Mountain runner Harry Holmes hoping for another England call-up

A former Driffield School & Sixth Form student, who is now a successful mountain runner, has told the Wolds Weekly how he hopes to regain his place on the England team this year.

Harry Holmes, from Nafferton, is currently living in Horsforth, West Yorkshire, whilst he studies for a PhD at the University of Leeds.

During his time at university as an undergraduate in Scotland, Harry developed his interest of climbing and was called up to the Great Britain ice climbing team, competing across Europe and Asia.

“I want to try and get back into the England set-up and will be taking part in the selection events later in the year.

Harry holmes

After completing his degree, and leaving mountainous Scotland for the flatter Yorkshire Wolds, Harry switched focus to mountain running, more commonly known in England as fell running.

His performances led to a call-up to the England team in 2018 and he’s now hopeful of pulling on the national vest again when selections are made later in 2022.

Days before travelling to compete in the English Cross Country Championships, Harry told the Wolds Weekly that, after his climbing career reached its natural conclusion, running on the fells of northern England seemed like a natural transition and one that proved successful.

“My interest in long-distance running started when I finished my undergraduate degree in 2014,” he said

Harry Holmes is now in training ahead of several important races over the next few months.

“I was doing lots of climbing at the time but I came home to Nafferton, where there is nowhere to go climbing, so I started running.

“In terms of climbing, I’d always had a general interest in it. I used to go hill walking with my parents when I was younger.

“Most of my climbing was in Scotland, as I studied for my undergraduate degree in Edinburgh and I used to spend time in winter up in the mountains and the Highlands.

“I started taking part in some ice climbing competitions and proved to be quite good at them.

“There was no formal selection process for the Great Britain team in those days, so I was approached to go to the World Cup events, which took me all over Europe, including France, Switzerland and Romania, as well as South Korea.

“Fell running seemed like the natural progression from climbing after I’d finished.

“It’s out in the hills and completely different to running along roads. I plugged away and ran for England in 2018.

“I took part in some trial races and my selection was also based on other races I had competed in.

“The races were both in the UK, with the first being the Home International, against runners from the other home nations.

“There was also the Snowdon International Race, which involves the home nations as well as teams from countries such as Italy and Malta.

“It was really good competing for England and I enjoyed it.

“When I took part in the Snowdon race, it was at the time of the football World Cup and everyone was in really good spirits, which made for a great atmosphere.”

Harry is now in training ahead of several important races over the next few months.

And he issued a plea to race organisers in East Yorkshire for more events in his home area, especially after crossing the finish line first in the inaugural Kilham Multi Terrain 10K.

“I’m doing lots of fell running at the moment and have recently competed in the English Cross Country Championships,” said Harry.

“It’s a busy schedule which follows last year, when I did lots of ultra-races, which are longer than marathons.

“The longest one I have completed is 45 miles, the Hardmoors 40, which starts in Beverley and finishes in Malton.

“I feel like I’m fairly good at this distance, but it just makes you feel very tired!

“The Hardmoors 40 took me six hours and 15 minutes, which I was happy with, although absolutely broken.

“I was supposed to be taking part in the Great Britain ultra-trail two weeks later, but I had to drop out as I was just far too tired.

“I want to try and get back into the England set-up and will be taking part in the selection events later in the year.

“I like to come back to the Driffield area when I can.

“I enjoyed the Kilham Multi Terrain event and it would be nice if there were similar events that I could come home and take part in.”

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