The bullet is back making the headlines

This week, CV’s top athlete Ben Mounsey kicked off a victorious start by winning Blencathra Fell race in an impressive time of 01:04:06. He showed signs of a return to top form by going on to win another race just 4 days later.

Blencathra Sprint finish Ben Bullet Mounsey

Ben said: “Blencathra last Wednesday is a true Lakeland classic, 8 miles with over 3,300ft of climb.

The weather was dry but very windy so conditions were good, but not perfect. Aside from the wind, the main problem I had was not knowing the route, as it’s the first time I’ve ever done the race. So my tactic was to start conservatively and work my way to the front so I could try and follow the best lines. It was a clever tactic that paid dividends as I worked my way from 6th place to 2nd over the first 4 miles. On the final climb I made my move and overtook the leader, Steve Hebblethwaite, before descending my way to victory. It was a big win against a classy field, many of whom are past and present international athletes.”

The following evening saw CV’s Jason William’s take 1st V40 at the Snowdon Twighlight race, and 4th overall. A relatively new addition to the fell runners calendar, this race was born from the main Snowdon race held in July each year.

Jason said: “This is a fantastic event and is only in its 3rd year. It’s a good precursor to July’s Snowdon race and let’s you know how you’re likely to fair on the long ascent to the summit come race day.

Numbers were up slightly on last year and 111 runners turned up from the 129 entries taken.  I wanted to improve on my 5th place from last year and beat my previous time of 47:08 minutes and as the race got under way I felt like I had a good chance. By the halfway point I was in third place and working hard but my chest was feeling tight and breathing was getting laboured, I had to ease off slightly which gave away my position back to fourth. I kept up with the guy in front but just couldn’t close the gap and finally reached the finish line about ten seconds behind in 47:44 … 36 seconds slower than last year but 4th place and first V40 on the night.

All in all I enjoyed the challenge and a lovely run back down, after a brief rest and some refreshment at the summit cafe. Looking forward to the main race now on July 15th…. more pain and for longer!”

Saturday offered a range of nearby race options for CV and despite the wet, soggy conditions, red and white stripes were out in force at the Midgley’s Churn Milk Chase and Rossendale Harriers 50th Anniversary Juniors event.

11 hardy CVFR were at the starting line for Churn Milk Chase, undeterred by the downpours and bogs. Associated with Midgley Village Fete, this is an ideal introduction to fell racing and the wider fete activities provides entertainment for spectators and families alike. The route is a 5 mile dash across Midgley Moor and back and was won by Michael Fanning from Holmfirth. First lady was Judy Howells from Wharfedale Harriers
CVFR scooped both team prizes with Simon Ashton, Mark O’Connor and Lee Shimwell taking the men’s and Catherine Holden, Stella Chrisanthou and Gillian Wisbey the ladies. It was the first fell race for Ana de la Fuent Herrero, a recent recruit from the Back to the fell sessions.

Ana said: “After starting as a beginner runner with CVFR, I was excited and nervous to participate in my first ever fell race in Midgley. The first part uphill was very difficult and there were moments when I felt like giving up, but I got so much support from the marshals and sweeper. Even faster runners already on their way back down would say ‘well done’ when crossing paths with me. They all really helped me to cross the finish line and it was an incredible experience afterwards”

Churn Milk Chase Ladies team, Stella Chrisanthou, Catherine Holden, Gill Wisbey

Meanwhile, over the border, 13 CV juniors competed and excelled in the final junior and U21 Championship counter, and Junior Inter-counties event hosted by Rossendale Harriers and held at Cowpe. The event resulted in a new English Champion in the club. William Hall was placed well enough in his race to claim the under 13 title, a fantastic achievement for William and CVFR.

Other impressive race results from the day included seven year old Clara McKee, 1st U9 girl, Sam Annison 3rd boy U9, Charlie Pickins and George McFie 4th and 5th in the U11.

Then Ben Mounsey finished the week as he’d started with another superb win on Sunday at Hawkswick, Yorkshire Dales. This was the 4th instalment of the BOFRA (British Open Fell Running Association) series. Ben is planning on competing for the championship this season and looking to build on his debut victory at Sedbergh in the opening race (competitors need to complete 8 races from 16). The nature of each race is to run as fast as you can up and down one hill/mountain. Most of the races are around 2 miles in length and Hawkswick Dash is classed as one of the shorter races at 1.5 miles in total, with 890ft of climb.

Said Ben: “There is only one tactic for a race like this and I didn’t have any choice but to sprint as fast as I could from the gun. Thankfully, this type of race suits my style of running and by the top of the climb I had already opened up a significant lead over the rest of the field. By the time I’d reached the descent I was able to enjoy the final sprint to the final, eventually clocking a winning time of 11 mins & 37 seconds.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickinson –

Gayle’s return to the top.

What a week it’s been for Calder Valley Runners. Closest to home was the Hebden Bridge Fell Race, that saw 85 runners heading up from Calder Holme Park in the town centre to Stoodley Pike and back 6 miles later, on a beautiful mid-summer evening.

Alex Whittem HB2017

There was an excellent Calder Valley turnout of 27 runners, some of whom were competing in their first fell race after joining the club for its introduction to fell running sessions just a few weeks earlier.
The race, organised by Todmorden Harriers, was won by Michael Kallenbeg of Cardiff AC with Calder Valley’s Alex Whittem just 11 seconds behind him in second, and no less than eight other runners from the club in the top 20. In a fit brotherly rivalry, Stephen and Simon Ashton, both new to fell running, finished in sixth and seventh place respectively were separated by less than twenty seconds. Gayle Sugden meanwhile, who has been out of the racing scene since last year due to an injury, made her return at Hebden Bridge and true-to-form was the first woman back. Calder Valley took the men and women’s team prizes.

Gayle said: “After eight months away from racing I decided to do the Hebden race, I’m still not fixed but thought I’d give it a shot. I started off steady up the first climb and climbed well up to Stoodley but then came the descending, which didn’t go so well…ha ha! My injury wasn’t too happy after the race but it was great to be back out there. I really enjoyed it.”

Gayle Sugden HB2017

A little further afield was the short, sharp shock of Kettlewell Fell Race, which sees runners climbing 600 feet straight up the rocks and back down the scree in just 1.5 miles, showing just how steep this route is. There was an excellent turnout from Calder Valley juniors at the race, and some even better results. In the under 9s, Sam Annison had a fantastic run to finish in 4th place. In the under 12s meanwhile, William Hall took 1st place, James Duffy 5th and Patrick Casey 6th, showing the strength of the club in this age category.

William Hall Kettlewell fell race 2017

Over in Lancashire, and starting in the picture-postcard village of Downham, is the Pendle Cloughs fell race – a tough route of 23 km around Pendle Hill. Despite being in Calder Valley’s club championship, only four club members headed across the border to complete. They didn’t disappoint. Lindsay Oldfield was first lady and Rob Allen second man, while Toby Sydes and Jim Cooke also put in good performances.

The club’s Phil Scarf and Bill Johnson, meanwhile, took part in the Low Alpine Mountain Marathon in Scotland, a two-day score event involving navigation and running across three iconic mountain ranges and covering thousands of feet of climbing. Despite tough competition, the pair won the score event outright – a fantastic result for the Calder Valley pair. The club’s Jackie Scarf with team-mate Simon Birch also finished well-up the field as leading mixed pair.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon –

The Dragon Slayers

Two local running club members took part in the famous Dragons Back Race, billed as the world’s toughest mountain race, last week.

CVFR John Minta – Dragons Back 2017 (Photo Credit: NAV4 Adventures)

John Minta (Calder Valley FR) and Darren Graham (Todmorden Harriers) were among those who set off from Conwy Castle in North Wales heading for Llandelio in the south.
It takes the runners five days and the 315k route has more than 15000m of ascent and crosses wild, trackless and mountainous terrain. The milage and ascent is based on optimal route choice and runners have to self navigate to each checkpoint so they could run further and climb higher! By modern ultra running standards, an average of 63k a day isn’t high but competitiors can be out for 13 hours each day and cumulative effect of five days of testing running tests mental and physical ability.

Only 127 of the 232 starters managed to slay the dragon but Minta (71st in 61.44.40) and Graham (86th in 64.44.42) were among them. The first two home were Marcus Scotney (37.58.37) and Carl Morgan (48.41.47).

Foe Edge

Last Wednesday 6 Calder Valley runners headed over to Rossendale to take part in the Foe Edge fell race, which is proving itself in becoming a classic mid-week South Pennine race. 142 runners entered the short race, which took in two extremely steep climbs as well as open moorland terrain. Rob Allen had a blistering start and really set the pace of the race on fire, leading the way for a good length of time. However, it proved too much and in the end he was not able to hold the lead and was passed accordingly. Gareth Clarke chose a different tactic and paced himself well. This paid off and he finished in 12th, with Rob in 16th. Carole Fryer was 1st V50 woman and Calvin Ferguson also had a strong race with a new personal best time.

12th Gareth Clarke 36:11
16th Rob Allen 36:20
41st Paul Gilbert 39:55
52nd Jon Underwood 41:05
55th Calvin Ferguson 41:13
95th Carole Fryer 45:50

Foes edge is over – CVFR Heading Home (Photo Credits Mick Fryer)

Weets – English Championship

The 2nd race in the English Fell Running Championship series took us into Darkest Lancashire last Saturday for a short sharp shock of a race; 6 miles and 1500 feet of climb.

The Calder Valley caravan was a man or three down but still managed to get some top teams out. The ladies set off first, in heat wave conditions. Bionic women, Karen farah fawcett Forster saw her come 2nd in her age category. 2 ladies suffered heat stroke and visited A&E but were reported to be OK.

Calders Karon Foster (Photo Credits Mick Fryer)

The Calder men were led by trio and Alex (endangered species) Whittem, Timbo ‘Baggins’ Ellis and Old Man Mulholland with the 2 youths striving on to finish 18th and 20th. Vet 45 Mulholland hung in to finish 27th and 1st vet, strengthening his lead in the individual champs tables. Not far behind came Jason ‘Wilf’ Williams, who had a stormer and classed 2nd v40 on the day.

falling at his feet… (Gav Mulholland) (Photo Credits Mick Fryer)

The vets may have clinched 1st team with contributions from Mancunian Stephen Edwards, hop a long Mark Taylor who is actually injured and Mark ‘The Wart’ Wharton. Unlike the women, the men were offered thunder, lightning and mega hail stones by the fell running Gods.


Of all the islands in the west of Scotland, the Isle of Jura, though one of the most beautiful, remains one of the most mysterious and least known. The spectacular Paps of Jura, rising from sea-level to over 2,500 feet are visible from the Argyll mainland some 16 miles away. These three spectacular lumps of hard Scottish quartzite are traversed by the Jura Fell Race. It is a great classic and a test in rough terrain, fitness and fell running technique, not to mention navigation. It is one of the toughest challenges in British hill races at this distance. 9000ft of climbing all within the first 12 miles of the 16 mile race.

Jake Ackroyd at Jura 2017

Several Calder Valley Fell runners took the opportunity to race there this year. Karl Grey was first back for the club in a fantastic 4th place 3 hours 27 mins and 12 seconds and gaining a coveted Jura Race whisky glass. Findlay Wild of Lochaber won in 3 hours 5 mins and 14 secs. Ian Symington was an excellent 26th taking just over four hours, in what is a short race for him.

4th Karl Gray 3:27:12
26th Ian Symington 4:06:08
89th Mark O’Connor 4:51:42
95th Dougie Zinnis 4:59:32
108th Lee Shimwell 5:07:03
127th Jake Ackroyd 5:20:42

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –

Calder Men take the CWR Top Spot

Firstly, in England, Halifax Harriers hosted the 33rd Eric North Memorial Calderdale Way Relay, with 96 teams entering. Covering a total distance of 50 miles, each team of 12 runners share the duties as each of the 6 legs are run in pairs throughout the day. CVFR men’s Team A took home 1st place in a combined time 05:59:55, beating their closest rivals, Barlick Fell Runners by just over 4 minutes.

The men’s B team also had a very strong and consistent run thanks to a superb start by Iain Powell and Iain Glendinning, finishing in 25th place and beating many other clubs A teams.

Ben Mounsey, who was drafted in at the last second to run Leg 3, in addition to Leg 1 had this to say “Unfortunately for the CVFR A team, Darren Kay pulled out of the race with an injury less than 36 hours before the event. After frantically trying to find an adequate replacement over the weekend, we finally made a decision (literally a few hours before the relay!) that we would move Richard Pattinson to Leg 6 and I would run both Leg 1 and Leg 3. A very risky and bold strategy that would either pay dividends or fail quite spectacularly. When the race began, I knew that we would need a remarkable run on leg 1 to give us a healthy lead, especially as we expected to lose time on leg 3. Thankfully, both myself and Andy represented Yorkshire last weekend, so I knew we were in excellent form. By the time we approached Norland Moor we had a sizeable lead over the chasing pack and a good 45 second advantage. Over the first few miles I really pushed the pace to try and extend our lead and seconds quickly turned into minutes. Behind us there was a real tussle for 2nd place as Wharfedale, Harrogate and Clayton fought it out between themselves. I knew that once we reached Mill Bank our tactics had worked and it was just a case of how many minutes advantage we would have going into the second leg. We finished with a real flourish on the final descent, in a time of 01:09:47 and gained a 4 minute lead over the next teams, Harrogate Harriers and Wharfedale Harriers in 2nd & 3rd respectively.”

The men’s Team A were then able to hold onto the lead for the remainder of the race, with Shaun Godsman putting in a really strong push on Leg 3, having recently returned from a serious back operation. Jon Smith and Mark O’Connor also put in an excellent Leg 5, as Barlick were chasing and closing the gap. Lastly Karl Gray and Richard Pattinson, as two of the most experienced fell runners in the country proved, there was no catching these legends, finishing comfortably in 1st place.

Jon Smith – CWR 2017 – Leg5 – Mens A Team

Jon Smith leading the way on Leg 5.

In Scotland, Holly Page took first place at the Goatfell race on the Isle of Arran. The 9.6 mile race heads out from Brodick, taking the competitors 2,800 ft up the Tourist route, before descending and heading back into Brodick for a fast finish. Likewise in Wales, Math Roberts came home first for CV in the Cader Idris Mountain Race in a time of 01:24:08, beating his closest rival by 6 minutes. The race is one of the toughest in Wales and is considered one of the ‘must do’ races on a lot of folk’s calendars.

1st. Holy Page – Goatfell 2017

Holly Page descending Goat Fell, Isle of Arran.

At 37 miles and incorporating 10,000 ft of ascent and descent, the Old County Tops race is a classic test of mountain running endurance that has been held annually for 29 years. From Langdale the competitors must visit the highest points in each of the three counties that used to incorporate the Lake District before the county of Cumbria was formed – Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire. The highest points being the summits of Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Old Man of Coniston respectively. This year the test was made considerably harder by heavy rain, wind and cold conditions all morning. The 30% dropout rate during the race, even from the hardy mountain folk who toe the start line of an event like this, was indication of the severity.

Elite ultra runners Kevin Hoult and Simon Bourne were targeting a win in their vets category. They set a fast time of just over 8 hours for 7th place overall, but were pipped for the vets win by just two minutes. Further back, there was a good tussle between two more CVFR pairs: Johnnie Watson and Simon Fisher stayed just a few minutes ahead of Helen Buchan and Bill Johnson for almost the whole route, until a navigation error led to Johnnie and Simon heading to Dow Crag instead of Coniston Old Man, allowing Helen and Bill to emerge at the final summit in front – a position they held to the finish. Those two pairs both finished in just over 10 hours.They were followed by CVFR’s Tim Brooks who had paired up with Todmorden Harrier’s Andy McFie.

The race was won by Rob Jebb (Bingley) and Josh Jardine (Helm Hill) in under 7 hours, while Nicky Spinks (Dark Peak) and Jean Brown (Clayton) impressively lowered their own women’s record to 8:15 despite the conditions.

Duo, Kevin Hoult & Simon Bourne on the Old county tops 2017

Lastly, just over the border in Lancashire, a group of hardy CVFR entered the Blackstone Edge fell race, as part of the clubs Championship series. From the old Roman road, the race heads down through a boggy track before climbing very steeply over rough tussocks – 1,200 ft in total – to the Trig point at Blackstone edge. It then drops down a technical decent and once more through the bogs, for a fast finish. Lindsey Oldfield took first ladies prize for the club and Bill Johnson took 1st Vet 50, as well as being first back for CV. This result extends his lead even further in the men’s Club Champs – come on lads, he needs a challenger!

CVFRs Stephen Edwards took part in the Jurassic Coast ultra on Saturday 20th May and won the race. It was 46 miles with 6112’ of climbing visiting the famous site of Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –

Buckley’s Gold’en for Yorkshire

Great Whernside Uphill Juniors Championship

William Hall won the under 13s race in 8:37 nearly half a minute ahead of his nearest competitor. William is possibly the best fell runner of his age in the country at the moment. Good results also in the under 13s from Patrick Casey (6th) and James Duffy (9th).

In the seniors women’s race Calder’s Helen Buchan was 6th with Trudi Entwhistle 8th and Jez Wilkinson 60th in the men’s race.

UK InterCounties

The Broughton Heights Hill Race was the venue for the UK InterCounties Fell Running Championship this year. Run from near Biggar in the Southern Uplands, several members of Calder Valley Fell Runners represented their counties in the six mile race. Ben Mounsey, Andy Swift and Jo Buckley represented Yorkshire, Gavin Mulholland for Northern Ireland, Jason Williams for Leicestershire and Karon Foster represented Cheshire.

Ben Mounsey was the third Yorkshire counter helping them to silver medal place with Tom Addison (Helm Hill) and Jack Wood (Ilkley). Over the border rivals Lancashire won gold with local team Scotland East in bronze.  The Yorkshire women, Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth), Helen Glover (Ribble Valley AC) and Kirsty Hall (Wharfdale) went one better bringing home gold ahead of pre-race favourites Cumbria.

Gold for the Yorkshire Ladies (CVFR Jo Buckley on the right)

Silver for the Yorkshire Men (Jack Wood and CVFR Andy swift and Ben Mounsey)

Photos courtesy of Woodentops.

Fairfield Horseshoe

374 fell runners started from Rydal Hall in Ambleside in overcast conditions but on the tops the clag was down, very windy, but fortunately only a drop or two of rain fell. The overnight rain meant the rocks were very slippery, but fortunately given the recent dry weeks the bogs were dry.

Ben Abdelnoor of host club Ambleside was the winner in 1:22:33. For Calder Valley, Alex Whittem was 5th, just two minutes behind the winner, with Jon Smith 15th in 1:33:55 and Stephen Edwards 39th in 1:39:56.  Dave Hammond, Gavin Roper and Tony Steward also completed the tough 9 mile course which includes 3,000 feet of climbing.

Alex Whittem on the Fairfield horseshoe 2017

The Jack Bloor Fell Race

A nice midweek, 5 mile race on Ilkley Moor, this year held in glorious sunshine. A few Calder runners headed over to Wharfdale to take part last Tuesday.  Jon Smith had a good run to come in 11th place.  Dave Hammond and Jake Ackroyd battled each other with Jake winning by 20 seconds, and Jez Wilkinson came in 178th place.

All profits from the race goes to the Jack Bloor Memorial Fund, which awards grants to those who want to improve their physical and technical skills in outdoor sports.

On form Jon Smith closing the gap on his rivals.

Jon Smith at the Jack Bloor race, photo courtesy of Woodentops

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –

Symington & Taylor Stuc at it for Calder

Sedbergh Gala Fell Race

There is something special about Sedbergh Gala Fell Race. In less than three and half miles it climbs around 1,000 feet and is over, for the fastest runners at least, in about twenty minutes. The first in the BOFRA (British Open Fell Running Association) series of super-short, super-steep fell races, Sedbergh is known for the eyeballs-out speed it requires.

Nicknamed the ‘bullet’, Calder Valley’s Ben Mounsey has that in abundance, and didn’t disappoint. Pre-race favourites Mounsey and clubmate Darren Kay went toe-to-toe, battling it out from the start. Mounsey led the way on the runnable climb, but at the summit only a second separated the Calder Valley pair. Both men took a slightly different line on the descent and it was here that Mounsey managed to open up an unassailable lead.

Ben and Daz racing to the finish line at Sedberg

He won in an excellent time of 19:48, just 7 seconds in front of Kay in 19:55, as both men dipped under the 20 minute mark. In-form Jack Smith and former BOFRA champion Ted Mason, both Wharfedale Harriers, trailed in 3rd and 4th respectively. Their teammate and reigning female champion, Kirsty Hall, took the honours in the women’s race in 23:25.

The junior race saw an equally strong performance from Calder Valley, with three club runners placing in the top ten. Continuing his excellent season, Will Hall won the under-12s race, though it was a close competition, with Will taking the win by just one second from Sam Conroy (Keighley and Craven) in a nail-biting sprint finish. James Duffy and Patrick Casey both had excellent runs for Calder Valley too, finishing 5th and 7th respectively.

Ben’s win came after a successful race the day before when he was on official duty, as an Innov-8 sponsored athlete, at the Lakeland Trail event in Staveley, South Lakes. Competing in the 17-kilometre race, Ben said “conditions were dry and although it was windy, it made for excellent racing. I was leading after five miles but took a wrong turn (no marshal!) and returned to the race in 2nd position, finishing in 1:11:59 behind eventual winner, Jonny Cox of Eden Runners in 1:10:07. Only a week after completing the 3 Peaks fell race, my legs were in bits.”

Stuc A’ Chroin 5000

At the other end of the spectrum, Mark Taylor and Ian Symington battled around a tough course in the mountains of Perthshire in Scotland that covers 5,000 feet of climbing in 14 miles. Some of the cream of the fell running community were there, but both Calder Valley runners recorded excellent results, with Taylor finishing in 2 hours 35 minutes.

Mark Taylor at Stuc A Chroin Photo: Matthew Curry

Symington just four minutes later, having fought much of the way round with Todmorden Harriers rival Nick Barber.

Ian Symington demonstrating how to pace the Stuc A Chroin race Photo: Matthew Curry

Karl Gray reselected for British Athletics team

Calder Valley’s Karl Gray has once again been selected to represent Britain in the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, which will be in Italy in early August. Gray’s success comes on the back of years of elite level running, including representing Britain on a number of occasions, and an excellent performance at the Three Peaks race the previous weekend which was used to select the British team.

WMR Link

Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon

Gray earns GB selection

Mounsey (Left) then Gray and Swift – Three Peaks 2017 (Thanks: Woodentops)

The week saw a packed and busy itinerary for CVFR with a catalogue of races ranging from 3.3 miles to 61 miles. In the offing was a mid week run in Todmorden (the Orchan Rocks), two classic fell races (the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and the epic ultra Fellsman), and a popular club event, the Coiners, hosted by the club itself. And, as ever, the red and white stripes scooped up a range of prizes along their way.

Orchan Rocks, a short 3.3 mile race, was first run in 2014. Starting a couple of miles outside Todmorden, it’s a short sharp blast of a race on some fast, grassy paths. Going up the Knotts Cliffs, the route does a quick loop around the Orchan Rocks before descending back the same way. Calder Valley’s Alex Whittem was the overall winner with a time of 22.30. Calder Valley men took the Team prize and Sue Martin claimed the WV50.

Sue Martin WV50 Orchan Rocks

The Yorkshire 3 Peaks is an iconic event, popular with runners and spectators alike. Richly steeped in history, it’s a race where many great athletes have made their mark. Billed as the “Marathon with Mountains”, this 23 miles fell route, which has 5,279ft of ascent, features on the bucket list of many fell runners with its steep climbs, challenging descents, fast runnable sections, a variety of all terrain, and of course unpredictable Yorkshire weather! It attracts the very best fell and mountain runners in the land with fierce competition, especially this year as it was a selection event for the Great Britain Team for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships. The race starts from Horton-in-Ribblesdale and snakes it way up, round and down the iconic peaks of Pen-y-gent, Whernside, and Ingleborough. And if that’s not challenging enough, the strict cut off times, means there’s always significant number of runners who are unable to complete the race.

The 2017 event, held last Saturday, attracted a field of 760 runners. Conditions were favourable as 22 hardy Calder Valley runners gathered at the starting line, including the club’s finest athletes, to take on this gruelling challenge. All 22 CV runners accomplished the mission of making the cut off times and completing the race.

The overall winner was Murray Strain of Hunters Bog Trotters in Edinburgh completing in 2:49:38- 3mins 35secs outside the men’s record for the current course, which Andy Peace, of Bingley Harriers established 21-years-ago in 1996. Calder Valley’s Karl Gray came in 4th overall at 2:56:37, winning the MV40 category and breaking his own record. With his team mates Ben Mounsey and Andy Swift, CVFR secured 2nd men’s team prize.

Karl said ‘I had amazing run at the 3 peaks. I’d prepared really well leading up to the race but you never really know how you’re going to run as it’s such a tough race to get right. I’d told myself that a top 10 would be a great result. My plan was to run my own race aiming for a sub 3 hours and see what happens.

‘I’d stayed in the top 10 at Penyghent and was 7th on Whernside and was starting to feel more confident on the way to Ingleborough as the run off Ingleborough to the finish is the strongest part of the race for me. As others start to fade I feel good there. I just needed to survive the run down to the Hill Inn and keep a good rhythm on the long climb up Ingleborough. My plan worked out perfectly and I manage to pick off the 3 runners that I could see ahead of me finishing in 4th place in a new personal best time and veteran 40 record of 2.56.32. Being overjoyed is an understatement – I’d amazed myself! ‘

Victoria Wilkinson, of Bingley Harriers, claimed a £500 bonus prize for breaking the ladies’ record. She finished 13th overall at 03:09:19. Helen Buchan, the lone Calder Valley female runner, completed it in 4:41:11

Among the 22 CV crew was Paul Haigh. Determined to put his running efforts to good use, he completed the Yorkshire 3 Peaks as the first of 4 Mountain Marathons this year to raise money for Mental Health UK. His marathons will be part of his quest to run 1000 miles and climb 100,000ft of ascent in 2017.  

Paul said ‘I’m still buzzing from an absolutely fantastic day. My aim was just to finish. To do it in just over 4 hours, making new friends along the way, and receiving some brilliant support both on and off the course has made this a day I’ll never forget. Thanks everyone who’s donated so far to my ‘Mental’ Health challenge. On course for at least £1.5k so far with only a quarter of the Mountain Marathons completed!’

The Fellsman 2017, Joint 2nd, Calders Simon Bourne(Left) and Kevin Hoult (Right)

This year’s 55th Fellsman is another Yorkshire classic. A high level traverse covering more than 60 miles over very hard rugged moorland, the event climbs12,000 feet in its path from Ingleton to Threshfield in the Yorkshire Dales. Conditions this year were kind – remarkably dry underfoot and no rain The overall winner was Chris Perry from Dark Peak in 11h 21m. As a counter for CVFR’s 2017 Ultra Club Championships, Calder Valley’s Simon Bourne and Kevin Hoult were determined to undertake the challenge and in doing so, finished joint 2nd  along Stewart Bellamy from Mercia  in 11h 56m. Not only that, CV won the men’s Team prize.

Simon said ‘The three of us started running together early on and we pulled through the field from 20th to 3rd place at half way. I’m a Fellsman veteran (was my 7th top 10 position and was also 2nd last year) so know the route well and the other guys were happy to follow me. Early on, Kevin and myself agreed to run together to the finish like we did in 2015.’

‘We were in sight of the guy in 2nd place (Lawrence Eccles from Liverpool) for all the second half of the race, but he held us off until the final 8 mile descent off Great Whernside to the finish which we ran really hard as we were hugely motivated to break 12 hours. We kept pushing hard all the way and were delighted to finish a few minutes under 12, having passed Lawrence with 6 miles to go’

Finally, on Bank Holiday Monday, CVFR hosted the popular Coiners race for both juniors and seniors. This year, the race was an English Juniors Championships counter and Yorkshire Championship race, thus attracting large numbers of youngsters from all over the country, with over 400 juniors racing. The pressure was on for CVFR to pull off a super, successful junior event and they did just that with club members coming out in force to support and marshal the races, superbly organised and coordinated by junior coach, Alastair Whitelaw. The testing junior routes each started with a tough uphill, with the older the age group the wilder the route. The older runners take in large chunks of open moorland before a long fast downhill descent with a bit of everything – moor, tracks, woodland and fast grassy slopes.

Holly Page is 1st and sets a new course record on the Coiners 2017

Smiles and mud were abundant as the juniors zipped their way round their respective course (U9, U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19). U9 overall winner was Tom Ashworth (Ambleside) with Samuel Annison first CV home followed 2 seconds later by CV’s Clara McKee who was first girl. CV’s Charlie Pickins (7th) and George McFie (10th) were within the first 10 back of the U11, with CV’s Thomas McKee, Ben Hodgkinson, Ollie Pickins, Fearne Hanson Finley Canning , Kenton Jones McCalla ,Wynn Standish all showing great determination and effort.

In the U13, CV’s William Hall came in 3rd with James Duffy (8th) and Patrick Casey (9th) also in the top ten.  Great performances from CV were also seen by Alex Duffield, Farrell Brown, Tom Owen, Elijah Peers-Webb, Matilda Baldero, Evelyn Illstone, Sylvie Smith and Hattie Pope.

Charlie Pickins Coiner junior

Frazer Sproul (Kendal) was the overall winner for the U15, with promising performances from CV’s Erik Powell, Eilo Beesley,  Maya Brunt and Ruby McFie. U17 winner was Alex Ediker (Buxton AC) and first girl Rosie Woodhams (Dallam running club) with CV’s Lucas Greenwood running well.

With this being a Junior Yorkshire championship race William Hall was crowned under 13s boys champion. A fantastic result for the William who’s running fantastically this season.

The well organised seniors race later that day, coordinated by CV’s Rob Rawlinson, also had a strong CVFR turn out both as participants and marshals. The scenic 6 mile loop with 967ft of climb takes in Coiner’s country on paths, tracks moorland. It goes over Erringden Moor, Stoodley Pike and Bell House Moor, offering spectacular views of Cragg Vale and passing by the old coiners cottages of Bell House and Keelam.

The overall winner was Tom McGuiness (East Cheshire) in 45:33 with Holly Page the first CV home and first lady (5th overall) in 49:47. Holly broke the previous record held by Katie Walshaw, an international runner from Holmfirth Harriers. Not only that, but the red and whites also successfully scooped both the 1st Ladies Team prize (Holly Page, Jo Buckley, Lindsey Oldfield) AND the 1st Men’s Team prize (Romans Sustovs, Matt Ray and Steve Smithies).

Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson


William Hall – Credit Stephen Hall

With Spring in full gear and the nights getting longer – despite the setback in warm weather just now – the fell race season is getting into full swing. This weekend was no exception with the option of two classic fell races being presented to Calder Valley Fell Runners.

The Anniversary Waltz, from near Keswick at 11.5 miles and 3,600 foot of climbing and its longer, grumpier sibling, Teenager with Altitude at 15.4 miles and 7,600 foot of climbing. The former also happened to be the third race this season in the CV club championships – so naturally there was a good turnout of all abilities and a bit of banter too. In addition to these was the Anniversary Wa! English Junior Championship race, which also had an excellent turnout of CV juniors from U9-U19 age groups.

CV Juniors on Tour – Credit Woodentops

Firstly, the Anniversary Wa! Race. In the U13B Junior race, William Hall (pictured on top of Cat Bells) continued to dominate the top of the table, finishing 1st place with Patrick Casey in 3rd and Joseph Hobbs in 7th. In the U11G race Fearne Hanson was just shy of a top 10 finish and for the Boys Charlie Pickens finished in a solid 8th place and George McFie (pictured) finished 12th. In the U9B Samuel Annison had a great race finishing 3rd.

Hurtling – George McFie – Credit Stephen Hall

Onto the senior races, the Anniversary Waltz has a bit of history… in fact 17 years of history to date, as it is held each year to commemorate Wynn and Steve’s wedding at Newlands Valley church on Saturday 20th April 1996. This year Wynn, Steve and the 500+ runners that entered were greeted with great weather, despite the initial concern of an unsettled day.

CV had some notable performances, not just in terms of high finishes, but also in terms of personal records and accomplishments. First home was Bill Johnston, who again is displaying amazing form – potentially eying up the V50 Club Championship Gold… Lyndsey Oldfield also had a great race finishing fastest CV lady. Local lad Martin Howard had an excellent race finishing 2nd fastest U23 in a time of 2hr 03min. With Martin not being the most talkative teenager his father Bob explained “Martin had a bad fall ironically on a flat bit and left a lot of skin from his knees, palms and finger tips on the Lakeland fells, but brushed himself off and used his descending prowess to make his time up. He went to the medical tent at the end where an old lady used a course scrubbing brush to get the grit out of his wounds. He is now recovering from his ordeal and has vowed to go under 2:00 hrs next year.” Bob, although further down the pack, had a good race and managed to see off fellow CV runners. He also added “I set myself a target of sub 3:00hrs and was really pleased with 2:54. On the last half mile run in I knew that Nicki Latham and Rod Sutcliffe were just behind me so I had to push right to the finish and just held them both off.” Nicki herself must also be commended given she raced after severe dental treatment the day before. She had a mouth of stitches, was on antibiotics and painkillers and almost dropped out at checkpoint 1, but just vomited and carried on!
The amazing thing about this race is that many of the CV team that took part had only joined the club a year ago as part of the ‘Back to the Fells’ taster sessions. These sessions are running at the moment, free of charge, down at Mytholmroyd Community Centre, Tuesdays at 645pm.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –

Bionic Bunny Oldfield

The Bunny Runs are a series of weekly spring fell races held at Penistone Hill above Haworth. Bunny Run Two was held on the 11th of April. Three speedy laps of the quarry giving a three mile route with about 300ft of climbing mean that juniors 12 years and over can race against the adults. Always fast and furious races they suit the shorter distance specialists. 800 metre track star Max Wharton was out to win this weeks race for his fell club, Calder Valley.

However the win was not for Max, who came third in 15mins 35secs. The race was won clearly by James Hall of Wharfedale in 14:51, only ten seconds behind the course record. It was Hall’s third win at this race. Jack Wood of Ilkley just managed to hold off Wharton for 2nd in 15:22.

Max Wharton 3rd over all and 1st calder.

Lindsey Oldfield was 11th woman in 20:06 with with Wharfdale’s under 15 Alice Jones winning in 18:53. Calder’s Jack Denton had a good run to come 26th in 17:39 and Max’s dad, Mark, was third V50 in 19:09 behind Bingley’s Ian Holmes and Barlick’s Chris Smales.

Always popular, perhaps because of the large range of chocolate based prizes, the next Bunny Run (number 3) is on the 18th April and the Bunny Run Relays are on the 25th April.

Full Calder Results;

3rd Max Wharton 15:35
26th Jack Denton 17:39
35th Tristan Sheard 18:15
49th Mark Wharton 19:09
67th Erik Powell (U15) 19:49
77th Lindsey Oldfield 20:06
88th Elio Beesley (U15) 20:29
104th Matthew Murray 21:08
110th Lucas Greenwood (U17) 21:25
124th Alex Duffield (U15) 21:56
174th Elijah Peers-Webb (U15) 23:25
215th Steven Cavell 25:55

Rivington Pike

The legendary Rivington Pike Fell Race was held last Saturday. A couple of Calder Valley runners headed over into Lancashire. Dave Hammond was 91st in 23:32 and CalvinFerguson was 183rd in 26:50.

Calvin Ferguson – Rivington Pike 2017

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –

Kyrpton Kev vs Super Symington

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

Krypton Kev and Super Symington on the Calderdale Hike 37m


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.

Andy Swift First back for CVFR at Donnard

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 –