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

Martin Howards’s 1st U23 at the English champs

Kate Burge ‘Sea to Summit’ English Championships Fell Race

CVFR Youth and Experience triumph in the ‘Sea to Summit’

Martin Howard continued his winning spree on Saturday to finish 1st under 23 in the Isle of Man’s Kate Burge ‘Sea to Summit’ English Championship Race (32nd overall). The race’s strapline is “It will be hard…. good…. that means it’s worthwhile.”

CVFR’s Mark O’Connor, Martin and Bob Howard relaxing after ‘sea to summit’.

Martin was part of a dedicated Calder Valley contingent (which included his dad, Bob) to take on the 14k Manx challenge, with 1200m ascent, 6 control points, an obligatory dip in the sea and culminating in a summit finish at 2036ft.

270 runners took part in the ‘Sea to Summit’ which is held in memory of a keen and accomplished local fell runner, Kate Burge, who was tragically killed in 2014, while cycling home from work in the Isle of Man.

CVFR’s Mathew Roberts put in a great performance to finish 6th overall in a time of 1 hour 20 mins.

Karl Gray led the CVFR vets, with 1st Vet 45 (12th overall, 1:21h), followed by Shaun Godsman (2nd Vet 45, 18th overall). Mark Taylor and Stephen Edwards ensured Calder Valley took 4 of the 5 top places in the over 45s.

CVFR enjoying fellfest after Sea_to_Summit

Tim Ellis and Mark O’Connor finished 19th and 46th overall respectively. Stephen Morran was 3rd Vet 60 (83rd overall) and Bob Howard (perhaps the only father and son running?) finished 19th Vet 55 (174th overall).

Keswick AC had a good day in the Isle of Man with top two finishes for the men, Carl Bell (1:15h) and James Appleton (1:17h) and first woman, Hannah Horsburgh (1:31h).

Wasdale ‘Horseshoe’ Fell Race

Helen Buchan does more than her bit on Wasdale

CVFR’s Helen Buchan put in a storming run in the heat of the Lakes to finish 1st Ladies Vet 40 in the mighty Wasdale ‘Horseshoe’ Fell Race.

Helen Buchan 1st LV 40 at Wasdale

This 21.1 mile, category AL race, with over 9000ft of climbing (that’s 430ft per mile!) is not for the faint hearted, but pays dividends for those who make it through the 8 checkpoints including Great Gable, with the last climb being Scaffell Pike!

Helen described it as “THE best race in the calendar…what else can you ask for in a fell race?” In blistering heat, the Wasdale runners were told to carry their own water due to lack of rainfall in recent months. Helen said “we all set off with at least 1.5 litres, making one of the toughest races in the calendar even tougher!

If this wasn’t hard enough, a condition of getting a finishing time this year was dependent on picking up an item of litter. This was to make amends for the litter concerns last year (when Wasdale was part of English champs) which had placed the race in jeopardy this year. Helen went above and beyond, picking up an empty tin of Mackerel. Who has a tin of mackerel up a fell on a boiling hot day?!

CVFR’s John Allan ran the Wasdale race too, an incredible achievement only five weeks after completing his Bob Graham round.

BOFRA – Alva Games, The British Championship Hill Race

It was a busy Saturday with two CVFR runners also venturing up to Stirlingshire in Scotland to race in the Alva Games, British Championship Hill Race. With 1200 feet of climb in just 1.6 miles this race is charmingly described as “a hill that gets steeper and steeper as the summit is neared, with the addition of thorny gorse and a muddy gully as obstacles.”

Ben Mounsey finished fourth and reflected on “A VERY tough day at the office! I had to settle for 4th place at the famous Alva Games in Scotland this afternoon. Struggled on the climb and never got going from the start – you win some, you lose some! Alva is such a good race though and worth it for this photo. Huge thanks to both the BOFRA and Alva games organisers and congrats to deserved winners Josh Boyle and @kirst_hall #alvagames #BOFRA #inov8 #getagrip #gseries #fellrunning.”

Ben Mounsey BOFRA Alva Game Scotland

Congratulations to Stephen Smithies, who put in a great run at Alva Games to take 1st Vet 50 (13th overall).

Stephen Smithies 1st Vet50 Alva Games Scotland

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

Summer Series

A big week for Calder Valley Fell Runners’ Summer Series with three races taking place within 5 days.

Stoodley Pike was the first race held on the 3rd July.  Calder Valley’s Martin Howard took a well-deserved first fell race win here, after a series of five second places.  His club mates knew it would happen sooner or later and were really chuffed for him that it happened at such a historic, long-standing race.  U23 Martin was nearly a minute ahead of second placed Neil Crampton (Pudsey and Bramley) in 20.26.

oby Sydes, Catherine Holden, Richard Sunderland, Liam Williams

Don Ashton Memorial Tockholes.

Organised by Calder’s Calvin Ferguson, the race is a fast blast round the trails surrounding Darwin Moor and the Jubilee Tower.  Seven Calder runners headed over the border last Thursday evening.  With a record field of 143 runners, Calvin was pleased with the turnout, particularly as Don Ashton was his grandfather, and a local running legend.

Calder Results

16          Stephen Smithies             41:34
27           Lee Shimwell                     44:07
57           Toby Sydes                         47:50
64           Daniel Baron                     49:22
65           James Cooke                     49:33
88           Carole Fryer                       55:10
93           Tim Brooks                        55:41

Steve Smithies at the Don Ashton Memorial

Heptonstall Festival.

Well done to Pudsey & Bramley’s Joe Baxter on setting a new Festival course record in a sizzling 46:39; an outstanding performance given the withering heat and blazing sun. Sun hats off too to Tod Harriers Annie Roberts for her scorching 57:39 victory in the women‘s race, her second win this week.

Calder Valley’s Ian Symington revelled in the heat, coming in 7th place.  Along with the in-form Toby Cotterill (10th) and Matt Ray (11th) Calder Valley Fell Runners narrowly took the men’s team prize by 2 points from Wharfedale. 

Christina Turner at Heptonstall

Christina Turner continues her improving streak as first woman back for CVFR and 6th woman overall. Todmorden Harriers took the women’s team prize.

106 runners set off – most of whom came back to the post-race celebrations at The Cross, all rounded off by a Nightjar beer, Heptonstall music festival, and football watching. Memorable stuff, particularly the photographers, Dave and Eileen Woodheads’ England World Cup tunes forming the backdrop to the race summit at High Brown Knoll.

Top Summer Series points go to James Cooke, the only Calder Valley runner to complete all three races.

Moel Siabod

Four Calder Valley Runners headed for a weekend in Wales and decided to tackle the Moel Siabod Fell Race.  Starting from the Moel Siabod Café in Capel Curig the race goes through the woodland before heading up the ‘generally runnable’ 872 metre high Moel Siabod.  Catherine Holden was first V40 woman and Liam Williams also had a good run.  Results still to be published.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

Heat wave

The heat wave was not a deterrent for the CVFR endurance runners this weekend as they took on The Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon, a two-day self-sustained mountain navigation race, that is held annually in the Lake District for pairs and experienced solo entrants, starting at the village of Grasmere. 

Going solo was legend of the compass Bill Johnson, showing off his trophies (and blistered toes) said “I played it safer because my feet were in bits, literally.  I was surprised and delighted to hold on to 3rd place and almost get 2nd… I guess everyone was suffering!

Bills beautiful feet!

In the pairs, Jackie and Phil gave each other a break, teaming up in male and female pairs respectively.   Amazingly, provisional results show Phil and partner Mark Ryde were 1st in   their class in a total time of 11.41 mins with Jackie Scarf and Debbie Ryde 6th overall and 2nd  ladies vet team. 

On Wednesday evening there was a large turn-out for church run race, Cragg Vale, with organiser Jackie Scarf very grateful for the £500 raised. 

Happy CVFR at home in the nearly dry marshes of Sunderland pasture

The no-see-ums (midges)made their presence felt as did Martin Howard who raced to second on the evening along with lots of other red and white hoops. 

Martin Howard and crew (2nd from the left)

In the BOFRA races, Ben Mounsey made a fiery return to the fells after injury coming first at the Kirkby Gala event.  Recovering after, Ben said he was seeing flamingos and needed a lie down. 

Bens Vulcan mind meld recovery exercise

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gav Mulholland

Plenty racing to go around

Many CV runners swapped their usual Tuesday night training for the Bridestone race last Tuesday. This short but steep course goes past the famous Bridestone and takes in some of the lesser used paths in the upper Calder Valley. With steep climbs, fast tracks and demon descents, it has something for everyone. Lee Shimwell and Jo Stevens were first Calders back and the club secured both the women’s (Jo Stevens, Barbara Lonsdale and Jackie Scarf) and men’s (Lee Shimwell, Luke Meleschko and Jonathan Moon) Team prize.

Jo Stevens Bridestone (Photo: Ruth Thompson-Davies)

Then on Thursday, all eyes were on the setting sun to acknowledge the passing of the Solstice. And what better way to celebrate than to run up to High Brown Knoll to watch the sun vanish over the western horison, surrounded by friends and good banter. A new feature in the clubs Fun Runs, 2018 was the first Summer Solstice event and joins the more established winter solstice run as organised by the club’s solstice guru’s Tamsin and Jim Cooke. Always a good turn out, this year was no exception with 20 CV runners keen to race the sunset across the moors.

Last Saturday saw 9 CV head to the Lakes to join the elite field competing in the Darren Holloway Buttermere Horseshoe. A 2018 English and British championship counter, this race is one of the toughest Lakeland races in the calendar and makes a fantastic day out over the quiet Buttermere fells. At 22.2 miles with over 8,300ft climb, this isn’t for the faint hearted. CV’s Karl Gray was first MV45 home in an impressive 4 hours 10 minutes. Matthew Roberts was second CV home in 04 hours 13 minutes. Carl Bell from Keswick was overall winner in 03 hours 45 mins with Todmorden’s Annie Roberts first lady in 04 hours 50 mins.

Solstice runners

In awe of the Welsh 3000, a classic 24 mile fell challenge involving traversing all 15 mountains over 3000ft in Wales, from the Summit of Snowden to the summit of Foel-fras with 10k feet in between, a group of CV runners set off last weekend with a mission to complete it in less than 12 hours, whilst raising vital funds for charity.. Paul Haigh takes up the story:

 “We planned this a few months ago. But last month my Dad suffered an aneurysm of his artery and has been receiving palliative care in a Marie Curie hospice since. The care and support they give in here is amazing and they rely almost solely on donations to provide the £100m they spend on care each year. Our hope was to raise £100 per mountain, but whatever we raised is a drop in the Ocean compared to the care and support they give to every family in need of their help.” Their day started with a 5.15am alarm call in order to make the 3000ft walk to the top of Snowden – just to start the challenge. And 10 and a half hours later when the summit of Foel-Fras was reached it didn’t stop – they still had a 3.5 mile run back to the car!

Paul continues “In the end it was the sort of day you dream about. The sun shined high with wall to wall blue sky meaning breath-taking views could be soaked up in every direction. There was also little wind, which meant the knife edge of Crib Goch – notorious for Mountain Rescue – which was in the back of everyone’s mind was managed without incident. What made the day extra special though was running it which such a special group of friends, and all the support we had behind us, from Emma Smyth, a Calder Valley emigrant based in Snowdonia who volunteered to be our support for the day, to each and every one of the very generous donors that have helped raise almost £1500 for Marie Curie”

Team CV on Welsh 3000. L- R Toby Cotterill, Paul Haigh, Emma Smyth, Ian Illstone, Dou gie Zinis, Andy Wright on the summit of Foel-Fras

Elsewhere, Carole Fryer bagged another scoop for CV picking up the VL50 prize at the Sabden Trail race on Sunday.

Carole Fryer at Sabden (photo: Mick Fryer)

And on the international scene, Holly Page continued her repertoire of impressive wins, coming first in the Monte Rosa Sky Marathon in Italy. Said Holly:

‘Scaling a glacier was a bit different to racing in the Calder Valley… my legs are totally fine the next day but my arms and chest were  so sore from using poles for the first time and I’ve burnt all the skin off my elbows using them as brakes sliding down!’

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Dill Dickson

Ladies Day for CVFR

Ladies Day for CVFR at Buckden Pike:

Saturday 16th June, CVFR ladies showed they were made of winning stuff at Buckden Pike – a Category A fell race comprising 6km & 486m ascent, which this year featured particularly dreadful weather, including hailstones of Biblical proportions. Despite this, over 60 individuals turned out to race, & CVFR’s women put in a strong performance with Helen Buchan first female V40 & Charlotte Wetton first female V35. Catherine Holden’s coming in second woman in the Vet 40 category sealed the deal for the red & white hoops, & saw them also take the overall ladies team prize. For the men, Martin Howard once again ran well, finishing in overall 6th place in 40:08 & Paul Haigh put in a strong personal performance to place overall 11th & second in the men’s Vet 40 age category.

 some of the CVFR competitors post race.

Bofra’s Kettlewell on Sunday 17th June may only be 1.4 miles, but it packs a punch for the distance: with an incredibly steep 600ft slippery of ascent, following by an even more treacherous final descent. In the end, only a few blades of grass separated many of the 98 competitors, with Toby Cottrill fighting all the way to the finish line to be the first red & white hooped runner home (15th place in 14:08). Fellow CVFR, Stephen Smithies was hot on his heels (runners 15-20 finished within five seconds of each other), placing 18th overall & winning the men’s Vet 50 age category. For the juniors, it was equally tight at the finish. In the U14s, 10 seconds made the difference between 8th & 12th place, with CVFR James Duffy finishing a respectable 12th in 11:17.

Making Extreme Mountain Marathons Look Easy:

Saturday 16th June also saw Calder Valley’s Holly Page once more competing internationally in the 5th race in the 17th Migurun Skyrunner World Series – a series of extreme races which all take place at above 2,000 metres (6,600ft), with an incline exceeding 30%. This week saw runners compete in the 34km (2,700m of vertical climb) Livango race on the Italian-Swiss border – Page finished a very respectable 5th place in a strong women’s field with an outstanding time of 4h 24 minutes & 23 seconds.

Photos Holly Page – credit Albert Jorquera (Skyrunning World Series)

After the race, the England international runner commented that whilst it had been ‘tough’ going, she had nonetheless ‘loved’ ‘running through the snow’ and ‘along the awesome ridges’ – she feels it is a ‘privilege’ to be able to not only race but also be able to ‘admire the stunning mountains all around’, which serve to not only make her ‘happy’ but also to ‘wake up’ the competitor in her – as can be seen by the current statistics: a relatively unknown quantity going into the series, Page is currently 2nd woman in Classic category & 3rd overall woman – a full 57 points ahead of the female runner in 4th place) – a strong position going into next Saturday’s Monte Rosa SkyMarathon (Europe’s highest race).

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

British Champs 2nd Counter

From Hebden to Howtown via Tal y Mignedd

With three club championship events this week, it was a busy week for some Calder Valley runners.

The CVFR hoops were out in numbers for the Todmorden Harriers, iconic ‘Thats so Hebden Bridge’ Fell Race on Tuesday night. Will that new name stick?

CV group at Hebden Bridge finish

Making up one third of the entrants, 38 CVFR runners lined up, on a hot, Hebden evening, from the most experienced club runners to six plucky first timers. Many more club members were out on the course cheering them on (Photo 1: Some of CV Group at That’s so Hebden Bridge).

Starting and Finishing in Calder Holmes Park, this category BS, 10km classic route climbs 350m to Stoodley Pike then back via Erringden Moor, with a variety of terrain.
A new course record (40.30 mins) was set by Chris Holdsworth from Clayton-Le-Moors.

First back for Calder valley were U23 Alistair Pedley (9th overall) and Christina Turner (3rd female overall). It was also a good night for CVFR vets as they made off with great prizes donated by local businesses: Christina Turner (1st Female Vet 40), Jackie Scarf (1st Female Vet 50). Mark Wharton (1st Vet 50), Jonathon Emberton (1st Vet 55), Andrew Davies (1st Vet 60). Our first-time fell racers also enjoyed the celebratory post-race refreshments at Macpelah 

CV recruits L-R Natalie Rachel Lisa

Proceeds from the Hebden Bridge race will be donated to Khalsa Aid who did so much to help the town in the aftermath of the 2015 Boxing Day floods.

Howtown Heat and Thunder
Ten CVFR runners made the 100-mile journey to Howtown near Ullswater for the Howtown, a 21.4km Category AL fell race

Catherine with team mates

L-R, Phil, Mark, Catherine, Tim, please insert name, Jonny at Howtown start).

This year saw a record-breaking field of 100 runners

100 entrants Howtown start

Described as an “enjoyable route in the far eastern fells” it has 1415m of climbing with a steep start up Loadpot Hill to the summit of High Raise, with scenic views down to Patterdale. It ends with the cruel ‘sting’ of Hallin Fell climb near the end.

In blistering heat, followed by a thunderstorm, Jonny Croston was first Calder Valley (17th overall), followed by Phil Wells (21st overall)

Jonny Croston 1st CVFR in thunderstorm at top of Hallin Fell, Howtown

Despite some impressive knee strapping, Catherine Holden put in another fine performance as first CVFR female (5th female overall), taking the first female Vet 40 accolade (Photo 7: Catherine Holden with team mates at the start). Summing up the day with other club runners by the lakeside, Catherine reflected on a “cracking fell race with a restorative swim at the end, but a lesson in route choice and not to follow the crowd.” Could this become the ‘new favourite fell race’?

Eggs and Beer at Tal y Mignedd – Club and British Champs
Over in Llanberis, Wales, intrepid Calder Valley runners also took on the short, out and back, 6.2k Tal y Mignedd, Category AS fell race this weekend. A British and club Champs race, this route is reported to feature a ‘violent ascent of 1800ft in just over a mile’ (can this be true?), with a kamikaze descent.

CVFR Math Roberts Photo Credits SixBySevenPhotography

Gav Mulholland reported Calder Valley success with 2nd place in the open team (Matthew Roberts, Gav Mulholland, Andy Swift, Karl Grey and Tim Ellis) and first place in the Vets category (Gav Mulholland, Karl Grey, Mark Taylor, Mark Burton). Eggs and beer were the prizes!

Claiming third Vet 40 spot, Gav Mullholland was quoted as saying “I hated the journey, but loved the race.” Ben Mounsey was 39th, after a great climb he suffered injury on the descent.

Weets Fell Race, Saturday 9th July
In a record turnout of 206 senior runners at the Weets fell race, Helen Buchan put in a fantastic performance to finish 2nd female.

Helen at Weets Fell Race

(Helen Buchan at the Weets Fell Race).

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

Ultra Fells

The Bob graham. The legendary 42 summit circuit of the Lake District to be completed in 24 hrs. Sir John Allan and his crack team of fell runners set off from Keswick to climb Skiddaw Gt Calva Blencathra before leg 2 up Clough head and many more mountains such as Dollywagon Bowfell Scafell Pike, Pike o stickle, kiirk fell and other pythonesque names before the final, Robinson. The training all paid off as John finished in around 22 hrs 😌 After the event, whilst in a state of delirium, John may have proposed to his fiancé which he will no doubt contemplate when he regains consciousness.

At the LAMM (Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon), a 2 day navigation and overnight camp on The Isle of Harris, veterans Jackie and Phil Scarf were first in their age group with Barbara Lonsdale and Jo Buckley First Ladies pair with the whole event, including the weather, in top form.

On to shorter stuff with the 50 mile Cannonball Calderdale way ultra. It’s starts off rough (Todmorden) and ends bad (Tordmorden) but the rest is beautiful taking in Blackshaw head, Heptonstall, Wainstalls, bits you would rather not run, and then onto North Dean Woods, Norland, Cragg Vale and Stoodley.

Carolyn n Harley CW ultra 2018

Calder Valley annihilated the rest by winning in several categories starting with Kevin the bolt Hoult who went under 8 hrs setting a new course record and winning. Kevin put his success down to choosing this over a day of diy at home.  The club also picked up team prizes in the paired categories with Carolyn Shimwell and Harley Beecroft the winning ladies and Dougie Ziggy Stardust Zinis pairing with Luke Meleschko and Ian illistone with Luke putting in a strong sole effort at the end. Lee Shimwell also completed the course, as the Joker from Batman (with that Jimmy Hill grin).

Lee Shimwell CWU 2018

The short stops: Gavin Mulholland took on the home internationals on the slopes of the Howgills finishing 21st and 2nd for Northern Ireland, missing out on a bronze by a single point to Wales

And in Europe in Slovenia, Ben Mounsey came 5th v35 in the World Masters Mountain race. Ben is delighted to be old enough now to battle with the best. He said “It’s the greenest place I’ve ever been and the cleanest place I’ve ever been,  It has HUGE impressive mountains and breathtaking scenery. Loved it. I’ll be back.’

At Pen-y-ghent, Darren Kay was third and first vet 40 in 51 minutes.

Martin Howard chased some of the top names in fell running at Coniston Gullies, coming fifth. Super vet Dave Hammond was 29th and second v50. Will Hall was second in the under 14s. 

Holly Page continues to excel in the World Skyrunning series and lies second overall.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gav Mulholland