Story courtesy Dennis Gray….
I conceived the idea of a race from Guiseley around The Chevin in the summer of 1979. My own sport was actually mountaineering/rock climbing (and I was the General Secretary of the sports National body until I retired) but during National Service I took up running to keep fit for climbing whilst based in Manchester.
Throughout the succeeding years I had taken part in many races; over the country and fells, road and on the track. I have completed the London Marathon twice.
I spent many hours running around the Chevin by myself and with friends working out a course, and with the support of my former wife, Leni we launched the event on Boxing Day 1979.
Many people helped us, and for the first few years we used the Methodist School room for changing, and the Senior Scout’s for marshalls. During the first race in 1979 over 200 runners took part and the winner was Richard Neurerker, who was then a senior pupil at Bradford Grammar School. Richard went on to represent Great Britain in the marathon and came 5th in the Olympics in 1996 in 2hours 8mins. Other well known athletes who took part were Eric Smith, from Otley, also a former International marathon runner and Jack Bloor a climber and fell runner. Who had won the Three Peaks race (Ingleborough,Penyghent etc) a few years before. After the first few years based on the Methodist schoolroom we moved the changing facilities to Aireborough Sports Centre. The numbers taking part had more than doubled within that period of time. We had good relations with the then Manager, Mike Shutt and by then it was also an important facility for rock climbers. I had personally in my role as the representative of the British Mountaineering Council being involved in the planning for this with Leeds City Council. When I left Guiseley in 1987, I handed the race over to the Aireborough Centre and with the help of local athletes,and people who had helped my wife and I over the preceding eight years we had run the race, the Sports Centre ran the event until the Pacers took it over. The rest is history!