The fastest ever ladies 'Pike racers' are profiled here, in the 'Rivington Pike All-Time' list of 'Sub 22 minute performers.


  1. Carol Greenwood (nee Haigh) 19':38''   (1987)

The names 'Haigh' and 'Greenwood' are synonymous in the world of Fell running, as Carol Greenwood (nee Haigh) set about re-writing the record books in each and every fell race she entered throughout the 'eighties' and 'nineties'. The Rivington Pike race was no different, and after already trouncing  women's 'pike' competitors on three previous occasions when taking the 1982, '83' and '86' titles, she returned again in sparkling form in 1987 to demolish her own record by a further 18 seconds. This made her the 'only female to break the 20 minute barrier', a mark which she has broken twice, with only one other woman (Mary Wilkinson) coming within touching distance of it. It was no surprise that she demolished women's fields at the 'pike' race by such huge margins, as she was indeed crowned World mountain running champion in 1986, having taken the 'English' fell running championship earlier in the season. Haigh, now married and under her new name of Greenwood lifted the title once more seven years on in the season of '93'. Haigh was also a fiercely strong competitor on the X-C scene, where she had many high placings amongst national competition, and once finished 2nd to International 'Kiwi' athlete Lesley Morton in the televised Durham International X-C race, showing her speed over the smoother terrain wasn't too shabby either! Haigh also holds the most wins at the 'pike' with four victories to her name between 1982 and 1987 in the women's class. Along with her 1986 World's win, she also collected 'Bronze' in '93', and later in her career a 'Silver' at the '97' European's, completing a full set of medals at the highest levels.

Haigh can be seen above on the ascent of the 'Snowdon' International mountain race where she holds the record at 72 minutes.

 

 

            2. Mary Wilkinson: 20':03'' (2007)

Bingley Harrier Mary Wilkinson's name 'burst into the limelight' in the season of 2005, around the time she first lifted the Rivington Pike title in a fast 20:18. This run put her onto the 'radar' of many top athlete's who took note of the name 'Wilkinson' after this brilliant 'breakthrough' run.This great performance turned out to be the beginning of a fine period in Wilkinson's career, when she achieved many race wins and records, and made many International teams for England and GB in European and World championship races. A fine 4th place at the 'World's' held in Wellington, New Zealand cemented her elevation to top flight athletics, and she now holds a string of top 15 performances to her name at this level. Since 2005, Wilkinson has continued to compete with the very best, and has already achieved a record superior to most, with many more possible years left at this level. Her fastest time at the 'pike' came whilst taking victory in the women's race in 2007 in the 2nd quickest ever time of 20:03, just a few agonising tick's away from the 'magical' 20 minute mark, which would have seen her join only Haigh in this category. Still at the peak of her running career, there will surely be other chances to achieve this mark in future races, and maybe add to her 2 previous wins.

Wilkinson is pictured representing GB at the 2006 European Mountain Running Championships (right) and above, blasting' down a rocky 'Lakeland Trail Race' descent showing her supreme downhill technique.

 


               3. Jessica Turnbull: 20':17'' (1997)

In 1997, Bury's Jessica Turnbull was close to being only the 2nd female athlete in the history of the women's pike race to break the 20 minute mark. With her time of 20:17 she comfortably took her first 'pike' victory by a massive 400yards, and in doing so, inspired her to come back the following year to repeat her '97' win with another convincing victory. This time she had a minute spare over her nearest rival in the 1998 race, who was Jackie Hargreaves of Cumberland fell runners, who with her 21:39 also made it onto the 'all-time' lists. Turnbull rounded off her 1998 season with a tremendous run in the European Championships by placing 11th amongst Europe's elite mountain runners, to cap off a memorable period in her athletic career.

Turnbull demonstating her strong climbing ability, which she used to good effect at Rivington.

 

 

4. Katie Walshaw: 20':24'' (2013) Holmfirth's Katie Walshaw capped off a fine 2012-2013 X/C season to take her first 'Pike' title in the fast time of 20:24. Her time takes her straight to number 4 on the all time list, above many top international standard Pike racers, and indeed emulates clubmate Carol Greenwood's dominance in many earlier pike races. Walshaw's dominant performance over a strong ladies field came as no surprise to many onlookers after she had placed a fine 5th in the Northern X/C, then backed this run up with another strong 15th position in the National X/C over the muddy undulations of Sunderland. Walshaw's strength in that particular race saw her take some notable scalps, in particular, former European Jnr X/C Champion and 14:54 5000m performer Steph Twell who finished just 3 seconds behind Holmfirth's top athlete. The improving Holmfirth Harrier has previously demonstrated the stamina of a seasoned mountain runner with several high placings in World & European 'Trial' races, and indeed scored a superb 10th place finish in the 2012 European Mountain running Championships in Turkey whilst representing Great Britain.

Katie Walshaw pictured above ploughing through the mud to finish 15th in the 2013 'National X/C'


 

5. Danielle Hodgkinson: 20'31'' (2014) Army and Inter-Services track and Cross country champion, Danielle Hodgkinson, flew to an amazing debut victory at the 2014 Rivington Pike fell race to go straight into the all-time top five female pike racers. The former Wallsend Harrier, now competeing in the colours of Birmingham giant's, Birchfield harriers cruised to a very fast 20:31, going above many notable athletes in the process. Her performance came as no surprise to many knowledgable pike race onlookers, when you take into account Hodkinson's track and road pedigree, where she can boast notable p.b's of 16:35 and 34:38. These times demonstrate that if she wishes to defend her pike title in future years, and is pushed to run harder, then she is surely capable of sub 20 minutes and beyond.

Danielle Hodgkinson wearing the colours of her recent new club, Birchfield Harriers, on her way to one of many good class road race victories.

 

 

6. Rebecca Robinson: 20':36'' (2012)

Kendal's International road, XC and Mountain star athlete Rebecca Robinson demonstated her athletic versatility with a superb win in her debut run over the tough undulations of the pike course. Ideally suited to the demands of the tough pike climb, the slight Kendal runner floated effortlessly up the steep gradient as if it were flat on her way to the 4th fastest female time ever recorded at the time. Robinson's achievements within the sport  have seen her racing to many fast road times including 15:48, 33:16 and 73:11 for 5k, 10K and Half Marathon respectively. Along with a marathon debut of  2:37 in London 2010, we can clearly see why Robinson's debut on the pike was such a convincing and impressive one. Her fast time demonstating why she has been such a force over various terrains and running disciplines throughout the past few seasons. Onlookers shouldn't have been surprised at all that she flew down LeverPark Avenue with such a commanding lead over local Horwich athlete Linsey Brindle who herself was on her way to a pretty quick time. Her Half Marathon and Marathon debut's both earning her selection for the World Half champs and European Marathon Championships respectively in 2010. Robinson battled the heat and humidity facing the marathoners to finish a creditable 24th in the oppressive catalan conditions in the Spanish capital of Barcelona. This performance once again demonstrated the strength she had previously shown several times on the International Mountain running stage by finishing 3rd, 17th and 25th in Commonwealth, European and World championships respectively. Clearly, this talented Kendal athlete has all of the attributes required to run an even quicker time over the pike course, and still at the peak of her career may well challenge the 20 minute barrier in future to join the great carol Greenwood at the very echelons of pike racing, a feat her late coach Norman Matthews surely would have been proud of being such an avid pike racer himself.

Robinson is pictured above wearing the green vest of her Kendal club, and above right in the 'red, white and blue' of Great Britain which she has worn on several occasions whilst representing her country in many international road and mountain events including the European championships in the marathon shown here.

 

 

   7. Clare Crofts: 20':37'' (1988)

The 1988 womens race was won by 'Dark Peaks' Clare Crofts who held off L. Davis by 20 seconds for her first 'Pike' victory. Croft's was in the form of her life, and being a fell running expert went on to take Both 'British and English' Fell running titles that year. She retained the 'English' title the following season proving her quality. This successful period in her career also saw her place 16th and 17th in the '87' and '88' World's as a gauge of her quality as a champion runner. Croft's returned two years later to again take victory in the 1990 race by a larger margin of 33 seconds over Janet Kenyon, who herself would taste victory for the first time in the 1992 race. She then carried on her good form to take the 'British' fell running title for a second time in the '92' season to make it two wins in both 'British and English' championships to her name. Croft's time still stands up well against todays 'Pike racers', and sits at No.7 on the 'all-time' list.

 

 

 

                               8. Jane Clarke: 20':42'' (1999)

Pudsey and Bramley's Jane Clarke joined Rob Hope on the list of 'Pudsey's pike race winners', when she won the women's version of the title Rob had collected 4 years previously. She beat 'pike regular', Kath Drake of Spenborough AC by a more than useful margin of almost 60 seconds to claim victory in a fast 20:42 in the 1999 race. The race was run in ''baking hot'' conditions, which attracted a near record entry at the time of 292 competitors. The spring sunshine also drew the crowds of spectators to the 'pike', who all went towards creating a 'carnival' atmosphere reminiscent of the 'old days' when the event had attracted thousands, lining the Pike race route from top to bottom.

 

 

 

9. S. Lonsdale: 20':43'' (1980)  Sale Harrier S. Lonsdale set a new women's record of 20:23 (20:43 converted) when winning the ladies title in 1980. Winning by a massive one-and-a-quarter minutes, she was un-stretched by fellow female competitors, instead battling with the many male competitors around her. Her converted time of 20:43 still comfortably under the 21 minute mark was a fine performance to beat her nearest rival, J. Lockhead who also squeezes onto the 'all-time' list with a converted 21:57. Now competing for Lytham St.Annes Road Runners and under her married name of 'Samme', the 1980 pike champion is still at the forefront of her respective age category, which she has proven by making the England Veterans team for the International XC in recent years.

 

 

       10. Katie Ingram: 20':45'' (2008)

Horwich's Katie Ingram has been an England International since the age of fifteen, making many teams in World trophy and junior internationals. After a highly successful junior career, she really came of age as a senior athlete when in 2008 she raced to a brilliant 8th place against Europe's best female mountain runners, and then followed this up by improving to 6th in the World champs the following season. 2010 saw her first championship victory when she became the 'inaugural' Commonwealth games mountain running women's champion, where she disposed of a strong field including several Kenyan athletes to lift the title held on the mountains overlooking Cumbria's lake district town of Keswick. Ingram's undoubted fell and Mountain running pedigree was proven when taking victory in her local pike race in a fast 20:45 in 2008, slotting her well inside the 'all-time top ten' female 'pike racers'. She holds road p.b's of 15:54 and 33:42 for 5 and 10k respectively and has used this pace well to convert into one of the countries, and infact the World's leading female exponents in both 'Duathlon' and 'Triathlon'. She has taken national honors and more recently The 'World Duathlon' title, along with podium finishes in 'ITCU' World 'Triathlon' series races up against the worlds very best women. Ingram's years of strength training over the fells have surely helped elevate her to the top of World 'Duathlon' and maybe onto 2012 Olympic stardom in London at the 'Triathlon'.

Ingram is shown above racing on the roads, where she is just at home and adapt as over the fells, and right, on her way to victory at the 2009 'Snowdon International' race where she clocked a fast 1:15 to beat a quality field.

 

 

                           eq 11. Lisa Heyes: 20':52'' (2002)

Salford's Lisa Heyes took the 2002 Rivington Pike race by the 'scruff of the neck' to take the title in a fast 20:52. The Manchester athlete's year was a successful one, where she also represented England at the World Mountain running championships held in the Austrian capital of Innsbruck. Heyes also had a good winter battling it out in the 'Reebok challenge X-C series, with a string of high placings amongst the best of British female distance runners, but perhaps her best run came in the National Road Relays at Sutton Park where she blitzed the opening stage to record the 2nd fastest split of the day, only being beaten by future European XC Champion, Hayley Yelling's time. Hayes's 2002 victory at the pike was her only one, but ranks her number eleven on the 'all-time' list of fastest females, which she shares with junior protege Annabele Mason showing she was a class act over all surfaces.

Heyes is pictured above in the Liverpool Reebok Challenge XC race, one of a series of top quality domestic races. Also in shot are top Scottish runners Susan Partridge, and obscurred at very back, Freya Murray, and right, storming to a leg 1 win in the 2002 national Road Relays to give Salford an early lead.

 

 

eq. 11th: Annabele Mason: 20':52'' (2013) Wakefield's diminutive 'dynamite' Annabele Mason ran to a fine 2nd place in her first pike race, finishing well ahead of her nearest 'junior' rivals. When you consider young Mason is a mere 16 years old, her time of 20:52 shows just what a class act she is. Already boasting a portfolio of titles that includes World and many National wins to her name, Mason will clearly be a name to watch out for in future pike races. The 2012 European Jnr Mountain running champion surely has the potential to top the list of female pike racers in future years. Mason's speed which she has demonstrated with a fast 16:28 3 Mile time whilst winning the Jnr London 'Mini Marathon', along with her undoubted strength shown over the past two X/C seasons with most notably recent wins in both English schools and National X/C championships in the U/17's category, could be the factor that may well see her lift many 'Pike' titles in future years. Mason also boasts a 5th place from the 2012 European Jnr X/C where she finished only seconds down on the redoubtable national star Emelia Gorecka who took the individual silver medal.

Annabele Mason pictured gliding across a X/C 'quagmire' displaying all the attributes of a natural 'pike racer'.

 

 

eq' 13th. J.Kenyon: 20':56'' (1991) After a 2nd place the previous year, Janet Kenyon raced to her first victory on the pike in 1991, winning by inches in what must be the closest race in the pike history. She fought to the line just beating Jackie Smith, with both ladies being given the same time. Kenyon's time would prove to stand as her personal best on the course. With her maiden victory in the colours of Lostock AC, she returned to the pike race the following year in the colours of her new club Horwich RMI to take a very popular victory for the home club, and then after a four year absence from the 'pike podium' she returned in 1996 to again smash her fellow female competitors for a third victory, this time by a resounding 2':20'' in another fast time of 21:08. Kenyon is one of only four ladies to have won 3 or more pike titles, proving her class shown many times at the 'pike race'. Kenyon's '92' and '93' season's were particularly fruitful on the International stage, where she ran to a superb 5th place in the World trophy of '92' and then ably backed that 'magical' run up the following year by placing 17th against the worlds elite.

 

 

eq' 13th. Jacky Smith: 20':56'' (1991) Jackie Smith came within a few inches of taking victory in the 1991 pike race, but came up agonisingly short to her rival Janet Kenyon as explained above. Both athletes were credited with the fast time of 20:56. This performance came between wins in the 'British' fell running championships in 1987, and 'English' championships in 1992, proving what a fierce competitor Smith was over rough terrain. Smith was also a successful marathon runner, where she showed great versatility to transfer her ability onto the roads, as well as over the 'fells' for her club of 'Dark Peak fell runners'. she was also a formidable opponent in the world of mountain running with several high World championship placings, her best coming in '86' with 11th overall.

 

 

15. L. Davis: 20':57'' (1998)  East cheshire harrier L. Davis' best result in the 'pike race' came in 1998 when finishing 'runner-up' to Clare crofts. Her time would have made her champion on many occasions since, but she came up against tough opposition in the form of Croft's who wasn't to be denied victory. The two had an assailable lead over third placed athlete, local Horwich runner J. Harold who was another 1':40'' back by the finish line.

 

 

    16. Clare McKittrick   (neeTomkinson):21':03'' (2000)

Charnwood's Clare Tomkinson  running in one of her first fell races, ran out an easy victor in the 2000 edition of the Rivington pike fell race. Already being a successful X-C and road athlete where she had taken many title's with her Leicestershire club, Tomkinson transferred this pedigree onto the fells flawlessly to become the first female winner into the new century. Her natural strength's lay in her climbing ability, which she used to good effect not only in 2000, but again under her married name of 'McKittrick', in 2006 and 2009. She once again ran away from the respective fields on the ascent up to the pike tower, and then held on for victory to make it a total of 3 'golden' occasions at Rivington. Her quickest time of 21:03 just missing out on a 'sub 21' was achieved in her first win in 2000, but she backed it up with other fast times in the 'mid 21 minute' region. McKittrick's first 'pike' win earned the Leicestershire athlete her first England International vest, for the Knockdu International fell race held in the mountains of Northern Ireland. It was to be the first of many International appearances for England, where she made several World trophy races with a best of 28th in 2000. McKittrick also earned GB vests in the European Mountain running championships where she also achieved a 28th position, coming nine years after her debut at top level mountain running.

McKittrick shown above racing on the roads, and right, pictured after the first of her 3 victories in 2000 with legend, Ron Hill.

 

 

   eq' 17th. Kath Drake: 21':05'' (1991)

''Racing machine'' Kath Drake could be regularly seen on the racing circuit, more often than not up amongst the top female competitors. She raced to her first of 3 wins in the pike race in 1989, beating close rival Janet Kenyon in the process in 21:58. Kenyon reversed the result between the two in the 1991 edition of the 'pike', with Drake a close 3rd on that occasion in her fastest time of 21:05. She was a regular competitor at the pike race, taking a further 2 victories in '93' and '94' taking her winners tally up to three, along with Kenyon and McKittrick, but behind the overall record of Haigh's four wins. The season of '93' proved to be a good one 'Internationally' for Drake with a fine 20th position in the World trophy ladies race, proving her class at the very highest level.

 

 

eq' 17th. Lindsey Brindle: 21':05'' (2015) Lindsey Brindle scorched to a fast 21':05" and 21st position overal whilst destroying the opposition in the female section of the 2015 pike race by a massive two and a half minutes! This strong performance was an 18 second improvement on the 21':23'' time she had set in the tow of Rebecca Robinson's victorious 2012 run to place a great 2nd amongst the women's field on that occasion, and into the top 30 runners overal on the day. The local Horwich athlete backed up a good run in the opening round of the English Fell running championships where she placed a strong 4th against the countries leading fell exponents. Brindle had shown good previous form in the 2011 Snowdon International mountain race where she had raced to a fine 5th place in the womens race outlining her pedigree over the rough terrain faced in such a tough event. The Lancastrian lass had also demonstrated her ability over the cross country by taking many Red Rose league victories, and this speed was obviously utilised fully to race to a superb time that would rank her equal 17th on the 'all-time' list of female pike racers.



Brindle pictured right in cross country action for her club, Horwich RMI Harriers.

 

 

19. A. Powell: 21':21'' (2003)  A.Powell raced along Lever Park Avenue against many good class male opponents to cross the 'pike finish line' as 2003 ladies champion. Her time of 21:21 ranks her alongside many of the greats of  the Rivington Pike fell race, and indeed many great female fell runners and athletes alike, who have enjoyed the challenge of racing up and down the pike course over the past 30 odd years of women's pike racing. Powell sits nicely in the 'middle' of these 'greats' with her 19th ranking amongst the 'pike's elite'.

 

 

20. W. O'Neil: 21'22'' (1987)  Keswick's W.O'Neil's time of 21:22 was a strong performance, and in most years at the pike races would have been ''there or thereabouts'' in the hunt for victory. But to run this time and finish almost 2 minutes down on the ladies race winner must have come as a shock to the system for the Lake District athlete. Unfortunately for O'Neil, she had come up against formidable opposition in the shape of Carol Haigh, who on that day in 1987 was in no mood to hang around, and she duly went on to defeat a the 27 strong women's field by a huge margin beating many good class male runners into the bargain. O'Neil's time although far short of Haigh's record, is still a creditable one which is proven by her 20th place 'all-time.'

 

 


 21.Laura Riches: 21':34'' (2011)

Talented youngster Laura Riches (pictured left-No' '2490'-'orange vest') took her older rivals by surprise to take a well earned and surprise victory in the 2010 Rivington Pike race. The Leigh AC teenager is a strong XC runner, finishing well up against national competition in Junior races, and indeed ran to a highly respectable 14th position against international competition in the 2010 European Junior championships. Her run at the 'pike' earlier in the same season clearly demonstrated the strong potential she has. Riches came back to successfully defend her title in 2011, and in the process knocked a useful 14 seconds off her previous result showing that the winters training had been going well. Still only a young and improving athlete, we will surely here much more about Riches in the years to come, with perhaps a few more 'pike' titles along the way, and with a distinct possibility to threaten the ladies record of four wins. Riches can be seen rubbing shoulders with the young precocious talent, Emelia Gorecka (yellow vest) who is the reigning European junior XC champion.

 

 

22. C.Anthony: 21':38'' (2006) The 2006 ladies race was a close affair with C. Anthony holding '2000 pike champion', Clare McKittrick (nee Tomkinson) to a narrow four second win, in what proved to be one of the closest ladies races in the pike's history. Anthony's time of 21:38 slotted her in at 22nd on the pike's 'all time' list of ladies times above many distinguished 'pike racers' from previous races.

 

 

23. Jackie Hargreaves: 21':39'' (1998) 'Cumberland fell runner' Jackie Hargreaves took 2nd spot in the 1998 pike race behind Jess Turnbull's 2nd victory run. Her time of 21:39 sat comfortably infront of Kath Drakes run on the day, and is 23rd on the 'all-time' records list of 'pike racers'. Her record amongst International competition is particularly good where she has achieved several position's in the 20's in either World or European championships between 1997 and 2004. Hargreaves is also a strong road runner, winning many big road races such as 'The Brampton to Carlilse 10' throughout her career.

 

 

 24. Dionne Allen: 21':41'' (2013) 

Former English Schools 3000m Bronze medalist Dionne Allen used her pace combined with her mountain and road running strength to race to a strong 3rd place in the 2013 'Pike race'. Leigh Harrier Allen's ability was previously demonstrated well when she placed a fine 4th position in the 2011 Northern X/C Championships, along with a best of 34:39 over 10k on the roads. Allen's time on the 'pike' of 21:41 ranks her 24th amongst the finest female performers at Rivington of all-time, with undoubtably the talent to climb higher amongst the echelons of star 'pike racers'.

 

 


              25. Janet Rashleigh: 21':42'' (1995) 

Bolton United's Janet Rashleigh took a comfortable victory over her fellow female competitors in the 1995 race to cruise to victory some 49 seconds clear of her closest rival, B. Carter. Her time whilst lifting the 'Dorris Moss cup' ranks her 25th on the women's list of fastest competitors, which she ably backed up with a 22:00 third place run in 1997. Rashleigh was also a useful performer on the roads with a 57 minute clocking over 10 miles.

 

 

 

26. L. Heron: 21':48'' (1984)  L. Heron made the long trip up north worthwhile in the 1984 race by taking a victory in the 'pike race', having previously finished 3rd 2 years before. The Haringey athlete made no mistakes this time round, although her win was by no means a 'white wash', as Spenborough's S. Smith held Heron to 'only' a nine second victory. Her time of 21:28 (21:48 converted) knocked 45 seconds from the one she registered in the 1982 race, and it is one that rounds off the 'all time' top 26 female times.

 

 

27. E. Clee: 21':49'' (2004)  E. Clee raced to a fine 21:49 time in the 2004 pike race to stamp her name amongst the 'elite' of women 'Pike racers' and comfortably under the 22 minute cut off time for my 'all-time list.

 

 

eq' 28th. Brenda Robinson: 21':56'' (1982)  Brenda Robinson became the 'inaugural' Rivington pike ladies champion in 1978 beating S. Styan by a comfortable 17 seconds. Her time of 20:13 cannot be included on the 'all time' lists, as the first ladies race was started at the bottom of 'Old Will's Road' which cut around 600yds from the full route, and was run separately from the men's event. In 1979 it was decided to incorporate the ladies race into the men's, thus allowing female competitors run over the 'full' route making times comparable. With several top 3 placings at the 'pike' between '78' and '83' including another victory in 1981, Robinson's quickest time of 21:36 (converted to 21:56) came when finishing 2nd to Carol Haigh's first victory of 1982. Her time just qualifies her on my 'Sub 22' list of 'all-timers'.

 

 

eq' 28th. R. Smith: 21':56'' (1987)  The second of the 'Smith's' on the 'all-time' list, Bingley's R. Smith was unfortunate to come up against Carol Haigh in the form of her life, making her run into 3rd place in the 1987 'pike race' look a lot less impressive than her time suggests. Being almost two and a half minutes behind Haigh's scorching record run show's how good the Holmfirth athlete was, but Smith's time was still a good one, and put into perspective by the fact that it still squeezes onto my 'all-time' list, admittedly by the slimmest of margins. 

 

 

eq'30th. J. Lockhead: 21':57'' (1980)  J. Lockhead, although a good way off the pace of leading 1980's leading lady S. Lonsdale, achieved a creditable performance by placing 2nd in 21:37 (converted to 21:57) to put her equal 30th on the pike 'all-time' fastest female competitors list.

 

 

eq'30th. S. Smith: 21':57'' (1984)  With only 2 seconds to spare, S. Smith became the penultimate female athlete to make it onto my list of 'Sub 22' pike racers. With her run of 21:37 in the 1984 race (converted to 21:57) the spenborough lady finished a pretty close 2nd behind southern athlete L. Heron's win, only 9 seconds behind at the finishing line. She was joined only 20 seconds later by team mate D. Sharp, who would join Smith on the female winners 'rostrum' by taking 3rd place. S. Smith becomes the third athlete on the 'all-time' list to share the surname 'Smith', and add their names to the 30 other top female 'Pike Racers' in the process.

 

 

     32. Rachael Thompson: 21':58'' (2011)

Local athlete Rachael Thompson has enjoyed a very successful junior career winning 'Home International' Junior titles by as much as 90 second margins, and holds the 3rd fastest junior time behind Katie Ingram's 21:24 record. Thompson has won many international vests over the past few seasons, and her quickest time of 21:58 on the 'pike' in 2011, came after a long period away from the sport, showing she has the potential to run times up with the very cream of women's pike racing when competing at her very best level. Her time shows why she has competed successfully against the best young athletes on all surfaces, and in particular over the fells and international mountain circuit. Thompson took on the world's elite junior mountain runners in only her first season of mountain racing in 2003 to finish a magnificent 8th in the World Championships, and then improve on this in 2005 to gain a brilliant 7th position after an injury ravaged 2004. The highly talented Horwich star is also extremely quick on the flat with a best 5k time of 16:56 set whilst only just 20 years of age. Thompson has many more years of improvement to come and should be another to watch over the coming years at the Rivington Pike fell race and International events. She is surely well capable of snatching victory in the future at the Rivington Pike and if she so wishes, challenge the long standing ladies record in future. It is fitting that a young 'Horwich heroine' should round off the 'all time' list of female 'Sub 22' Pike Racers, and even more appropriate if she one day stood at the very top of female Pike racers. making all of her fellow Horwich Harriers extremely proud! 

Rachael Thompson shown above  in full control on the Rivington Pike descent, demonstrating why she has already won many Fell titles and ranked among the world's top junior mountain talent. Right, she is shown demonstarting her fluid running style whilst flying along in the 2011 European XC Championships 'trial' race held at Liverpool.