ Grayson and Richard Todd travelled to Flyingthorpe near Robin Hoods Bay for the Long Distance Walkers’ Association (LDWA) challenge event on August 23.

Competitors could chose long or a short option of 24.5 miles or 17 miles, starting and finishing at a foggy Flyingthorpe Village Hall.

Despite the misty start, the sun broke through with entrants enjoying the sea and moorland views.

In the shorter route, team-mates Todd and Grayson ran together along the unfamiliar course navigating with a female competitor.

But the Pickering pair broke loose on the steep incline up Robin Hoods Bay to the finish, with Todd clinching first place in two hours 55 minutes with Grayson clocking 2:56 for second place – his longest distance since starting running 18 months ago.

In the long route, Cousins used his encyclopaedic knowledge of the geographic area to his advantage to bag 4:16 – four minutes faster than last year – and fourth place overall.

The following day a team of beginners and veteran club members lined up for the Escrick 10k near York.

The sun shone for the runners who faced a flat and fast course covering local road, trails and bridleways on the Escrick Park Estate.

Despite a hard summer of racing, Simon Jones bagged another personal best, claiming the third over-40s prize in a tough field, clocking 37 minutes two seconds.

Next for the club was Michael Hetherton, whose decades of running experience saw him finish in a solid time of 46-04.

In a change from her preferred off-road terrain, Serena Partridge, found some speed on the tarmac and broke the magic sub-50 barrier for the second time(49-57).

Leading a group of graduates from PRC’s recent beginners’ running course was Jennie Young, who put in a fine performance to finish in 60-00.

She was followed by fellow course mates Jenny Knowles (63-48), Denise Woodfine (65-05) and Dianne Hebb (65-35), who finished despite picking up an ankle injury.

Stepping out on terra familia, a PRC pack travelled to Clay Bank near Stokesley for the ‘Inclined to Madness’ fell race on Wednesday, August 27, which is part of the summer league series.

The seven-mile route starts at the car park, travelling east along three miles of forestry track before heading up a relentless incline up to Greenhow Moor across Carr Ridge and returning to Ingleby Greenhow car park.

Following a tough week, Jones put in a strong performance despite misjudging a wooden style and under-estimating the distance of the course, finishing seventh in 50-22.

Putting in well-paced run, Cousins enjoyed the extended route this year to clock 60-10 just ahead of Todd (61-10).

Enjoying the fast descent to the finish, Humpleby clattered into waiting team members in 66-06.

Bringing home the team was a battered and bruised Serena Partridge, who, despite a nasty tumble on the descent, picked off a couple of competitors on the downhill finish, clocking 73-20.

The next Esk Valley Fell race fixture, the fast and furious 1.5-mile race up and down Roseberry Topping, will be held on Wednesday, September 10, at 7pm.