Youth & Experience

Prizes for Calder Valley’s Youth and Experience

This weekend saw a fantastic display from CVFR’s young talents and experienced, club veterans in Championship races both home and away.

Utterley Butterley Fell Race

The sun was out for the ten CVFR who made the trip to Marsden for the Utterly Butterley Fell Race. As the penultimate Club Championship short race, this was a chance to grab some last minute points. Starting at the Butterley Reservoir, this is billed as a ‘scenic route which visits 5 reservoirs in under 5 miles’, with 850ft ascent over the Moors above Marsden. Rob James (Royton) powered home to set a new course record of 29.34 mins. Martin Howard flew off the start to lead the race but suffered a stitch which slowed him to human pace.

Martin Howard’s flying start at Utterley Butterley


Calder Valley men put in a superb performance to win the team prize with Martin Howard (3rd overall), Jonny Croston (8th) and Phil Wells (11th).

Phil Wells looking relaxed at Utterley Butterley

Carole Fryer continues to run well and was pleased to get FV50 which she thought she had missed out on.

Carole Fryer in fine form at Utterley Butterley.

Tamsin Cooke claimed an unusual prize for best scare after injuring herself! Thankfully no serious harm done.

Tamsin Cooke at Utterley Butterley

Lost Shepherd Fell Race

The Lost Shepherd made its debut on the Calder Valley race calendar this Saturday.

53 runners took on the challenging partially flagged 15 mile race over open moor and foot path with 2690 ft of climb. The nine checkpoints include Stoodley Pike (twice), Withins Clough, and the Shepherd’s Rest. Organised by CVFR’s Simon Fisher, all proceeds go to prostate cancer research. Andrew Worster (Todmorden Harriers) was first back in 1.57 hours followed by CVFR’s Kevin Hoult in second place and first MV40. With three top ten placings, Calder Valley scooped the team prize: Kevin Hoult (2nd) Jon Smith (4th) and Bill Johnson (10th overall and 1st MV50).

The lost Shepherd 2018 – Nathan Kennaugh

Annie Roberts made it a Tod Harriers double with 1st female (11th overall). Jackie Scarf continued the CVFR Vets’ winning form to claim 1st FV50 (3rd female) and Stella Chrisanthou was 5th female.

Holcombe Duathlon

Not content with winning on foot, Calder Valley’s Karl Gray showed how to do it on two wheels by winning the Holcombe Duathlon just 20 seconds outside the course record.

KG – kryptonian God with the Holcombe Duathlon winning trophy

This route sandwiches a challenging 27k ride over Peel Tower between two 7.5k runs. Helen Buchan put in fantastic runs and riding to finish 1st FV40.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen Mcdonach

Autumn escapades

The Cautley Horseshoe: lucky for some.
The final chapter in the English National Fell champs was held by Howgill Harriers, with a race of only 4.6 miles with 800 vertical metres to get the calf muscles twitching.

The ladies ran first, with brave veteran Karon Forster taking on the challenge finishing 8th vet 50 and she got the pleasure of watching the lads wrestle through the river crossing, that had Gav Mulholland wearing water wings, just before the finish. The pressure was on with team and open medals at stake.
Ben Mounsey showed he’s not just a milner, as he took the crown on the first, hand grappling ascent and came home in another top 10 position in 8th.
Next in was Karl, putting to bed rumours of a 50th birthday by coming home in his new age, 18th and second vet only to Sir Rob Jebb. Karl is, again a national hero with first vet 45 and 2nd vet 40.

The Earl – Cautley river crossing

Next in was his long lost half brother Gavin Mulholland in 25th. Known for his kindness he only went and let old man Mark Roberts, former British champ, take him by 3 seconds and costing him a bronze in the vet 40 category, but cementing a bronze in the vet 45s. Alex Whittem was next in, waving to the crowds in his usual style with ‘high ho’ Shaun Godsman silver, in the vet 45s, front crawling to the finish alongside Darren Kay. That’s a one, two, three for the club in the Vet 45s English Champs, extremely rare, like the next lot of runnners, Mark ‘berty biscuit’ Burton, Mark Taylor and Stephen Edwards came home next. With two river crossings the great white shark, Mark O’Connor, gave his best, despite the lack of brine.

Special mention to Martin Howard who showed he can compete with the best finishing, just behind Shaun, after he parted the waves for him. Martin showed much climbing prowess today and it has been confirmed that he has tied for Gold in the u23s championship. He says he’s off out to the Accapulco wearing his bling and England vest. His father Bob Howard is very proud, adding that he better be home by 11.30.

In the club championships, there was another skirmish on the moors around Pule hill in the Ian Roberts memorial race held by Holmfirth Harriers.
Three of the lads finished in the top 10 with Jonny ‘chocks away’ Croston collected 1st vet honours. Phil Wells was next in, with Paul Haigh tussock trounced into 10th. For the ladies, Ann Holden took 2nd vet 40 followed up by Rachel Johnston Taking 2nd vet 50. While all of this was taking place Simon Ashton was on the prowl over Stainland way taking 3rd in their trail race. Some say he was just preparing himself for a strava segment raid whilst Mulholland and Mounsey seek pastures new.

CVFR Mens Team

Stepping it up just a little was Melvyn Ward who completed The Robin Hood 100 mile long distance race in an amazing time of 28hrs 44mins. I suspect he will need new shoes, and feet. Unfortunately there are now food shortages in the local area as he bids to replenish his body.

Auditioning for the sequel to king of the hill in the final stage of the King of the Mountains at Scafell were Calvin Ferguson, Blair Garrett, and Steve Stephen Smithies after having journeyed on their pilgrimage of the highest British Summits in Ben Nevis and Snowdon previously in the year.

And rumour has it, in a second day of racing over at the Embsay Bofra, Smithies went on to be crowned vet 50 champion as he took on the short blast up to the crag before circumnavigating back, packing 244m of climb into a neat 4.4km route. For the ladies, Jo Buckley managed to edge away from her competitors to take first female place.

And legendary violinist Holly Page played a mean fiddle to win bronze at the sky running world champs., the Ring of Steall Skyrace in Scotland. She said

“Absolutely DELIGHTED to win a bronze medal at the Skyrunning world champs and last race of the Salomon Running goldentrail series. I didn’t sleep until after 3am, woke up with a cold and was deliberating whether or not to start but I’m so very glad that I did.

Not even in the top 10 after the first climb I pulled through to 4th at the bottom of it then managed to somehow ward off the speedsters behind me and catch up one more place on the final climb to place 3rd.

It was awesome to have so many runners from different countries all experiencing the Scottish mud, tussocks and rocks and even some sunshine… loads of support on the course – sorry to anyone I grunted at… I was appreciating the cheers’

Sensation Holly Page – Ring of Steall Skyrace

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gav Mulholland

The off-road Yorkshireman

Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon and Half

Calder Women at the Yorkshireman start

As we leave the hot summer and short fast gala races behind and head towards the cooler autumn, the fell races get longer. Last Sunday was the Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon, over 26 miles around the hills of Haworth and the Worth valley. A favourite race for many Calder Valley Fell Runners, the Club posted some excellent results.

In the Marathon, ultra supremo, Kevin Hoult lead for the first half but was overtaken by Andrew Dobby (Harrogate Harriers) and Matthew Richardson (Saltaire Striders) to come in third place in 3hrs:29mins. Luke Meleschko came 9th. Andy Wright beat previous demons at this race getting 34th place in 4hrs:22mins. Calder’s women showed a great demonstration of team work, Stella Chrisanthou, Kate Pope, Gloria Ayuso, Elina Eady, Eileen McDonach and Gill Dickson all finished within two minutes of each other.

Calder men at the Yorkshireman start

Calder achieved similar good results in the Half marathon with Dougie Zinnis 7th place in 1:49:44. However it was the vets who got the top results with Andrew Davis 1st V60 in 2:10:27 and Kay Pierce 1st female V70 in 3:36:32.


Calder’s Marathon results
3rd Kevin Hoult 3:29:48
9th Luke Meleschko 3:49:20

Elina Eday at the Yorkshireman

34th Andrew Wright 4:22:51
90th Stella Chrisanthou 5:17:12
91st Kate Pope 5:17:18
92nd Gloria Ayuso 5:17:19
18th pair Elina Eady & Eileen McDonach 5:18:40
95th Gill Dickson 5:18:47
113th Diane Wright 5:36:26

Calder’s Half Marathon Results
7th Douglas Zinis 1:49:44
50th Damien Briscoe 2:06:01
58th Darren Earnshaw 2:07:54
68th Matt Kay 2:10:25
69th Andrew Davies 2:10:27
136th Gillian Wisbey 2:38:14
148th Christina Turner 2:40:56
201st Joanna Marshall 3:03:37
228th Kay Pierce 3:36:32
233rd Angela Richards 3:41:27
239th Genevieve Thompson 3:48:15

Lake District Mountain Trail.

A true test of mountain craft, the Lake District Mountain Trail provides competitors with a map and 11 locations marked on it. The challenge being to navigate quickly and accurately to all the points in order, covering some 25 miles and 10000ft of climbing in the process. The course took runners either side of the valley north of Grasmere as far as Dove Crag in the east to High Raise in the West. Phil Scarf, Bill Johnson and Steve Smithies all completed the long course, with Phil getting the best result in 37th place. Jackie Scarf was 1st female V50 in the medium course. Helen Buchan and Calvin Ferguson were 20th and 4th pair in the short course.

V50 women at Mountain Trial

U20 Junior Home International – Glendalough, Ireland

Martin Howard, wearing his England vest for the 1st time, came 13th in this race .

Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial

Last Saturday the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team put on the Inaugural Downhill Time Trial at the Havok Bike Park in Todmorden. As the name suggests it is a downhill only race with competitors taking it in turns to get down the hill while staying upright. All competitors having two attempts to get their best time.

Todmorden’s Annie Roberts won the women’s race in 7:53. Calder’s Charlotte Wetton was 3rd recording 9:49 on her first attempt. Rachel Johnson was 5th and Karon Foster was 9th.

Karon Foster DH time trial

Wharfdale’s Ted Mason won the men’s race in 6:23. Calder’s Steve Smithies was 8th in 7:41 on his second run, just beating Toby Cotterill to 9th after he recorded 7:42 on his first run. Martin Millard was 26th in 10:42

Toby Cotterill DH time trial

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

Ben10 Martin20

The weekend saw top performances from the red and white hoops with 4 outright wins secured locally and internationally, along with plenty other notable achievements thrown in too.

The infamous Ben Race, associated with a range of superlatives – oldest race, toughest race, most iconic race, the supreme test of fitness etc. took place last Saturday. At 14km, the route is basically up and down Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis with a gruelling 4400’ of ascent and is certainly not for the faint hearted. This year, it was also a British Champs counter. It attracted the usual field of 600 top athletes, all of whom had to qualify to enter. 14 of these were CV runners, including Ben Mousey who continued his usual outstanding performance, securing 10th place in an impressive time of 1:37:54.

Undeterred by The Ben, Ben then went on to finish 3rd at the BOFRA Burnsall Fell Race the day after, despite his very tired legs. And this was after his achievements 4 days before at Kilnsey Crag in which he finished 4th!

Said a tired Ben:

‘A busy week and my legs are in bits! Most pleased with Kilnsey and The Ben-I knocked about 30 secs off my PB at Kilnsey- only 24 secs separating the top 5. Ben at the Ben and coming top 10 is probably my best result all year, think my month in Italian Dolomites has done me good. I’ve got a crazy descent to thank for my position- loved it!’

Ben Mousey The Ben (courtesy Gwynfor James)

Whilst the top CV crew were digging deep with The Ben, 17 CV runners opted for the more relaxed option that day, Blackshaw Head Fell Race. Setting out from the village fete the 96 runners were cheered on their way by festival crowds enjoying the late summer sunshine. The 5.5 mile route then took in a series of steep climbs around the Colden valley totalling 900’ of ascent, interspersed with classic sections of wide open wilderness across Standing Stone Hill and Heptonstall Moor. Conditions were good under foot after the warm, dry summer. CV’s Alex Whittem certainly had the wind in his sails as he breezed his way to a commanding lead with a winning time of 36:41. The CV men also took home the Team prize (Alex Whittem, Shaun Godsman, Paul Haigh and Toby Cotterill). First lady back was Rebecca Patrick, of Tod Harriers, with Christina Turner first CV lady home.

This year also saw the first Junior fell race at Blackshaw Head and was attended by a good number of CV youngsters, all of whom did brilliantly. Harry Cliff was 1st in the U9s with Joe Rochester 3rd, Sam Annison 2nd in U11s, Patrick Casey 1st and Tom Owen 2nd in the U13s and Will Hall 1st in U15. Iris Palmer was first U17 girl.

Alex Whittem, Blackshaw Head winner (courtesy of Mick Fryer)


Sunday saw the club’s annual Castle Carr race weaving across Midgley Moor. At 15 miles with 4000′ ascent/descent over some very varied terrain, Castle Carr is a testing race and was used as a national championship counter in 2017.

Gav Mulholland (courtesy of Mick Fryer))

Starting and finishing at the Hare & Hounds in Old Town, the race passes through the idyllic Castle Carr estate, does a full circuit of the moors around it, dropping into local woods on the slopes above Mytholmroyd, and then crosses back through the estate to the finish. CV’s Gavin Mulholland made it look easy with an effortless win in 2:19:34, well over 10 minutes ahead of the next runner. CV scooped the men’s Team prize with Iain Powell and John Allen finishing 6th and 7th respectively. CV’s Genevieve Thompson also deserves a mention- relatively new to the club, she was determined to give it a go and did brilliantly with a time of 04:45:37.

Genevieve Thompson (courtesy of Mick Fryer)


Meanwhile, in the Lakes, CV Andy Swift was battling it out on the slopes of Skiddaw in the La Sportiva Grand Tour of Skiddaw. Approximately 44 mile fully waymarked, this ultra trail race takes in the beautiful Northern Lake District with a climb up the mighty Skiddaw at the approximate halfway point, giving a total of 7136’ of ascent. The route is almost entirely run on public footpaths and bridleways, starting and finishing at Lime House School near Dalston. This year, the race was a qualifier for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® giving 4 points. And Andy certainly achieved that, the clear winner in 6:35:40, over 30 minutes ahead of the second runner.

Andy Swift on the slopes of Skiddaw

CVFR club continues to produce some of UK’s leading talent, its latest recruit to the England stage being CV’s 19 year old Martin Howard. The British and Irish Junior Mountain Running Championships incorporating Home Counties International takes place in Gledalough, Ireland on 8th Sept and Martin has been selected to run for England in the Under 20s. It’s Martin’s first England junior vest and he has been competing consistently on the fells with several top 3 performances in 2018. The club is immensely proud of Martin and his achievements. Said proud dad, veteran CV Bob:

‘Martin wanted to join CVFR at 8 as he had already been on the Fells with me but at that time could only join at 10 and started competing in Junior fell races. He has always done well at a junior level and this year has taken his training to the next level. After several top 3 finishes in senior races this season he won the competitive Stoodley Pike Fell race with nearly a minute to spare. He also formed part of the winning CV team in the Calderdale Way Relay and got the prize for the first u23 at the English Championship race on the Isle of Man, the Sea to Summit.

Martin added ‘Calder Valley has some fantastic runners who have inspired me to push harder than ever this year. When you are in a team with runners the quality of Ben Mounsey, Karl Grey and Gavin Mulholland ( to name just 3) it helps you focus and see where you need to be to compete at an international level’

Martin Howard – Credit Woodentops

Meanwhile, CV’s Holly Page continues her epic international accomplishments, her latest win last Saturday at the Rut mountain 28k run, completing it in an incredible 3hrs 42 mins

The Rut 28K is an extremely challenging mountain run held in Idaho.  Not the typical 28k terrain, there are sections of this course,  which are extremely steep and technical with sections of exposure and potential rockfall hazard.  But despite this, a proud Holly said:

‘It was an incredible day at Run the Rut, winning my 3rd skyrace of the year!! I’m in a weird time warp so had breakfast at 2am, was worried about the crazy altitude but actually felt really strong’

Holly Page – Rut Run

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

A bumper bank holiday

It was a busy week and bank holiday weekend for Calder Valley with a great crop of results, which started on Wednesday, 22nd August, with Rossendale Harriers’ 2010 Golf Ball fell race – a five-mile slog through mud & rocks, complete with 900ft of ascent.

236 athletes ran & finished, including an excellent run by CVFR’s Alex Whittem to finish 3rd overall in an impressive 39 :51. In the V50 categories, excellent runs from both Carole Fryer and Mark Wharton, saw these two red & white hoops finish 1st FV50 (in 56 :12) and 2nd  MV50 in 46 :07 respectively.

Other noteworthy results in this mid-week series event included a close-run race between Calder Valley’s Johnny Croston (MV40) and Toby Cottrill (MSEN) – finishing with less than a minute between them at 27th and 33rd overall. Whilst Johnny Croston clinched may have clinched this race, Toby Cottrill’s storming set of recent runs sees him crowned the club’s new summer series king.  A 41st place for Romans Sustovs (in 45 :25) added a third race to his tally, taking him to 6th place in the men’s overall mid-week men’s summer series.

On Saturday, 26th, a number of the club’s runners were at Burnsall in the Yorkshire Dales for two different events.

First, both junior & senior competitors lined up in glorious running conditions for the both the Burnsall Classic Fell Race. Credited with being Britain’s oldest fell race, the senior route, whilst shorter than many, at 1.6 miles, still packs a serious punch. With its 899ft of climb this event is widely considered a ‘must’ on every serious fell runners to-do list.

Calder Valley’s Darren Kay ran a fantastic race to finish 6th overall & first V40 in 15 :41. Fellow CVFR V40, Johnny Croston also ran well, taking 15th overall & 3rd V40 in 17 :10.

Darren Kay – credit Dave Woodhead

For the ladies, another strong run from Helen Buchan, saw the club’s former ladies’ captain in second place in the ‘lung-busting ascent’ up to the summit behind fellow V40 runner Bingley Harrier’s Victoria Wilkinson (who subsequently broke the long-standing lady’s course record). However, she later slipped to fourth place overall in the ‘crazy descent’, still completing the course in a very respectable 22 :02.

Helen Buchan – Credit Debi Nicholson

To quote V40 Johnny Croston (who won a bottle of Leffe for finishing 4th), despite the ascent being a ‘real lung burner’, ‘the descent through the heather is good fun and treacherous at the same time’. His advice: ‘have someone get the pints in at the end’ to avoid the long queues at the Red Lion pub after the race!

Johnny Croston – Credit Dave Woodhead

Also in Burnsall, this time in the 10-mile road race, CVFR’s Matthew Ray ran a cracking race to finish 8th overall in an impressive 1 :03 :39. Fellow club member, Jon Smith came in just under 2 ½ minutes later to take 13th place overall & 6th in the MV40 category.

Matthew Ray – Credit Dave Woodhead

Saturday, 26th was also the date for the 3rd in the Kong mini mountain mini mountain marathon series. Several of the club’s runners paired up to compete for ‘a nice day out in the Lakes’ in Ambleside, in the latest of this year’s score events.

Over 170 individuals or pairs finished this this challenging and testing event, in which competitors choose their own route to various check points over fell, moorland & trail – trying to score the maximum number of points in the four-hour time frame, with tough penalties imposed for runners who return late. This weekend the weather did not play ball, and the summer heatwave felt like a dim & distant memory, as those taking part battled incessant rain and 40-mph winds to complete the course.

All of CVFR’s competitors were in V40 categories – with the best result from the pairing of Tim Brooks & James Cooke who ranked 65th overall – and the highest scoring MV40 pair – finishing in 4h 7mins & 33 secs, with a score of 479 (-11 time-penalty). Running alone, CVFR’s Stuart Russell came 67th overall, finishing in 3h 32 minutes with a score of 270 points. The pairing of Phill Beechcroft & Simon Fisher also scored 270, but finished in 3h 49 mins & 11 secs to come 69th overall.

In the XV40 category, Catherine Holden & Richard Sunderland managed to amass an impressive number of controls. However, having mistimed their race strategy, came in 115th overall, thanks to a 120-point time penalty for finishing 22 minutes & 40 seconds over the 4h time limit, causing their score to drop to 220 points.

In addition, on Sunday 28th August, Halifax Harriers organised the Tour of Norland. Here, 63 hardy runners competed in very wet conditions in this 6.3-mile race, with its 886ft of ascent. Veteran runner Anthony Costello was the only Red-&-White hooped competitor, finishing a strong 35th overall & 5th MV55 runner in a respectable 50:28.  

Anthony Costello- credit Mick Fryer

Trophies & Crowns:

CVFR’s Carole Fryer, was crowned winner of the FV50 category for the Pendle and Burnley Grand Prix. This latter comprises a series of fell, road and trail races over the summer. Each athlete’s best 9 from 14 races count towards the overall rankings. Carole Fryer was presented with her trophy at an awards night at Burnley Football Club.

Further afield, Calder Valley’s Matthew Roberts won the legendary Rèinigeadal Fell Race. Measuring in at just shy of 8 miles, with a whopping 2800ft of climb, this annual classic on the rugged east coast of the wild Hebridean island of Harris forms part of the Isle’s Mountain Festival. It follows the old Postman’s round from Urgha to the tiny hamlet of Rheinigeadale – a route still walked by the postman up until a road was built in the late 90s. It then climbs, before dropping steeply to the coast at Loch Trolamaraig, and then traverses the sea cliffs to Rheinigeadale – to later return via the same route.

Wales-based CVFR member led from the off – in an albeit small but friendly race field – eventually winning by an astounding 6 minutes, in 62 mins – a whopping 5mins inside the race record. Prizes were as quirky as the post-race presentation by organiser Stuart Simpson (photo of Matthew Roberts holding aloft his first-place ‘trophy’).

Matthew Roberts – credit Luke Pettitt

Something lighter:

Finally, CVFR’s Holly Page idea of ‘saving her legs’ & replacing competing in both of this weekend’s extra mountain marathons in the international sky running series (in which she currently ranks in the top 5) was to instead opt, at the last minute, to compete in her very first triathlon, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite the prestigious Mont Blanc International Triathlon being full and although she had never competed at swimming at all, the British international trail racer’s 2012 Duathlon Gold Medal to convince organisers to allow her a last-minute entry.

Having ‘survived’ the 1-mile swim in an eight-euro costume bought on the way to the race (whilst everyone else was kitted out with wetsuits in the extremely inclement mountain weather), Page unfortunately suffered a puncture only 50m into the cycling section of the race (on a bike bought on Ebay & picked up on her way to the Alps). After losing half an hour, the race was on (quite literally) to get to the start of the running section before the cut off time – a feat Holly managed with ease. Her subsequent, & extremely impressive 38m 10km run (not least on the back of a 45km bike ride, and a mile swim, took her well & truly back into the race. In fact, had she not had the puncture, Page would have finished 2nd. Not bad for a first attempt at a triathlon during a rest week!

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Summer Summits

Summer Summits had me a blast

It’s been an exciting summer for Calder Valley, both home and away. This week showcased our local talent again.

CVFR’s Holly Page continues to amaze us with her European exploits, winning first female in the Inferno Halbmarathon in Switzerland. This was Holly’s first vertical km race – which means it includes a 1000m vertical climb in less than 5k. The Inferno, lives up to its name and climbs 2,175m from the valley floor at Lauterbrunnen to the summit of Schilthorn/ Piz Gloria which features in a James Bond movie. It was a close run race, with top three women finishing within a minute of each other. Holly overtook her strong competitor with just 500m to go in the mist. That second bowl of muesli may have come in handy.

Martin Howard ran well in the Dales to finish 6th in the Home International U20 trials. He now has to wait to see if he’s earned an England vest – fingers crossed.

Martin Howard in the Home International U20 trials (Photo Credits Woodentops)

Closer to home, four CVFR made the brave border crossing into Lancashire for the Pendle 3 Peaks. With 865m climb over 9.4 miles, this Category AM fell race takes in the toughest 3 climbs in the area. Ribble Valley and Clayton-Le-Moors Harriers scooped up the male and female team prizes respectively. 141 runners took part. Well done to CVFR’s Mark Wharton (5th MV50, 30th overall), Stuart Russell (56th) Calvin Ferguson (57th) and Manhar Patel (96th).

CVFR gang at the Gargrave Show

With all to play for in the CVFR’s summer series, seven CVFR battled it out at the Gargrave show fell race.  With a record breaking field of 97, this short 5.6k race has 274m climb. Official results are not out yet, but it is reported in the Craven Herald that three Scots took the podium places. Well done to CVFR’s Jonny Croston who finished 6th. We will need to wait for Andy’s statistical update to confirm the Summer Series leaderboard as we go into the final race this week, the ominously named Golf Ball.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen Mcdonach

Turner Landscape Championship

The day we reached out to the Sun. 

It began in Africa, or maybe it was Pilgrims cross last Wednesday. This is a 10k course from Rossendale, with 330m. of climb to get the heart rate ascending too. 

First back for Calder was Roman Shoustov in 32nd place in 46 mins. Stuart Russell managed 52mins and Carole Fryer , first vet 50 in 56. Photos courtesy of Mick Fryer. 

First back for Calder was Roman Shoustov

Thursday evening was the two lap sapper, Dennis Stitt, from Cartworth moor hosted by Holmfirth harriers, packing 370m into 6km. Blair Garrett esq. referred to it as a nasty little blighter, with lots of random prizes to ease the pain. 

Carole Fryer recovered sufficiently to compete over in Trawden on Sunday at Boulsworth, another 10k race with 300m of ascent. Helen Buchan showed us there are still entry on the day fell races as she turned up to finish 2nd lady and 1st f40 lady, showing her strength as she lead the ladies up Lad Law. 

On Saturday Calders Doc Savage, John Allan, headed out onto the hills again after his Bob Graham success, to complete the Long Tour of Bradwell, taking in over 52 km and 2200m of the Peak District, including the Vale of Edale, Kinder, Win Hill and on over to Stanage edge. John crawled the last 15 miles home giving him plenty of time to consider entering again next year. 

Up in the lakes it was another big fight at the OK corral as the fell community merged on the Duddon Valley for the 5th race of the English champs at Turner landscape, an exhilarating route climbing up from Seathwaite tarn onto the fells of Grey Friars and Swirl How before scarpering to the Old Man of Coniston, standing at 803m. Then if you can dance across the rocky terrain you give it all you got until White Pike, to then drop, tumble, stumble and fall to finally reach the finish fields and fumble over the line. No pressure as the iron man, Joss Naylor (mbe, ocd) turned up to chat to runners and support the race, with proceeds going to Alzheimer’s research. 

Matthew Roberts , currently 8th overall (not many Welshmen can claim this) was first home in 13th in 1hr 28. He put his success down to his pre-race hydration. Next up was Tim Ellis who skipped up the climb and sailed over the rough showed a return to form 15th in 1hr 29. 

Super vet Shaun Godsman was voted man of the match as he pushed himself to finish 25th and first vet45 with compadre Gavin Mulholland in next in 30th. The open team was completed by an excellent performance from cvfr 1st year Mark Burton in 60th and the vets team too with Mark Taylor from over shelf way. If the vets were first team then they will have struck gold in the series. There were a few more red and white vests who also successfully finished, including Martin Howard, flying in the u23s, who turned his ankle and nursed it all the way home. 

Team Calder Valley Turner landscape

Next up is only the Ben Nevis, with local race Castle Carr the same weekend if you fancy navigating and waltzing the tussocks. 

And finally Holly Page continues with her success in the world sky scanners series finishing 13th from Sierre Zinal , Switzerland. At 31km and 2200m of accumulated height gain, it’s described as the fastest race of the series which I think permits the use of an exclamation mark. Holly stands 3rd overall in the rankings. Holly first raced here way back in 2007 and was glad to be back, fighting with the best runners in the world. 

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gavin Mulholland

Page continues ripping it up.

Calder Valley’s Holly Page was back in the UK this week visiting family.  She decided to do a couple of low key fell races as a warm up to the Sierre-Zinal mountain race in Switzerland next week.  The results show she is on top form with a good chance of a podium finish in Switzerland.

First up was the Whittle Pike fell race from Cowpe in Rossendale.  A short but steep midweek race that packs 1400ft of climb (and descent) in less than 5 miles.

Holly was 3rd overall, 8 seconds ahead of Todmorden’s Graeme Brown.  The race was won by James Kevan of Horwich RMI Harriers.

Calder’s Mark Wharton and Romans Sustovs battled for 23rd and 24th  place, and Calvin Ferguson was 54th.

Sunday saw the first running of the Saddleworth Round, a 17 mile yomp around the moors east of Uppermill, taking in Broadstone Hill, Dovestones Moss, Laddow Rocks before hitting the high point of Black Hill and a 5 mile gentle moorland crossing back to Uppermill.  Holly Page went two better than Wednesday night and won the race outright, despite taking an early detour to the Obelisk on Alderman’s Hill.  She beat Holmfirth’s Mike Fanning by 7 and a half minutes, setting the course record in hot conditions – perfect preparation for Sierre Zinal.

The team at the start of Saddleworth Round

As a counter in this year’s club championship a few other CVFR members ran at Saddleworth. Luke Meleschko came 7th in a shade over 3 hours; and new member Elliot Corner surprised himself by taking 11th place in 3:04:48.  Bill Johnson and Toby Sydes were 16th and 19th respectively around the 3 hour 20 mark.  Tim Brooks was 34th just under 4 hours and John Nunn was 44 in 5:09:30.

As one runner said at the end “Proper hot; fantastic route; great marshals and more cake and chips at the end than it would be physically possible to eat.”

And In France the legend that is Karl Gray won the ‘Trail de Megeve’.  There are 2 races one of 15k and 3000 ft of climb and 27k with 5200 ft of climb. Karl won the 27k race outright. An excellent result but not a surprise to us who know the calibre of the legend.

Karl on the top spot

Saturday’s Hellifield Gala race was also a short counter in this year’s Calder Valley Championship.  Perhaps because some were saving their legs for Saddleworth and some were on holiday, only two runners from CVFR took park, Johnny Croston and Karon Foster, both gaining the maximum 100 points.  Jonny in the open and Karon in the womens.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

100 miles anyone?

4 CV runners taking part in the epic Lakeland 50/100 mile ‘Ultra Tour of the Lake District’, renowned as the UK’s most spectacular long distance trail race. The circular route encompasses the whole of the lakeland fells, includes in the region of 6300m of ascent and consists almost entirely of public bridleways and footpaths. The route starts in Coniston and heads South before completing a clockwise loop which takes in the Dunnerdale fells, Eskdale, Wasdale and Buttermere before arriving in Keswick. From here it heads to Matterdale and continues over to Haweswater before returning via Kentmere, Ambleside and Elterwater to the finish at Coniston. It weaves its way through stunning valleys, coutours picturesque fells and cuts it’s own line through the amazing Lakeland topography. Some may consider that, with 40 hours available to complete this epic route, there is time to stop to admire the view but many competitors choose not to stop or sleep, challenging themselves to compete it in just over 24 hours. .

3 CV Ultra runners, Kevin Hoult, Simon Bourne and Johnnie Watson, completed the 100 mile route and Micheal Hyde and Dan Biggs opted for the 50 miler.  CV’s Ultra legend Simon Bourne is familiar with the route having completed it successfully last year and finishing 8th overall. But this year he went up the leaderboard finishing 4th overall and 3rd male in 24:11:41. And if that wasn’t enough, his running buddy Kevin finished 3rd overall (2nd male) in an impressive 23:30:01. This was out of a field of over 400 runners. Said Simon:

‘Kevin and I both started the race steadily in around 20th place then moved through the field to finish 3rd and 4th respectively. We’re both delighted to have achieved our best ever result in the UK’s toughest single day race, which involves a 105 mile loop around the Lake District fells. . Weather conditions were challenging with hail, rain and strong winds which meant only 50% of the 420 competitors finished within the 40 hour time limit’

Kevin Hoult and Simon Bourne Lakes Ultra

Johnnie Watson was 41st in 23:04:54. The 50 mile guys, Michael Hyde and Dan Biggs, came 25th and 221st respectively.

Earlier this week, Instead of the usual pack run last Tuesday, club members gathered by Overden windfarm in the blazing heat to  take part in the annual CVFR Summer handicap, keen to take on the challenge and the chance to experience that ‘winning sensation’, regardless of ability. The relentless heat had diminished the legendary waist deep bogs but the tussock ‘killing fields’ were still out in force.

CV handicap line up

Rather than the usual mass start, the handicap race has staggered start times, with each runner allocated a starting time based on their performance in recent races. In theory, everyone should finish together but this is seldom the case with all runners putting in extra effort to beat their club mates. 42 determined CV runners, including 5 juniors, took part in the 6.6 mile route across the moor to High Brown Knoll and back, encountering difficult tussock terrain as they went. Ellie Eady was first over the finishing line. Said the ever modest Ellie:

Ellie handicap winner

‘I was really surprised to have won and would like to thank my running mate Eileen for her encouragement and support’

Ian Symington was the fastest runner (52:10) with club newbie Natasha Butterfield the fastest woman (59:51). Joe Hobbs was the speediest junior finishing in an impressive 59:08.

Ellie prize giving

Runners at Saturday’s Turnslack race, this year in the club’s championships, experienced bizarre weather conditions and a very random prize haul. Renowned for it’s gruelling tussocks and fern bashing fun, the route goes from the hill from Calderbrook Church, Littleborough then off along the main path to Watergrove Reservoir, before branching off over the moor which leads to an up and down of Hades Hill. This is followed by a hard push on the long ridge to Trough Edge End with two tough climbs then approaching in quick succession.

This year, the race had hardly begun and then the heavens opened and the hail started in earnest. The racers retreated to find cover as what seemed like sniper fire attacked from above. Those hardy souls at the front continued with the winner going on to break the course record. Tim Ellis was 2nd with Gav Mulholland 1st v45 in 5th place. They were joined by Jonny Croston in 9th and Paul Haigh in 11th to win 1st male team. Catherine Holden  was 2nd woman home and claimed a prize of strawberries for her effort  whilst Steve Smithies got his Lambrini for being 2nd v50. CV’s prize haul ranged from toilet paper to wagon wheels and a pump rocket.

CV Prize haul Turnslack

Meanwhile, in Switzerland…..

6 CV lads (Mark O’Connor, Ben Frechette, Iain Powell, Jon Smith, Nathan Kennaugh, and Richard Ingram) were spotted at the start line of Trail du Velan , a 13.7 mile D+ category  race of epic proportions (6,600ft), last weekend. Iain Powell sums up the event:

After limping to the start line, hampered by his ongoing battle with the dreaded plantar fasciitis, Mark O’Connor shot away through the town of Bourg-St-Pierre. Giddy as a kid in a candy store, he led the 150 strong field into the woods to begin the first climb, an energy sapping 4600ft to the Monastery at Valsorey. O’Connor was slowly reeled in by the relentless Jon Smith. Smith, worried about overheating was benefiting from the purchase of an extra large white running cap the night before the race. It worked, he extended his lead over O’Connor to 5 minutes before topping out. 

Further down the field Ben Frechette, delighted with the way the Swiss were pronouncing his surname, was helping Iain Powell overcome some debilitating bouts of vertigo. As the climb went on the tables turned and it was Powell helping Frechette up the last scramble to the monastery, where they were met by marshalls drinking prosecco at 3000m. 

Nathan Kennaugh, fitting in wonderfully with his European cousins had invested in some some racing poles. He used these with great effect in his battle with Richard Ingram, managing to get the better of Bert as they hauled their way up to the Monastery.

Back at the front of the race, the happiest man on the mountain, Mark O’Connor set about the first decent to the glacial valley of La Gouille. Using his massive quadricep muscles O’Connor narrowed the gap to his nemesis Jon Smith only to see Smith power away up the second climb to the checkpoint at the precipitous Petite Velan. A quick refuelling stop before re-tracing his steps and starting the long descent to the finish saw Smith and O’Connor passing each other in opposite directions. Exchanging customary insults whilst passing it became clear that the gap was large and O’Connor’s chance of being first CVFR home almost gone. Cramp just 2 miles from home put an end to his very slim chance. Smith finished an impressive 15th overall in 3hrs 41mins. O’Connor 20th in 3hrs 53mins.

Meanwhile Fresshay and Powell’s temporary alliance was over and hostilities were resumed. Feeling strong on the second climb it was Powell who pushed on to Petite Velan, reaching the checkpoint two minutes ahead. He turned for home and started the long switchback downhill section hoping to hold off the now marauding Fresshay who was gradually closing the gap. Powell’s lead was down to less than a minute when cramp hit. Fresshay, struggling to stifle a grin as he check on his comrade, now had the advantage. With his Frog Graham training in his legs he slowly eased further ahead of Powell. Fresshay finishing 43rd in 4hrs 20 mins and Powell 48th in 4hrs 23.

Kennaugh and Ingram were approaching Petite Velan, engrossed in their own tussle, as the weather turned. An Alpine thunderstorm moved in, the heavens opened, thunder and lightning crashed all around the CVFR pair and Kennaugh panicked. Realising his racing poles were the perfect lightning conductors he stopped to stow them in his racing pack and Ingram made his move. Nimbly moving from boulder to boulder Ingram’s lead grew. Both remaining CVFR team members finished soaked to the skin, Bert 73rd in 5hrs 8mins and Nathan 85th in 5hrs 25mins.

Many locals commented on how magnificent the lads looked in their red and white hoops, showing their continental compatriots how to run as a team. A night out in the French ski resort of Chamonix followed, of which there will be no written report.

Trail du Velan is fairly low key as European mountain races go but is exceptionally well organised, runners receive a huge amount of support and encouragement en route, it is extremely challenging, technical and even terrifying (for some) in parts. It comes highly recommended.

Switzerland gang getting ready at the Trail De Velan 2018

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

Fell Frog Frechette

Frechette makes the Frog Graham Round roll of honour:

Even the 3AM start from Keswick didn’t deter CVFR’s Ben Frechette from his Frog Graham attempt, over the weekend of 16th-17th July – a challenge that is as much about navigational prowess as physical endurance. Contenders have some choice over their route around the 40-mile run, as long as they visit all the numbered summits, islands and other features (including ascending and descending 15,750ft), clock in at all water entry/exit points (so swim across Bassenthwaite, Crummock, Buttermere and Derwent water) and carry all necessary kit etc. themselves.

Ben Frechette Swimming Bassenthwaite

Despite the Lakes being infamous for their inclement and changeable weather, Ben was lucky to only experience one wild moment on Red Pike in wind & cloud, and skilfully completed this formidable and unforgettable challenge in an impressive 16 hours & 31 minutes. As with any endurance event, the support of friends and family was key to Ben’s success, and he is keen to emphasise the role played by his personal “Frog Chorus” (his Dad, Katie Rowlands, Jane Frechette, Gavin Roper and Richard Ingram).

Ben Frenchette and part of his support crew

International News:

Holly Page (Photo credit: Philipp Reiter0)

Sunday, 22nd July saw CVFR’s Holly Page once again competing in a Sky Run Marathon – this week in the stunning Dolomites range in North-eastern Italy. This week’s extremely technical 22 km race included 10 km uphill, 12 km downhill, and an eye-watering vertical climb of 1,750 meters to the highest point at Piz Boè (3152 meters above sea level) swiftly followed by an equally steep descent with scrambling sections for 12 km. Holly ran another strong race to finish 5th female and score a further 54 points towards the world series. The CVFR and GB runner currently tops the Sky Classic female leader board and ranks 6th female overall in the Migu Sky run world series (with ranking based on up to five of the best runs for each athlete over the series). A pretty outstanding set of results, especially considering Holly only joined the series ‘for a jolly’ and is the only top runner on the circuit still working alongside racing.

Holly Page (Photo credit Albert Jorquera)

A huge welcome to Peter Maksimow, CVFR’s latest international signing and the second member of the US trail team to join the West Yorkshire club hoops – following in the footsteps of fellow American (& Colorado State native) Chris Grauch who joined Calder Valley last year.

Photo 6: California running legend Peter Maksimow, sporting his red & white hooped vest, at the bottom of Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs.

And closer to home …

Sunday 22nd July also saw CVFR & Yorkshire legend Karl Gray add to his impressive trophy haul, winning outright the Holmfirth Harrier’s Holme Moss fell race. Veteran runner Karl made the tough 25.5km, (including 1285m of climb) race look easy. Despite the heat, he even came close to beating his own course record time from five years ago of 2 hours 33 minutes & 19 seconds.

Calder Valley Men’s team came second – just pipped to the men’s team prize by Pennine – with impressive runs from Ian Symington and Jonny Croston, who battled down to the line for a place in the top 10. 11th place Jonny (who cycled 20 miles to get to the race!) commented that although on the tops there was a mist that kept the temperature ‘bearable’, the last 4-5 miles were ‘hard going’ in the heat, especially’ the final scramble up the last climb and the long straight road to the finish’.

Karl Gray with his trophy at Homme’s Moss fell race. Credit Philip Wells

Other noteworthy results from the red & white hoops this week included Carole Fryer running a strong race to finish first V50 female at the Townley Park 10k on Sunday 22nd and the CVFR end of term junior’s summer handicap on Tuesday 19th July. This latter is a race with a difference, with runners ‘handicapped’ according to their racing acumen over the year. The 2018 edition saw a tight race for first place between Rafe Dobson (1), David Ritchie (2) & Owen Whyton (3). Coming in fourth overall, U9 Clara Mckee yet again gave both the younger girls and boys a run for their money with another fantastic result. Several of the older juniors will now pit themselves against CVFR men & women on Tuesday 24th July, in the Senior Summer Handicap – a bog-tastic event where anyone can be a winner – as each competitor’s start time is determined by their race times over the year, as runners converge for a final mad scramble across a field of tussocks deep enough to swallow grown-men whole to see who will reach the finish line first. Based on previous years, one or two of the CVFR juniors may even be in with a chance of lifting a senior trophy.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones