Ribble Valley 10k. Sunday 31st December 2023

Report by Ken Smith 

The last day of 2023 and once again a star spangled line up for the sold out Ribble Valley 10k road race, incorporating the Northern Athletics Championship.

Mick Hill had been encouraging many of his fellow Leeds City athletes to enter. Leeds City thus not only had a very strong men’s team, the women’s team would also be competing for medals.

Marc Scott, course record holder from 2019, would lead the Richmond and Zetland team with Morpeth also challenging for the men’s team medals, although Blackburn men’s team always over achieve on this, their home road race.

There certainly was a buzz of expectation around the start area before the race, and it was not just the prospect of avoiding the rain that was due at midday, more the dual between Mark Scott and Emile Cairess

The race got away on time and it was no surprise when Marc Scott and Emile Cairess quickly hit the front.  A fast first kilometre was followed by a 2nd kilometre in 2.56 as these two athletes raced stride by stride with the gaps now starting to appear behind them. By the 4th kilometre, 2.40 pace, it became apparent that Marc Scott was sitting on the shoulder of Emile, allowing him to set the pace. 3rd placed Richard Allen, was some 200m back with 4th hanging on to him.

The halfway point was reached in 14.36 with just these two athletes in contention for the win.

The 6th  kilometre was done in 3.07, and the 7th in 2.43 as they sped up towards the finish, with Emile edging ahead by 3 metres.

At the top of the hill, 100 M from the finish, Emile had a couple of metres on Mark, but an exciting duel to the line was now in prospect, much to the delight of the watching spectators.

As they raced in, it was the Richmond & Zetland athlete who finally pulled away and his finishing kick allowed him a winning margin of 5 seconds.

Third Northern Athlete home was Richard Allen, also of Leeds City. No surprise then that Leeds City won the N.A. team gold medals. Host club Blackburn were in 2nd place with Hallamshire claiming the last podium position ahead of Morpeth and Richmond & Zetland.

Unfortunately it was not so exciting in the women’s race with Jessica Warner-Judd always at the front, but not quite able to improve on her 2022 course record. Jessica won by some 77 seconds from Emily Kearney, with Olivia Mason just 1 second behind in 34.00.

The women’s team was always going to be a close  contest between Blackburn, Leeds, Warriors Pentathlon, and Cheshire Dragons. However it was the Border team that looks strong with 3rd and 4th placed finishers. They had to wait until 12th position for their 3rd and final team counter, Kate Maltby 35.34.

Meanwhile Leeds City had packed well with Rhianne Hughes 7th 34.40, Jennifer Walsh 9th 35.03, but their 3rd counter, Katrina Ballantyne-Chalmers 35.57 was 14th, giving Border the gold team medal. Leeds took the team Silver, and Blackburn snatched the bronze with Maddie Elliot 23rd 37.38, Eleesha Charnley 40th 40.56, both  supporting the race winner Jessica Warner –Judd.

Northern Athletics 10k Championships results


1) Mark Scott Richmond & Zetland  28.47
2) Emile Cairess Leeds City A.C  28.52
3) Richard Allen Leeds City  29.40


Leeds City
2) Blackburn Harriers
3) Hallamshire
4) Morpeth
5) Richmond & Zetland


1) Jessica Warner –Judd Blackburn Harriers  32.42
2) Emily Kearney Warriors Pentathlon  33.59
3) Olivia Mason Border Harriers     34.00


1)  Border
2) Leeds City
3) Blackburn Harriers
4) Warriors Pentathlon
5) Cheshire Dragons

Pictures thanks to Eileen Ingham