The race goes back over 30 years to the early 1980s when Clayton Le Moors Harriers, Ron Hill’s club, first organised the race in the winter as the Clitheroe 10k in parallel with their Clitheroe 10 mile road race held in the spring. Although sadly the 10 miler fell by the wayside the 10k race survived. Blackburn Harriers took over the organisation of the race in 1998 at a time when entry numbers were only at the 300 mark. It needed a boost which was provided by main sponsors Forbes Solicitors and in turn Sweatshop who helped the Harriers improve the prize list and provide free T shirts for all entrants. Those sponsors are still with the race today and we thank them along with the support of Ribble Valley Borough Council.
The Ribble Valley 10k now has everything a road racer wants out of a road race. The competition at the front increased in quality and times came down to regular sub 30 minute clockings for the men and Olympian Helen Clitheroe herself regularly going under 33 minutes for the women. The women’s course record is now held by her at 32mins 30 secs and in the men’s race by Jonny Mellor at 29mins 10secs. He set the record in 2011 outsprinting Alistair Brownlee the soon to become 2012 Olympic triathlon champion.
The fields are now over a thousand with a record number of entrants in 2012 of almost 1500. It caters also very much for the casual runner and jogging fraternity and actively encourages runners of all abilities to compete and of course raise money for their own nominated charity.
A few years ago the roads were closed to bring traffic free racing and in 2011 chip timing was introduced. By 2012 the facilities at Roefield Leisure Centre improved the experience for runners before and after the race. Its status has been ever increasing as a race for all to enter whether elite or jogger and in 2009 Northern Athletics designated it as the race for their Northern championships. This championship has been with us since then and will continue this year.
The Ribble Valley 10k is now a true classic and has a reputation to be proud of.
Tony Wood – Race Director