Lee’s Paddy

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The last week of May & first week of June may include a school & a bank holiday, but there’s no break in the fell running calendar – with plenty of races to choose from.

PB Round:
For Calder Valley runners, the most epic of this week’s races was without a doubt the Paddy Buckely. Along with the famous Bob Graham in the Lakes and Charlie Ramsay in Highlands, the PB in Wales makes up the third of the UK fells three ‘big rounds’ – & is recognised the hardest, due to its terrain. On 1st & 2nd June, CVFR’s Lee Shimwell & Karl Grey took on the this 100km & 47-summit run, looking to finish in the arbitrary 24-hour time challenge.

PB Round – before setting off

Thankfully given the atrocious weather for the first 14 hour of their attempt at this monster round, unlike the Bob Graham, runners do not have to finish in one full day & night. In the gusting gales, sliding over wet rocks with zero visibility & persistent rain, Shimwell described how his he almost gave up half way round, but his ‘fantastic CVFR support team wouldn’t allow it’, partly he suspects due to having camped all night in a deserted quarry high in Snowdonia. They kept him going, finishing the full route in a very respectable 26h & 39 minutes. Less that one day later, Shimwell commented that he was just ‘extremely pleased to have got round’, although having not met the time challenge he ‘might have to try again!’ However, he was also quick to observe that he could not have even got around the full round without the fantastic support he received from all involved.

With many Calder runners in Wales offering support on the Paddy Buckley round, only eight CVFR runners braved the early morning drive over to Rossendale, where the Edenfield residents’ association sponsor a fell race with a great prize haul.

Some of the red & white hoops before the race – courtesy of Mick Fryer

The 10.3km race begins its 477 miles of ascent from the off, with a quick climb at the start up to the moors. This year’s weather made running across the moors a challenge in itself for the 136 competitors – between cold showers & baking heat, without even taking the steep technical descents and vicious sting in the tail of 200m climbing in about 200m of the course just 2km from the end.

Paul Haigh was the first red & white hooped runner home finishing 18th overall (& 4th in the MV40 category) at 52 :25. Completing the first three home & just pipped the men’s team prize by Rossendale, Andy Wright & Rob Rawlinson (third in the MV45 category) had a real sprint finish to the line, with only six seconds between them as they crossed it, in just under 55 minutes a-piece.

Fellow MV45 runners Jonathan Lees & Tim Brooks also ran strong races – both finishing in the top ten in their age category. In the women’s, another strong race from Carole Fryer say her finish 5th woman overall & 1st in the LV50 category. Elina Eady also finished first in the LV40 category & Eileen McDonach ran strongly to finish in the top 5 LV45.

Elaine Eady – courtesy of Mick Fryer

On bank holiday Monday, 27th May, the Austwick Amble attracted 169 runners, including 10 CVFR. In a fast race, where the course record was broken by Tim Stratton (City of York), Calder Valley’s Jonny Croston ran brilliantly, to finish in just a shave over 55 minutes, finishing 10th overall & 5th in the MV40 age category. With good runs from red & white-hopped MV40 runners Luke Meleschko & Rob Rawlinson (13th & 16th in their age category), CVFR men took first team prize. Toby Sydes also ran strongly, finishing 9th in the MV50 age category. For the ladies, Catherine Holden ran strongly to finish in 1:10 the top 5 women’s vet 40 & Carole Fryer had another strong outing, finishing 4th in the MV50 age category.

On Thursday, 30th May, the popular local race That’s So Hebden Bridge took place with 120 runners overall – over 1/5th of whom (24 competitors) wore red & white hoops. CVFR’s Alasair Pedley ran an outstanding race to finish 3rd overall (only two seconds behind the second placed runner), taking 2nd in the men’s under 23 category behind winner Wharfdale’s Robin Howie, who also beat the existing course record. Luke Meleschko ran a second strong race in as many days to finish 14th overall & second in the MV40 category, with Liam Williams finishing 7th in the open male category (16th overall) to see CVFR win the men’s team prize again.

Rob Rawlinson & Liam Williams – courtesy of Mick Fryer

There was also a slew of 2nd & 5th places in a number of categories for the red & white hoops: Taking second place in their respective age categories were Mark Wharton (M50), Natasha Butterfield (W35), & Jonathan Emberton (MV55), Carole Fryer (W50) & Stella Chrisanthou (W45). In fifth place were CVFR’s Rob Rawlinson (M45), Darrren Earnshaw (M45) & Toby Sydes (M50).

Other note-worthy finishes included Johnie Watson (9th MV45); Anthony Costello (8th MV50), Graham Lloyd (8th M55) & Lawerence Fenelly (10th M50), Jocasta Fletcher (4th W45), Gill Dickinson (5th W45), Tamsin Cooke (7th in the women’s open category) & new recruit James Halliday – running his first fell race – who crossed the line in the top 25 in the men’s open category.

Natasha Butterfield – courtesy of Mick Fryer

 

On Sunday, 2nd June, saw a couple of hardy CVFR runners travel up to Coniston Gullies – a BOFRA championship race. Dreadful weather and an unforgiving short, steep course with a very difficult sheer-drop descent including a scree section, meant lots of slips and trips. Charlie Ing & Stephen Smithies flew the flag for Calder Valley senior runners, finishing 4th & 17th overall – 1st MV50 for Smithies. Given the conditions & the technical difficulty of the course, CVFR’s junior runners also raced exceptionally well. In the U12s race, Ollie Pickens finished 32nd overall (23rd boy) & Fearne Hanson crossed the line in 41st place (12th girl) & were just happy to come home in one piece!

The Juniors at Conniston

Further from home, CVFR’s international runner Holly Page, on the mend from the broken foot that saw her have to forfeit running for her country earlier this year, is back to racing again. With three outings in just over a week, on Sunday 26th May, Page competed in the prestigious Gamperrney Berglauf in Germany. At 1,000+ meters of climb for just 9km, this race packs a serious punch – not least for only the second week back running after a serious injury. Page finished an outstanding 3rd in a very competitive women’s field (the trial for the Germany national team) – in a time that would have won the race the previous year. Then on Saturday 1st June, this time in Switzerland, Page took on the half-marathon trail race Cuors da Flims, which she likewise stormed round – finishing the 21km in under 1h45 minutes, taking not only first place but also the women’s record for this distance.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Midweek Fell Racing

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Blackstone Edge Fell Race saw Calder Valley out in force to take on this short (3.5 mile), but steep (1200 ft) local course. With valuable points up for grabs in the club championships, there was a lot to play for.

Blackstone edge (Credits Smith Photography)

Calder didn’t disappoint, with Darren Kay and Martin Howard running 1st and 2nd spot as well as being part of the winning first and second men’s teams. Natasha Butterfield, Catherine Holden (running this race for the first time) joined and Carole Fryer to win First Ladies team.

Martin Howard Blackstone Edge (Photo Credit Mick Fryer)

Calder’s hard efforts were rewarded with a range of coveted, if somewhat unusual prizes with Martin Howard winning a frying pan, Stephen Smithies, a watermelon and Elina Eady a set of ski goggles. Andy Wright, showed his dedication to the sport, running in his work clothes, but may miss out on full championship points for flouting the club vest rule

Meanwhile, at the back of the pack, an early, but strong contender for Calder Valley ‘Navigational cock-up the year award’ was on show, with one novice Calder runner missing the turn and heading back up the hill for a second ascent. Just goes to show, even in a local race, it always pays to recce!

Further afield, Calder’s elite travelled to Blaenau Ffestiniog for the Ras y Moelwyn Fell Race as part of the British Championship series. Billed as  the ‘best fell race in Britain’, this iconic race takes in the peaks of Moelwyn Mawr, Graig Ysgafn, Moelwyn Bach, and Moel yr Hydd. With stunning views, and 800m of ascent, the 15km route is reported to have it all – rocky ascents, fast trails and grass descents, even a bit of mud.

Gavin Mulholland was first back for Calder Valley (24th overall) followed seven seconds later by Adam Osbourne. Strong performances put them in a great position for V40 men’s team prize with Shaun Godsman (49th overall) making it three top ten finishers in the V40 category.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

Watsons Rovaniemi 150

Rovaniemi is a city in northern Finland that sits on the arctic circle. Every February there is a series of races that start on the frozen river in the city. The races are varying distances of 66, 150 and 300 km and you can compete on fat bike, ski or foot. It’s a similar format to more famous races in North America like the Iditarod Trail Invitational and the Yukon Arctic Ultra. The Rovaniemi races however are more accessible, cheaper and relatively safer, and as far as I am aware the only such races in Europe.

I have long taken an interest in races such as the Yukon, so was keen to enter the Rovaniemi 150 when the opportunity arose. To enter the 300 km race, you must have winter arctic experience, unfortunately the Spine race doesn’t count. It cost 300 euros with another 30 euro to hire a pulka, which is a small sledge that you pull behind you with all your kit in. You can put your kit in a backpack, but this makes you heavy and more likely to sink in soft snow, it also makes your back sweat, which then freezes and causes problems. I had contacted lots of people that have experience in these sorts of races and moisture management is a key consideration. The average low temp on previous races has been about minus 20 to 25 but the record low in Rovaniemi was minus 45. There is a bare minimum of mandatory gear, just lights and sleeping system., but your sleeping bag must be on their approved list. I spent the summer buying cold weather gear and training for pulling a pulka. I pulled an old car tyre round a 10-mile circuit between Hardcastle crags and Walshaw dean reservoir, which ended up being quite realistic training and hilarious to anybody who saw me.

I flew from Manchester on the Thursday before the race. John Minta was supposed to come too but he was still injured after putting his all into finishing the Spine in 5th place. It was minus 28 the Thursday night, unfortunately the race weekend was forecast to be warm. It was the weekend in Feb when the jet stream bathed Europe in warm air from the Azores. The race brief on the Friday made a lot about the weather and how it would make the underfoot conditions soft and difficult and would increase the chances of overflow. (when water from the lake or river your running on comes to the surface and turns it to slush, in cold weather it freezes before this happens).

The race started on the Saturday morning. It was a clear with bright sunshine, it looked fantastic. Everybody starts at the same time, so it was crowded, there were more entries this year than ever. The First 10 km great, snow was still frozen but as the day warmed up the snow got soft. The fat bikers ,who shot off at the start, were struggling most with the soft snow as they have to get off and push. Everybody struggled on the first lake as there was lots of overflow. I was keeping pace with a Spanish 66km runner, and decided to give snow shoes a try. Never used them before and I don’t think they helped, probably only of benefit if its soft powder that you sink in. The Spanish runner had pulled away so I took them off after an hour, never used them again.. They daytime temp got up to about plus 2, I was in shorts and long sleeved top. I had a windproof jacket that I put on and off to regulate my temp. On my feet I had a pair of goretex trainers with metal spikes in the bottom, over the calf sealskinz and mini gators, my feet stayed warm and dry. After a great sunset the temp dropped but it only got down to minus 8. I just put on a pair of windproof trousers and wool hat and gloves which was just enough.

The route follows a big loop through the forest north of the city. It starts and finishes on the river, and goes over numerous lakes. There’s plenty of forest tracks that become endless tree tunnels at night by headtorch. These also a 20km ice road section, I was glad for the spike on my trainers. The check points have a fire pit and water and not much else. Some have a lean to for sleeping and the one at halfway is in a log cabin. I didn’t stop much, only to take on water and rearrange kit. I took some cheese and ham sandwiches wrapped in foil that I would warm by the fires and then eat on the go (great tip). I carried water in flasks, there was plenty of hot water at check points. I ran most of it alone but kept passing the same 2 runners at the check points, a Finn and an American. They were faster than me but stopped for much longer. I did run with an Italian 300km runner for a bit who looked very strong, the 300km racers does the same 150km as I did then go off on a different 150km loop. I passed her at the last checkpoint, she was taking advantage of the fire, as the second 150 loop has no checkpoints and is totally unsupported. The Finn had passed me on the last lake and the American lady passed me on the last 10km stretch of river, by which time I had no running left in my legs (running on soft snow aint easy). I finished in 29 hours 37 mins in 7th place, which I was more than happy with. The first runners came in on 23;15. And the first fat biker did just under 12 hours. The Italian was first runner in the 300 km.

Great race, well organised with the minimum of mollycoddling, it was just so different to anything I had done before, I was just hoping for much colder weather. The landscape is beautiful, especially at night, the locals are friendly in their own “to the point” way. Including flights and accommodation it probably cost the same as a Spine entry. I am hoping to go back and do the 300 km in 2021.

:Johnie Watson

CW Relay and Ultra Beasts

The Calderdale Way Relay was held last Sunday.  A six stage, off road race around the district’s boundary, with each stage run in pairs.  It’s the Country’s largest off road relay with 1200 people taking part.  Calder Valley Fell Runners have won the race in 4 out of the last 6 years so were hotly tipped to win again.  There has been stiff competition in recent years from the Wharfedale and Barlick teams.

CVFR C team, B team and Ladies team at the sa=tart of Leg 2, Hinchcliffe Arms

The men’s A team made a fast start with Tim Ellis and Andy Swift finishing leg 1 at Cragg Vale two minutes ahead of Barlick and four minutes ahead of Wharfdale.  Old man Shaun Godsman and young buck Martin Howard came into Todmorden still ahead but Wharfedale had closed the gap to two minutes.  Both teams had dropped Barlick by this point and it was now all to run for between Calder and Wharfdale.

Johny Croston and Pual Haigh (with Baton) CWR leg 4 Jerusalem Farm

The short, fast leg 3 to Blackshaw Head was next and Wharfdale just overtook Calder’s James Louge and Mark O’Connor at the end to start leg 4 with an eight second lead.  Wharfedale now played their joker, top runners Sam Watson and Ted Mason who pulled away from Calder’s Johny Croston and Paul Haigh to take the lead by more than 7 minutes at the Wainstalls handover.  Mark Taylor and Mark Burton couldn’t catch Wharfdale on the leg to Shelf leaving wonder pair Karl Gray and Gavin Mullholland 11 minutes to make up on the last leg back to Copley.

Putting in the fastest leg 6 of the day Gray and Mullholland only managed to pull 3 minutes back and CVFR had to make do with 2nd place this year.  Wharfedale 6 hours and 23 seconds for the 50 mile loop and Calder Valley Fell Runners 6 hours, 8 minutes and 53 seconds.

Calder Valley Ladies were 8th women’s team and 71st overall with Natasha Butterfield and Helen Buchan putting in a strong anchor leg to come 27th overall.  The men’s B team came in 17th place with Dougie Zinnis and Steve Edwards 5th place on the short fast leg 3.  Zinnis’s recent Bob Graham Round hasn’t slowed him down.  Calder’s mixed C team were 74th with Andy Wright and Blair Garrett 45th on leg 3.

Ultra Trail Snowdonia

The previous weekend Andy Wright and Ian Illstone took on the challenge of the Ultra Trail Snowdonia described as “Beautiful Beyond Belief.  Savage Beyond Reason.” This 50 mile (85km) route has 5,100m of climb.  A vertical parkrun.  The race was a counter in Calder Valley’s Ultra Championships.  The expected finish times reflect how this compares to regular 50 mile runs.  The winner is expected to come in around the 12 hour mark, with most finishers taking more like 20 hours and some 30 hours to complete the course.

The route start in Llanberis at 5am, takes in a few hill before heading up Snowdon.  For the first time.  A few more hills to Bedgellert and a long runnable stretch before a final climb up the rocky Y Lliwedd and onto Snowdon for the second time.

Andy’s knee started hurting fairly early on in the race but, eschewing the trekking poles of most other competitors, he found a suitable stick which helped him along nicely.  Illstone and Wright ran together the whole route, finishing shortly after dusk in 17 hours 28 minutes and 50th place.  The winner was Josh Wade in 11hours and 20 minutes, a new course record.

Sedburgh

In the senior race Calder’s Darren Kay and Charlie Ing were 2nd and 3rd behind Mercia’s Simon Bailey, winner of the recent Coiners Race.  Steve Smithies was 12th and 1st V50 with James Louge 13th.

Old Counties Tops

The Old County Tops Fell Race covers 37 miles and involves around 10,000 feet of ascent.  The exact distance and amount of ascent are dependent on the route you choose!  The Race starts in Great Langdale and takes in the tops of Helvellyn, Scafell Pike  and Coniston before returning to Great Langdale.  Calder Valley’s John Allen ran the route in 8 hours 51 minutes.  That mustn’t have been hard enough for him as the next day he ran the 13 mile route of the classic Langdale Horseshoe in 3 hours 30 minutes!

Howard takes top spot

The week saw a packed and busy itinerary for both CVFR juniors and seniors, ranging from 3.3 miles to 62 miles. In the offing was a mid week run in Todmorden (the Orchan Rocks), the junior Lothersdale race, a Bob Graham round and the popular club race, 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 Martin Howard was the overall winner with a time of 22:31 Said Martin: ‘This is a great little race and I’d love to come back next year to try and take the course record’ 

Martin Howard, Orchan Rocks winner (photo: Mick Fryer)

And another name is to be added to the club’s Bob Graham Round plaque. Dougie Zinis put in a sterling effort to complete the BG challenge in an incredible 20 hours 27 minutes. The BG is an infamous fell running challenge in the Lake District. This gruelling 66 miles route, involving 27,000ft of climbing over 42 Lakeland peaks requires a completion time within 24 hours to make it into the BG hall of fame. Supported by a number of CV team mates, Dougie appeared remarkably refreshed and at relaxed at the end of his incredible feat.

Dougie Zinis, with some of his CV support crew (L- R Andy Swift, Dougie Zinis, Ian Glendinning and Martin Howard)

Other achievements over the Bank Holiday weekend included Nicki Latham and Jocasta Fletcher securing 1st Ladies team prize on the bike/ run 2 day OMM lite on Cannock Chase. They biked 37kms and ran 24km, whilst navigating, over the 2 days.

Coiners Fell Race, organised for the first time by Stella Chrisanthou, 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 Simon Bailey from Mercia in 44:12. CV’s Natasha Butterfield (2nd lady), Trudi Entwistle and Rachel Johnstone took the Women’s Team prize. It’s clear where junior speedsters Clara and Thomas McKee get their running genes from as mum, Trudi Entwistle, flew round the course finishing 3rd lady. Mark O’Conner was first CV home.

Coiners Women’s Team winners: (L-R Trudi Entwistle, Natasha Butterfiels, Rachel Johnstone)

Last Tuesday saw the first of the club’s ‘Have a Go’ session. This is an opportunity for people to have a go at fell running and sample the delights of CVFR club. The club welcomed at least 15 new people, all keen and eager to experience the joys of fell running. The next Have a Go session is on Tues 14th May, 6.45pm at Mytholmroyd Community Centre. If you can run at least 3 miles, just turn up with grippy trainers and your biggest smile. For more info contact gillhdickson@gmail.com

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

7 in a row

This weekend is a busy one in our local runners’ diaries – and a bumper one for CVFR results – with a couple of the year’s much-anticipated races taking place, at various corners & ends of the British Isles.

On Saturday, 27th April, CVFR was out in force at the 65th Three Peaks race. This event – advertised as the marathon with mountains – with its 23.3 miles starting at Horton-in -Ribblesdale and includes an eye-watering vertical mile of climbing, as runners take on the three peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. One of the oldest races & most famous races in the fellrunning year, despite the wild weather conditions, 670 runners (10 from CVFR) still finished the course.

Impressive running from Calder Valley’s Karl Gray saw him finish 8th overall in a time of 3:05:51 – retaining his First Vet runner trophy for an amazing fourth year in a row and a 7th time in the last eight years. There were also strong runs for fellow CV MV40 runners – with seven finishing amongst the first 50 Male Vet 40s to cross the line, including Mark Burton (64th overall, 17th MV40), Jonny Croston (70th, 19th MV40), Paul Haigh (89th, 24th MV40), Jon Smith (137th, 41st MV40) and Luke Meleschko (171st, 49th MV40). Dan Masden was the first in the open male category to finish the race in four hours, finishing 150th overall (78th in his category).

3 Peaks – Karl Gray Credit-Dave Woodhead

Sharing Ingleborough and Whernside with the Three Peaks, the Fellsman is a gruelling 61-mile ultra around the fells of the Yorkshire Dales, taking in Gragareth, Great Coum, Blea Moor, Great Knoutberry, Snaizeholme, Dodd Fell, Fleet Moss, Buckden Pike, and Great Whernside – to total a whopping 11,000 feet of ascent.

This year’s 57th Fellsman race took place from Saturday 27th to Sunday 28th April and was also well attended by Calder Valley. Red-and-white hooped top ultra runners, Kevin Hoult and Simon Bourne led the way – finishing 8th & 10th respectively, with Bourne delighted to finish in the top 10 for an impressive 9th time. Both commented on how the difficult weather conditions had made this overnight race even more challenging than usual. Other CVFR male runners to finish this monster race included John Allen (30th), Johnnie Watson (72nd). In the women’s race, Calder Valley’s Linda Murgatryod and Jackie Scarf both ran extremely strongly to finish in the top ten. It was also something of a baptism of fire for the club’s two newest ultra runners – Eileen McDonach & Ellie Eady – who finished 203rd & 204th overall – an amazing achievement bearing in mind that they had, by the end, been on their feet for 26 & ½ hours.

In the Scottish Highlands, also on Saturday 27th April, CVFR’s Melvyn Ward was one of 647 runners to complete the tough Highland Fling – an ultra trail marathon along the West Highland Way, Scotland’s oldest official long-distance footpath, through the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Ward – who placed 542nd in his first attempt at what he characteristically referred to as ‘a longer distance with some bigger hills’, completed the 53-mile course in 13h 42 minutes & 46 seconds, describing it as ‘a great experience but for the weather’, namely driving rain for most of the day meant which saw him soaked by the end of his first climb, & going through three pairs of gloves & needing to dig deep to finish this latest ‘adventure’, despite incredibly sore knees. Nonetheless, Ward was quick to point out that all of the above serves to make finishing all the more satisfying – it was worth it for the scenery alone, especially the view of Loch Lomand and the deer & squirrels in the forest section. On his way home, Ward was already talking about having another go at the race next year & thinking forward to the Pennine Barrier Ultra 100 in June!

Mel Ward at the end of the Highland Fling

Over in Northern Ireland, Saturday 27th April was also the date for The Mourne Highline race – the Northern Ireland leg of the British Championship – a race put together specifically by the organisers to offer just over 15km or race through some of the highest places in the Mourne mountain range – including everything from grassy climbs, to rocky descents & airy ridges. In a field of over 200 highly talented runners, and a race that proved even more of a test than usual, given the wild, wet & windy weather conditions, CVFR’s Matthew Roberts ran brilliantly to finish 4th overall (3rd in the men’s open category) – in 1:04:32 – only 1 minute & 15 seconds behind the winner, Mark Lamb of Keswick AC. Fellow red-&-white hoops runner, Charlie Ing, also ran another strong race to finish in 1:08:33 – 15th overall (9th in the men’s open category) in a race he described as something of ‘a leap into the unknown’ as his first race predominately on stone. Other notable runs from club members included Shaun Godsman, who came in 33rd overall & 5th in the MV40 category in 1:12:49, plus Mark Taylor, James Logue & Toby Sydes who finish 42nd, 45th & 151st overall respectively.

Further South, two CVFR ran the iconic London Marathon on Sunday 28th April for charities of their choice. Mark O’Conner, running to raise money for research into dementia, did amazing well to come back from injury last year and finish less than 9 minutes over the challenging three-hour target he had set himself for this race. Michelle Hanley, running for the Nehemiah Project, finished in 4:17:56 (Photo – Michelle Hanley with her medal).

Michelle Hanely – London Marathon

Last, but not least – & the only race to be run in fine conditions – Wharfedale Harriers hosted the final instalment in this year’s Easter bunny runs on Penistone Hill with the infamous Bunny Relays on Tuesday 23rd April. 66 teams and 3 individuals competed for glory & chocolate & the dry conditions made for some fast times with two teams breaking previous records (in the girls U15 & the female V40 categories). Howsons Pickles (Seth Howson, Charlie Pickens & Oliver Pickens) finished 24th overall & first boys U13 team. Three of the red-and-white juniors, running as the ‘Stripy Vipers’, Elijah Peers-Webb, Alex Duffield & Ed Ademavicius finished 29th overall, just pipped to the post by CVFR’s Stephen Smithies family team (Duck Billed Deer Otter) in 28th position (4th family team). Finally, Carole Fryer & Colin Duffield ran in the Odds & Sods team with Brett Muir & finished 50th overall.

Howsons Pickles – Bunny Run – credit Dave Woodhead

Easter Heat

Beating the Easter Heat at the ‘new’ Newlands Memorial

Mark Wharton and Darren Earnshaw flew the flag for Calder Valley at the newly named Newlands Memorial Fell Race.

Formerly known as the anniversary waltz, this popular, but tough race was held each year to commemorate Wynn and Steve Cliffe’s wedding at the Newlands Valley church. Steve sadly passed away last year and Cumberland Fell Runners stepped in this year as race organiser to ensure this, and the seven other classic senior and junior fixtures, held on the same day, continue. By all accounts, CFR did a great job. In blistering, unseasonable Easter temperatures, 354 runners lined up to tackle this category AM race over 11.4 miles with 1,100 metres of climb.

Rob Jebb took first male spot in a time of 1 hour 40 minutes and Sharon Taylor first female (12th overall) in 1 hour 54 minutes. Darren Earnshaw was first back for Calder (92nd) closely followed by Mark Wharton (103rd).

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

How… Gray smashes the Howgills

Bunny Run 1

The Bunny Runs are a series of four fell races held on consecutive Tuesday evenings after the clocks change in the spring.  The course is a sinuous but fast 3 mile route around Penistone Hill outside Haworth.  The first one this year was on the second of April and, as a counter in the Calder Valley Fell Runners Senior Championship, several runners headed over the moors to take part.

However the Juniors stole the show with Under 15s Elijah Peers Webb first back for CVFR in 22nd place in 19 minutes precisely shortly followed two places later by James Duffy in 19:14.  First Calder female back was U15 Emilia Wright in 23:01.  First Senior was Elina Eday in 24:31 shortly followed by first Calder man, Colin Duffield, in 25:31.

Michael Malyon of  Baildon Runners won in 16:16, with U15 Amelie Lane of Wharfedale Harriers first female in 17:48 and a superb 9th place.

English Champs – Howgill Fell Race

What a monster! With nearly 7000ft of climb in just over 14 miles this was never going to be an easy race as the first long counter in the 2019 English Fell Running Championships.  The finishing times give away the severity of the climbing, the winner Carl Bell completed the 14.3 miles a couple of minutes under 2 and a half hours.

The route takes in all the major hills in the southern half of the Howgill Fells.  Starting in Sedburgh runners ascend Crook followed by the flanks of Arant Haw, the col between the Calf and Calders, skirting the top of Cautley Spout, the highest waterfall in England at 650ft before ascending Yarlside.  A super steep 1300ft descent was taken by most runners sliding on their backsides before climbing Great Dummacks followed by Sickers Fell, a second visit to Arant Haw before the final climb of Winder.  Bear in mind that between each hill top the course dropped to a valley bottom.

Karl Grey was first back for CVFR in 8th place and 1st V45 in 2 hours 34 mins and 38 seconds.  Another top notch performance from Grey.  Darren Key was 29th and Adam Osbourne 40th.  New recruit Charlie Ing was 96th in 3 hours 16. 

Calder’s only woman to complete the course was Helen Buchan in 3 hours 50 minutes.  The womens race was won by 2017 English Champion, Victoria Wilkinson of Bingley, 21st place overall in 2 hours and 44 minutes

The relentless course took it toll with Jonny Croston swearing he would never do the race again.  Over 10% of the field did not finish.

Full CVRF Results

8th        Karl Gray            M45      02:34:38

29th      Darren Kay         M45      02:47:54

40th      Adam Osborne  M40      02:51:27

78th      Mark Taylor       M45      03:07:02

81st       Mark Burton      M45      03:08:02

96th      Charlie Ing          MSEN    03:16:34

129th    Paul Haigh          M40      03:28:00

155th    Jonny Croston   M40      03:35:54

196th    Helen Buchan    W40      03:50:05

213th    Mark Wharton  M50      03:54:39

278th    Toby Sydes         M50      04:28:16

304 finishers, 37 rtd

Harry wasn’t pottering around at Pendle!!!

On the lovely slopes of Pendle Hill and with great fell running routes CVFR juniors did battle for points in their next club championship race. There was some spell binding results for our racing snakes. First up was the under 9s and Harry Cliff yet again impressed with another win in a time of 3 minutes and 14 seconds. In the same age category his younger sister Lottie, who’s only recently started fell running, ran well to place 18th and 5th girls overall.

Hotly contested was the under 11s with Clara McKee taking 2nd overall and first girl in a time of 4 minutes and 29 seconds with Joseph Stone chasing hard only 5 seconds behind her to take 3rd overall and 2nd boy. Sam Annison is running well taking 11th in 4 minutes 55 seconds, 17th place and fine run from Leo Hackett in 5 minutes and 10 seconds with Ted Parker in 25th place a further 20 seconds behind.

In the U13s George McFie had an excellent run in 7th place in a time of 14 minutes 46 seconds to take full club championship points. 10th place for Charlie Pickens in a time of 14 minutes 54 seconds with Thomas McKee putting in a good time of 15 minutes 19 seconds to take 12th. Younger Pickens called Ollie was 23rd in 16 minutes 15 seconds and 40th place for Wynn Standish in 17 minutes 22 seconds. In 66th place and 24th girl but showing true fell running grit was Olivia Falkingbridge who struggled the end of the race in 24 minutes 26 seconds after twisting her ankle. This was all to get her club championship points.

The U15s saw Tom Owen having one of his best races to date placing 6th overall in a time of 19 minutes and 41 seconds. An ever improving Elijah Peer-Webb was 9th in 20 minutes and 6 seconds with Emilia Wright in 27th and 10th girl in 23minutes and 35 seconds.

In the senior’s race Trudi Entwhistle was first back for Calder in 88th place and 2nd v40. Chris Holdsworth and Catlin Rice, both of Ribble Valley Harriers took the honours overall.

Full Calder Senior Results

88          Trudi Entwistle  F40        00:43:35

129        Stuart Russell    M40      00:47:41

172        Gillian Wisbey   F40        00:52:36            

186        Vanora McCullagh          00:54:59

210        Steven Binks      00:59:57

232 finishers

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

Heptonstall a firm favourite


Stephen Grimley flying down a hill-wearing No.50 in honour of his 50th – credit:Dave Woodhead

Heptonstall – Sunday, 24th March 2019 is a big day in the local fell racing calendar, with the 15.4-mile, Heptonstall Fell Race. This event packs a punch and runners need navigational skills alongside plenty of stamina to make it around a course that is only partially flagged, and includes steep-sided wooded valleys, upland pasture and pathless moorland, thick heather, deep bogs and a lung-busting 3170ft ascent.

Heptonstall start – credit: Dave Woodhead

The consensus was that it was a beautiful day for a race with some brutal climbs, and stunning views that would take your breath away (if you had any left after the gruelling climbs!), but that it was all worth it for the post-race black treacle flap jack!

A firm favourite with Calder Valley runners, this year, the race attracted runners from all over the North, beating its previous record entry by far, at an amazing 290 runners.  It was a hotly fought battle for first place – Phil Marsden (Horwich RMI Harriers)’s finish time was the 3rd fastest recorded over nine 9 editions, but he finished only seconds ahead of second placed, Robin Howie of Wharfedale Harriers. Dark Peak’s Max Wainwright came in not far behind in third place, with a record 10 runners managing to come in under two hours (including CVFR’s Martin Howard in 7th place overall), demonstrating the quality of the field. Strong runs were also recorded by CVFR’s Jonny Croston (27th overall – 8th in the MV40 category) and Iain Illstone (42nd).

CVFR runners at the start line – Credit: Dave Woodhead

In the ladies’ race, last year’s winner Annie Roberts not only retained her title against a much larger field – but smashed her 2018 time by 22 minutes! 2014 and 2017 winner Jo Buckley also raised the bar to beat her 2017 winning time by 14 minutes; not to be out done Nik Terrega (2nd lady in 2018) upped her game by 17 minutes to finish 3rd. CVFR’s Buckley, who was also the first Female Vet 40 over the line – nearly two minutes faster than the next same category runner, was delighted with her result. Having spent most of the race nearly catching the nearest runner on the uphills only to lose her again on the downhills, she reports being a bit surprised when I managed to chug past into 2nd place towards the top of Shackleton knoll. I then just had to contain my excitement and position to the finish!’

The first three ladies & CVFR runners at the start – credit: Dave Woodhead)

All proceeds from the race (around £2,500) will be donated to the Scouts, Church, and Calder Valley Search and Rescue. In addition, having noted a few stiles on the route in need of repair (already down or damaged before the race), the race organisers are looking to make a donation to CROWs – Community Rights Of Way Service – a voluntary organisation with an interest in ensuring that local Rights of Way remain accessible.

This year’s event also had special significance for veteran race organiser, Stephen Grimley, who after 9 years of fronting this homespun event, was able to leave it in the capable hands of friends & neighbours (aka ‘The Hurriers’) and take part in a course he had heard so much about over the years.  Delighted to don red & white racing hoops & celebrate ‘going over the hill in style’ Grimley ‘loved every minute of it’, with ‘the icing on the 50th cake being taking a bow to a chorus of happy birthday from the gathered masses’.

Other significant Calder Valley results over the weekend included a number of shorter races; Darren Earnshaw’s came 7th in Storthes Hall Park Run, Ben Cliff’s improved on previous results with 6th in the Halifax Parkrun and Elliot Corner placed second in Centre Vale’s park run. In addition, CVFR newcomer, Charlie Ing came an impressive first place at Helm Hill – a race just short of 5 miles – part of the Kendal Winter League series races – Ing finished over a minute in front of his nearest competitor, with a fastest time recorded for any runner on every segment of the race – definitely making him one to watch for the future.

Saturday 2rd March also saw Junior Calder Valley runners Charlie Pickens, George McFie, & Tom Owen competing at the National Minor Schools Cross Country Championship, outside Loughborough. In a field approaching 200 in a race run at a cracking pace, CVFR provided more than a quarter (3 of 11) of the West Yorkshire Team, with the boys finishing a noteworthy 81st, 111th, & 126th respectively.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Howarth Hobble

The February heat wave was firmly extinguished as the weather decided to give the 300+ competitors (solos and pairs) an even greater challenge at the Haworth Hobble on Saturday, as if 32 miles off road wasn’t sufficient.

Calder Valley was well represented and first back, 15 mins off the winning time was Kevin Hoult in a time of 4hrs 37 mins, 5th overall. Kevin has completed the hobble several times and has been awarded the keys to the city for his efforts.

Next to return, just under 5 hours was John Allen who said the course was a bit flat for his liking. And only 3 mins later, Michael Hyde returned to the fold.

The first Calder females to complete was Jackie Scarf as part of a F50 winning pair. First solo back was Elina Eady, out sprinting her rivals to finish in 7hrs 17 mins. The final CVFR home, and still drying out, was Carolyn Shimwell, and Diane Wright in a time of 8.31, with no coffee breaks permitted.

CVFR – Howarth Hobble Dou, Carolyn Shimwell and Diane Wright

Calders map men were showing the rest of the country how to orienteer with Welsh champion (m55) Phil Scarf taking the honours at the Northern championships, with his fellow cartographer, Jonathan Emberton taking 2nd place in their age category

CVFR Navigating Masters

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gavin Mulholland