Both young and old of CVFR were out at the weekend getting plentiful supply of mud and smiles. The sun was out and the shorts and vests were on with juniors and seniors taking part in events that spanned 3 counties. And Calder Valley flags were flying with prominent performances by club members at all 3 events.
On Saturday, Holmfirth Harriers hosted the ever popular West Nab races over the South Pennine moors for both juniors and seniors. Based in the small town of Meltham in the heart of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ country, all age groups gathered to enjoy a range of varied, challenging courses, with the U19 boys joined by senior athletes for their ascent of West Nab itself. The junior races, an English Junior Championship counter, goes up, down and along this valley in varying combinations for the different age groups, generally gentle until under 13. Above that, they that take in a steep slog straight up and down the valley side, but still with a long flat finish for the youngsters. The U19’s Boys/U23’s and seniors race, a mere 5.6miles but almost 1500ft of climb, saw CVFR’s Gavin Mulholland take second prize and Jo Buckley 3rd lady.
First in was Joe Dugdale (Cumberland Fell Runners) with Mike Fanning (Holmfirth Harriers) taking 3rd place.
Said Gavin ‘Looking for a race to keep me sharp for the British Championships I noticed West Nab which is right on my doorstep. The course was part of the Junior English champs and there was a vibrant atmosphere in the “start paddock”. After a quick briefing, the next thing I know I’m racing with the top U19s in the country! They all shot off high on testosterone but I managed to sneak into third and stayed there on the first section of technical loops, churned up from earlier races, causing grip issues compounded by short brutal climbs all along Royd edge’
‘Once the field was dizzy from doing loop the loops we eventually ascended up to Meltham moor with young Joe Dugdale(16!) sticking to a relentless pace unlike his peers. At West Nab trig the marshals could see I was having so much fun that I did an extra part loop before the fast return to the finish passing lots of ascending runners, full of support.This race is a must, with a well designed course and best value £1 I ever spent on post race treats in the hall.’
‘Best of all though is seeing the emerging talent fuelling the future of fell running
And CVFR is certainly bursting with emerging talent with impressive performances from the youngsters. Sam Annison was 3rd under 9, and Calder Valley dominated the first 10 places in the under 13s with William Hall 3rd, James Duffy 4th, Patric Casey 5th, Alex Duffield 6th and Joseph Hobbs 7th. The under 11s (Charlie Pickens, George McFie, Finley Canning, Fearne Hanson, Ben Hodgkinson, Ollie Pickens) really shone as did the under 15s Ruby McFie, Maya Brunt and Eilo Beesley, who overtook his rival from last season. There was good steady progress in the under 17s for Lucas Greenwood too.
Further afield in Derbyshire, CVFR’s new recruit, Andy Swift took the winning trophy for Lads Leap, a short and hilly race of 5.9mile and almost 1700ft ascent around Glossop. Said Andy ‘I felt great from the off! Had a good tustle with a guy from Pudsey &Bramley until the climb up the quarry where I pulled away and held on to claim back the trophy I won in 2014, in a massive PB of 2 minutes to come home in 46:10! Bring on the British Champs!’
And on Sunday, nestled in the spectacular Cumbrian fells, taking in the superb views of Coniston Old Man, Banishead Quarry and Swirl How, was the second 2017 Kong Mini Marathon. Five determined CVFR took part in this epic 4 hour score event in which competitors are given a map showing the location of 25 controls in the mountains and have to visit as many as they can and get back to the start/finish within the 4 hour limit. It attracts a wide range of competitors, from those trying these events for the first time, to the national elite.
Steve Smithies disproved all those who mock his navigational abilities, and who use ‘Smithied’ as a euphemism for being irretrievably lost, by posting a superb score of 417, placing him 31st out of the 216 solo and paired competitors. Last month Steve had taken part in the FRA navigational training course to improve his skills, and three of his instructors from the course also took part in this mini mountain marathon. They will no doubt have been delighted that their student outscored all three of the instructors.
Gareth Clarke and Richard Sunderland rued missing a couple of controls on their run as a pair in the event, but still scored a fine 350 to place 57th. Slightly further back, Stephen Edwards clocked up 280 points, meaning that all the CVFR contingent were in the top half of the results.
The top CVFR scorer was whizz navigator Bill Johnson, who scored 445 for 22nd place overall, and second in his age category, MV50.Said Bill ‘I’ve been recovering from an injury inflicted on a duathlon a fortnight earlier. I was very cautious on slippery descents to avoid re-opening the wound, but apart from that I put it out of my mind and managed to complete a solid round.’
It will be interesting to see if Bill can consolidate his MV50 medal position over the next two events in this best-3-of-4 annual competition.
All photos courtesy of Woodentops: All from West Nab
– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson –