Great Whernside short fell race starts at the bottom of an intimidatingly steep climb, the runners craning their necks toward the summit. After an exhausting pull up to the top, the runners turn around hurtle back down again. An incredible 1,600 feet of climbing is packed into just four miles.
It’s a short race with big significance. As well as featuring in Calder Valley Fell Runners’ club championship it was also the decider for both the Yorkshire fell championships and the prestigious English Fell Championships.
There was an excellent turn out from Calder Valley, but the run of the day was from Gavin Mulholland, who finished in 14th place in 31:48. He was the first v45, a win that sees him crowned as this year’s v45 English Fell Running Champion. Ben Mounsey also had a good run, finishing in 10th. Darren Kay was the second V45 in 16th place, while Karl Gray took 24th. With this mix of great runs in this, the last of the English Fell Running Championship races, it looks likely that Calder Valley will take gold in the English Champs vets team competition, among others, once the points have been added up.
Great Whernside was also the decider for the Yorkshire Fell Championships, with Calder Valley topping many of the categories. The men’s won took gold, while Martin Howard took an excellent bronze in the under 23s.
Mountain Marathon Championships
At the same time as the English Championship was being decided, so was the inaugural British Mountain Marathon Championships, with three Calder Valley runners high up in the medal tables. Bill Johnson took silver and Phil Scarf bronze in the Long Score competition, and in the women’s Long Score competition Jackie Scarf won joint-bronze.
Bill Johnson said: “This weekend was the concluding event of the championships, the ROC Mountain Marathon. Both Phil and I had to grind out our results – we were both coming back from injury and went through the mill mentally to get through and do as well as we could. I ran solo and finished 9th. Phil and Jackie ran together. They finished 12th and first mixed pair. Jackie was 2nd woman at the ROC which earned her 3rd place in the women’s championship, while my and Phil’s results gained us 2nd and 3rd in the national competition.”
Calder Valley juniors
In the Juniors, Calder Valley had a fantastic weekend. At the English Schools Fell Running Championships, Calder Valley’s Will Hall won the Year 7 category, adding another gold to his very successful season of running. James Duffy was an excellent fifth.
Over in Wales meanwhile, Calder Valley juniors competed in a series of races around the Orme, racking up a host of wins on a tough course that started at the top of the hill, meaning the finish was a hard climb. Sam Annison and Clara McKee won the boys and girls under 9s races respectively, both beating the course records in the process. Charlie Pickens won the under 11s race, George McFie took 3rd place and Fearne Hanson was fifth. In the under 13s Patrick Casey was fifth and Tom Owen 7th.
Penistone Hill Race
Andy Swift had a fantastic run at the Penistone Hill Race, which takes in roads, footpaths and trail over six miles of fast, hilly lung-busting running. Andy hadn’t raced since July but that didn’t seem to hold him back as he smashed the course record by over a minute.
Andy said: “Having not raced since the summer I wasn’t sure what to expect but knew I’d been training well so hoped for a strong performance. I ran hard from the off and soon found myself with a slender lead over the field by the top of the first climb, and from there I just pulled further clear to come home comfortably in first place.”
– Calder Valley News Reporter:Giles Simon