CHRIS Farrell retained his crown with an emphatic win at the 102nd running of the famous Rivington Pike fell race, sponsored by Walsh Sports and Horwich Rotary Club.
Farrell finished in a time of 17mins 27secs, nine seconds faster than last year's winning time.
He quickly assumed the lead with great support from international colleague Ian Conroy and continued to press ahead up to the tower before a superb display of downhill running in breezy conditions that left a field of more than 370 runners in his wake.
Second place went to one of Helm Hill’s talented young fell runners, Chris Richards, while Carl Bell, Keswick’s multiple fell race winner, took third ahead of Conroy and Phil Marsden.
The only vet in the top 10 was Horwich’s Danny Hope, tackling the event a week after the tough Slieve Donard challenge. With these four home, the team prize was Horwich’s with Rossendale and Clayton le Moors taking the other team podium places.
First lady home was Louisa Powell Smith, of Ribble Valley, followed by Laura Riches, from Leigh Harriers, who had led at the tower, and then Caitlin Rice, also from Ribble Valley.
Horwich’s Lindsey Brindle, last year’s winner, was fourth, with the consolation of the first L35 prize.
Bolton United Harriers took the ladies' team prize with Leigh Harriers second and Burnden Road Runners third.
In vet results, first prizes were gained for the club by Gareth Booth (V45), Janet Rashleigh (L55), and Raymond Stafford on a rare race outing in the V75 category.
Craig Roberts, of Kendal, a former outright Pike race winner, returned to take the V50 prize.
Horwich’s team of Hope, Booth and Goudge took the vets' prize.
In the junior races from above Rivington and Blackrod School, the under-13s and u15s took on the pike route all the way to the tower.
Thomas Roberts, of Chorley, took the u15s' title and Horwich’s Cian Healy won the u13s' race.
Luke Carrington, of East Cheshire, won the u11s' race and the unattached Theodore Russell was the u9s' victor.
Fern O’Brien starred for the girls with a fine second place in the u9s' race.
Earlier in the week, the popular Curley’s 5k trail series concluded with a win for Nick Leigh, who took the series title.
On the evening there were also category first places for David Unsworth (V55), Tony Hesketh (V65), Linda Webb (F55) and Mary White (F65).
On Good Friday, Paul Muller took the V60 prize in the Salford 10k road race.
Horwich RMI results: Curley’s 5k trail race (Horwich) – 1st Nick Leigh 17:26, 11th Michael Chadderton 21:03, 24th David Unsworth 22:22, 33rd Tony Hesketh 23:53, 47th Keith Lewthwaite 26:00, 52nd Linda Webb 26:38, 55th Mary White 26:49, 71st Bernadette Unsworth 29:10, 93rd Kristina Mountain 32:00, 104th Gillian Smith 34:01;
Salford 10k road race – 96th Paul Muller 37:18, 199th David Unsworth 42:14, 408th Bernadette Unsworth 51:26; Rivington Pike fell race (Horwich) – 1st Chris Farrell 17:27, 4th Ian Conroy 18:15, 5th Phil Marsden 18:45, 7th Danny Hope 18:53, 10th Joe Mercer 19:16, 11th Gareth Booth 19:25, 16th Julian Goudge 19:50, 32nd Dan Gilbert 20:58, 33rd Dave Milliken 21:00, 35th Mick Walsh 21:06, 47th Lindsey Brindle 22:10, 50th Michael Chadderton 22:15, 61st Gary Chadderton 22:47, 89th Richard Marlton 23:30, 94th Steven Foley 23:36, 101st Steve Jackson 23:47, 126th Janet Rashleigh 24:47, 155th Doug Fleming 25:46, 156th Tony Hesketh 25:51, 159th Alastair Cairns 26:00, 193rd Patrick Conroy 27:25, 211th Peter Ramsdale 28:09, 236th Lawrence Pinnell 29:10, 250th Gordon Stone 29:47, 261st Stuart Stokes 30:15, 292nd Tony Varley 31:37, 315th Raymond Stafford 33:31, 342nd Mark Dacre 35:58, 345th Ed Swift 36:18, 368th Heather Pinnell 44:27. u15 – 3rd Toby Middleton 15:00, 4th Lucas Milliken 15:16, u13 – 1st Cian Healy 15:39, 3rd Isaac Battye 15:52, 10th Ethan Isaacs 17:32, 12th Freya Whittle 17:34, 15th Callum Mosley 18:03, 18th Emma Bradley 18:34, 23rd Benjamin Hall 19:33, 24th Lucas Collins 19:52; u11 – 5th Harrison Stokes 7:30, 10th Theo Middleton 8:21, 16th Finlay Hall 9:22, 22nd Samuel Nelson 10:28; u9 – 2nd Fern O’Brien 4:48, 6th Grace Sherbourne 5:13, 14th Gabriella Collins 5:58, 19th Leah Stokes 6:57, 20th Lucy Nelson 7:04.