The 10.7 km Lee Mill relays took place on Sunday from Rossendale, Lancashire, running from Stubbylee Hall, thanks to race organiser Richard Stott and his team. Launched 5 years ago, Calder Valley took inaugural honours in poor weather conditions. Ever since, the club has turned the event into an in-house club race/fight (non-contact mostly), thanks to Richard Ingram (aka Bert) and his merry men.
In a nutshell several teams of 4 are selected via designated captains, from a pool of victims, under Ingram’s stewardship, and when done, volunteers are struck by mystery injuries and illnesses, family pressures and bad debt, forcing them to pull out. This in turn causes hand bags to be drawn until a re-draw stops captains bringing in ringers and illegitimates such as Gavin Mulholland. Each team coughs up a sum of money with the losers spoiling the winners in the post – race festivities.
Most teams put their top dog on the first leg to give them a head start and this was the case as Ben Wolsey Mounsey set the 2nd fastest time of the day, thanks to his personalised pacer Toby Sydes, with Karl Gray putting his squad into second. This clearly wasn’t enough to convince Mounsey of the win, and fearing the loss of his weekly dinner money, he scarpered off home. The Wolsey Warriors, also including Gareth Clarke and Giles Simon, who went on to win the valley battle. Iain Powell, in charge of pre-race team betting, was obviously concerned about losing sweat, as well as his bet, as he set off in a full waterproof jacket.
Two teams kept back their top trumps in Godsman and Mulholland for leg 3 that helped narrow the gap between three of the teams for second spot. It was the Hobbit Hole Huggers (Marsden Costello Mulholland) who finished 2nd as they kept back Toby ‘whippet’ Cotterill who scalped Simon Fisher before going on to pass a valiant James Cooke, in the last few hundred metres of the course, after almost 4 hours of racing! Waiters for the day were the CVFR nav. kings and Queens, who in their own serfdom, were able to put their compasses away and follow their own tracks to and fro for the rest of the day.
It wasn’t all fun and games as one runner, Dougie Zinis, took a nasty fall, coming away with a gash of a few inches, above the knee that needed stitches and surgical cleansing, though this mere flesh wound wasn’t enough to force him to retire.
Calder Valley Fellrunners chairman Bill Johnson was 4th out of 62 competitors in the ‘Peak District South 2 North‘ this weekend, a two-day stage race from Ashbourne at the southern tip of the Peak District to Marsden at the north end, a distance of 60 miles. The first half of the first day was fast, along the Tissington Trail, a continual gradual ascent for 20 miles. Bill deliberately held back on this section in order to save his legs for the more technical final 13 miles of the first day, through isolated Monks Dale and over Mam Tor into the Edale valley. The tactic paid off as he ended the first day in 3rd place with the runners resting overnight in Edale. His position was boosted by several runners getting lost in the final sections of the day and falling behind.
The second day’s route followed the Pennine Way over the Peak District’s most infamous hills: Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and Black Hill, for 27 miles. The weather turned unpleasant and a quarter of the initial starters did not complete the race. Bill held on to 3rd place until Black Hill when the 4th placed runner surged past and Bill’s legs were unable to respond.
Said Bill: “I’m absolutely delighted with 4th place and first V50 in this tough race. I worked really hard on the first day and felt it during the second, but kept up the pace until the end.”
Bill’s total time for the two days was 11hr10min. The winner Alex Dalton took 10hr36min.
– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gav Mulholland