Calder Valley’s James Logue and Gayle Sugden reigned supreme at last weekend’s trio of Midsummer Madness races. Sugden had a three-day hat-trick while veteran Logue won on points in a competitive men’s field for his sixth series win.
First up was Friday evening’s short, sharp, shock of the Wicken Hill Whizz. Sixty nine runners lined up at Mytholmroyd to take on the straight up, straight down, 2.8 mile route, climbing 1050ft to Sheepstones Trig and back. Sugden smashed Jo Waites’s nine-year-old race record, becoming the first woman to complete the Whizz in under 25 minutes (24:58). In the men’s race Ben Mounsey’s trademark bullet start is being imitated but not matched. Gavin Mulholland, Joe Washington and Craig Hall shot out of the blocks too but as the race hit the summit Mounsey pulled clear, before putting in a Billy-Whizz style decent to a speedy 20.05 victory. Marshals reported a red and white blur that was going so fast, head-down, that they had to almost physically keep pointing him in the right direction.
Gavin Mulholland set a new veterans record at Wicken Hill Whizz, his time of 20:52 in second place obliterating the previous best of 21:21 set in 2006 by Chris Smale. Joe Washington (21.46) sealed the team prize for Valley in third place, whilst fourth place Logue (22:22) picked up valuable series points.
Sugden’s victory race also helped Calder Valley to a women’s team victory aided by Lindsey Oldfield, 3rd lady in 26:44 and Rachael Crossland, a fine 6th in 30:23. Briony Holt of Clayton-le-Moors was the first ever girl under 14 to attempt the Whizz and chased home Sugden in the fifth fastest ever female time.
Midsummer Madness was more Halloween Horror as a misty Midgley moor greeted 80 runners gathering at Old Town’s Hare and Hounds for the Reservoir Bogs.
The second race in the series is a navigational challenge, with the checkpoints locations only revealed on the morning of the race. Logue, an international orienteer and at his best when navigating on the run, was unfazed by thick mist and did not put a foot wrong round the seven mile route. He stole the show in 50:27. Nearest rival, club mate Joe Crossfield missed the path to High Brown Knoll. He rejoined in 12th place and reeled-in runner after runner to regain second place (58:14), but eight minutes behind Logue (50:27). Steve Smithies completed the trio to secure the team for the red and white hoops with a good run in 58:36. Even ace navigator Jackie Scarf lost her bearings whilst a group of seven runners missed the final checkpoint.
Sugden had no such problems. She was third overall at High Brown Knoll and finished Sunday’s Grand Finale was the Tom Tittiman, named after the hill high on Midgley Moor that runners pass on their way to and from High Brown Knoll. With a modest 750 feet of ascent over 4.4 miles, the race is popular with beginners. Crossfield led Logue for most of the way, before James surged past on the home stretch in 28:06, followed by club mates Crossfield in 28:38, and Jon Smith 30:34, paving the way for another Valley clean sweep in the team prize. Sugden’s first place in 32:10 helped Calder ladies to match the men, with Jo Buckley (33:36) and Anne Johnson (35:12) completing the winning team.
Todmorden Harriers successfully staged the Bridestone Fell Race last Tuesday. A race in its relative infancy with a cracking route over some of Todmorden’s best terrain, it will no doubt be around for years to come. The winner was Calder Valley’s Todmorden-based Alex Whittem (34.54) with team mates Andy Thorpe (39.11) and only 2 seconds later Giles Simon the Calder Lads took the team prize . Valley’s Lindsey Oldfield (44.47) was first female home taking the win from Tod’s Rebecca Patrick (45.53) in second and first V40. Tod ladies secured the ladies team.
Calder Valley’s Tim Ellis took part in the Last Drop Loop Fell Race and gradually pulled away from the chasing pack to smash the 9.2km course record by four minutes, crossing the line first in fantastic time of 35:55.
Clubmate Jason Williams was very pleased with his run to come first V40 and third overall in Saturday’s half marathon at Trail Marathon Wales.
Karl Gray won the 15 mile Pedol Cwm Pennant race in Snowdownia in 2:40:15 and was only 14 seconds outside the record in what can only be described as awful conditions. Low cloud and mist greeted the runners so it was down to good navigating for all of the race. Valley’s ladies club captain Helen Buchan thrives in hard conditions but said it was scary at times. With her navigational skills coming to the fore she was second female in 4:10:50.