The event originated as a staggered start handicap along one of the` favourite training routes. The event was first proposed by Cyril Taylor and seconded by Colin Waudby at a committee meeting held at the Church Institute in September 1953. After some discussion about the advisability of adding more races to the club programme it was agreed that the race should go ahead and the first event was held on the 16 th January 1954. Although it was agreed that the race be an open handicap, in the event only East Hull Harriers and Driffield Harriers were invited to participate. First man home being Ray Gray of East Full Harriers whilst the fastest time (56.38) was recorded by Reg Darley of Hull Harriers off scratch. Thirty-three runners competed including Dennis Briggs, Frank Lucop, Harry Benson, Jack Leach and Arthur Nendick. Afterwards the club secretary noted that "the distance proved very popular, being not too far for the cross-country men and not too short for the marathon runners". Reg Darley was to be fastest man again the following year and was a particularly versatile runner, being able to perform well at any distance from 220 yards upwards. His decision to emigrate to Canada shortly afterwards was a particular loss to the club.
The third event was held on the 25 th February 1956 and won by Wally Bent of the host club in 54.19 whilst Arthur Nendick was the first man home. Thirty four runners from three clubs, the others being East Hull Harriers and Ideal Standard A.C., completed the race. The following year, the club's official backing for road racing was extended, the staggered start was abandoned and the Ferriby 10 made an open race. The race was held on the 23 rd February 1957 and Joe Lancaster of Manchester A.C., the world twenty mile champion, crossed the line in 53.40. The event had established itself and over the following years began to attract athletes from far and wide. Times continued to improve with our own Harry Benson winning the 1958 race in 52.31 after passing the five mile mark in 26.20. Harry, a boxer during his National Service Days, had started running whilst at Grammar School in Sheffield and after leaving the army had joined Hallamshire before joining Hull Harriers on moving to the area in the 1950s. During his time with the club Harry has at various times held the posts of Captain, Secretary and President and apart from winning the Ferriby '10' had runs in both local Cross-Country events and the Northern Counties Cross-Country Championships.
In 1960 Stan Sykes of Longwood Harriers lowered the fastest time for the Ferriby '10' to 51.02. Variations on the original route from Costello Stadium, which passed through North Ferriby and made use of Swanland Hill, were used until 1962 but thereafter had to be abandoned because of the high traffic levels on the A63. The race moved to a new 10 mile 120 yard course which no more than glanced at Ferriby from the top of Swanland Hill.
For this area, however, the course was somewhat formidable, making full use of the edges of the Yorkshire Wolds. Though never really steep, the route from 2 to 5.5 miles was an almost continuous pull through Anlaby, Kirkella and Westella. This section sapped the legs of many who had set off too quickly. After passing up Swanland's main street and by its village pond, the highest and most easterly point was reached. Before long competitors found themselves on the fast downhill stretches of Tranby and Jenny Brough Lanes. By the time Hessle was reached most races had been either lost or won.
Many competitors returned to run the event year after year. One member of Hull Harriers, Jack Leach, actually had his ashes scattered on the course, others have had their hopes of a fast dispersed in a similar fashion.
In the 1990s the construction of a new stretch of the busy A1079 road to the Humber Bridge cut across the route and the race moved to a new course from Skidby through Little Weighton and Rowley before returning to a finish on Harland way in Cottingham. The first race on this route was held in 1991 but a few year's later the route was modified to reach Riplingham Cross Roads and start and finish in Skidby. This latter route is perhaps the slowest of the four courses the event has been held over but in 2003 attracted one of the largest entries for years.
Being a winter road race, one expects the weather to be bad but the elements often seem to be able to pull out a really dirty day to greet the runners. In 1957, the first open race, heavy sleet fell throughout the event and competitors ran into a biting easterly wind on the second half of the course. All finished with a sheet of ice on their chest and arms and found it practically impossible to hold a cup of tea as they shivered so violently in the showers whilst thawing out. In 1985 Jim Dingwall had to scamper home over a layer of thick snow to win in 51.30. The year after, as on so many other occasions, competitors ran into the teeth of gale on the long climb out whilst in 2000 the officials in the finishing funnel on Keldgate Road , including the 84 year old Arthur Nendick, worked on through the blizzard like conditions to record all finishers. Yet such atrocious conditions are perhaps part and parcel of the event's highly individual character.
Such weather may at times have had an effect on the overall number of entries but has not prevented many top names turning out in the past. Previous winners include Malcolm Prince in 1981 (49.51) and Jimmy Ashworth (49.25) two years later. The fastest time recorded on any of the courses was set by Brendan Foster in 1980. Being in fine form and benefiting from slightly better weather, he devastated the field to win in 48.01. No one else has come within a minute of that time.