Calder Valley pair battle it out on the Hike
In an epic battle, Kevin Hoult and Ian Symington battled one another around the 37 mile Calderdale Hike, leading them to beat the course record and finish way ahead of the rest of the field.
The race takes competitors from the village of Sowerby around the hills of Ryburn, Littleborough and Calderdale. Covering 10 miles more than your average marathon, 6,000 feet of climbing and requiring navigation, speed and endurance, it’s a tough fell race. Part of the UK-wide ‘Runfurther’ series, it is a counter in the national competition for ultra-runners making this a well-attended, competitive race.
As former winners of the Runfurther series, both Kevin and Ian were firm favourites and they didn’t disappoint. They led the race the whole way around, battling one with one another. In the end it was Kevin who had the strength to win. He was able to pull away on the climbs leaving Ian had to claw his way back on the flat and downhill sections.
Kevin said the two of them ran together for the first thirteen miles, gradually getting a gap between them and the others. At that point, he says, “we decided on different routes across to Coolam and, dropping to the checkpoint, I could see Ian had about 20 seconds on me, but my legs felt fresher from my route choice.
“From here we pushed each other hard over to Todmorden up to Mount Cross then all the way to Cross Stones before climbing to Lumbutts – and never getting more than 30 seconds on each other. At Lumbutts I was quickly through the checkpoint hoping to get a short lead again and pushed hard all the way up London Road in the shadow of Stoodley Pike. Despite my efforts, Ian’s relentless pace kept the gap down and sure enough we were soon back together.
“One checkpoint left and I was starting to suffer and was now worried about being able to keep up. We hurtled down the hill to Mytholmroyd with one big climb left. I used my long legs to edge away from Ian and managed to extend the lead to a couple of minutes. I then gave everything I had left on the last two miles downhill to make sure Ian would have to work hard to catch me. After over 5 hours of racing, I finished exhausted but happy back at Sowerby, with Ian just behind.”
Kevin Hoult finished the race in 5 hours and 4 minutes, with Ian Symington 4 minutes behind. The third runner was John Bottomley who finished 40 minutes later in 5 hours 47 minutes.
Photos attached: Ian (left) and Kevin neck and neck
Calder Valley take on the Donnard Challenge
Ten runners from Calder Valley Fell Runners travelled to Northern Ireland for the first in the British championships fell race series. With the fastest runners from across the country lined up at the starting line, this was going to be a fiercely competitive race.
The Donnard Challenge begins with a race along forest paths before beginning a long, leg destroying climb to the top of Slieve Donard and then straight back down a lengthy fast descent to the finish. With over 3,500 feet of climbing in just under 9 miles, it was a tough course designed to test the cream of the country’s fell runners.
Calder Valley’s new signing, Andy Swift, was first back for Calder Valley in 10th place in a shade under an hour.
Gavin Mulholland was next back just over two minutes later in 22nd, followed by Darren Kay, Tim Ellis and Mark Taylor.
Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey, one of the UK’s fastest fell runners, was having a strong run and was in 8th place until he had a bad fall in the final mile. Ben was knocked out by his crash but was determined to finish and so walked to the finish line. Despite all this, he still managed to finish in 80th place.
Calder Valley won the third V40 team prize.
– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon –