Short and Long

Stanbury Splash:

On Sunday, 13th January, Wharfedale Harriers hosted 93 juniors & 254 senior runners for their annual Stanbury Splash Quarry Runs & Soreen Stanbury Splash. Given the atrocious weather conditions, all who raced should be commended – with runners struggling to stay on their feet in the driving rain & gusting winds.

Even the junior competitors’ quarry races were unusually blustery, so much so that CVFR’s rising star Harry Cliff, described how he opted to let the runner who eventually came second go in front of him, so he could shelter behind him from the wind, until the final climb (see photo 1). At that point, Harry stormed ahead to take first place in the under 9’s boys’ race. 

All of the CVFR juniors who raced ran well, especially Emilia Wright who finished first U15 girl and Ted Parker (see photo 3), who placed an impressive 11th in his first race after moving up to the U11 age category. Finally, Sam Annison, who was aiming for a top 5 finish, may have come in 7th, but this was despite losing one shoe in the false start & the race starting without him (the other runners having misheard ‘no’ for ‘go’ set off without him). Sam deserves credit for not only getting his shoe back on but battling his way back into the race to finish so well!

The Soreen Stanbury Splash senior race is never one for the faint hearted: the 6.7-mile course features 1200ft of climb & inevitably sees runners finish extremely wet & muddy after circuiting around the upper Clough & Stanbury Moor, without even taking the stormy weather and incessant rain into account.

The lady’s race once again belonged to CVFR’s Holly Page, who clearly demonstrated why she has been revealed as one of 2019’s (Facebook Fast Running click here) “Fast 10” to watch in the next 12 months (Fast Running Link Click here!). Holly finished the course in under 55 minutes – 15 places in front of second placed lady, Annie Roberts, and in the top 15 overall. Red & white hoops Jo Bukley also ran a strong race, finishing in just over an hour, to place second in the female v40 category.

Holly Page – credit Mick Fryer

Montane Spine Race

As per last year, dot watching has become this week’s CVFR obsession, with three of the club’s ultra-runners taking on the Montane Spine Race – one of the world’s toughest endurance races. A truly epic event, which really does do as billed – testing competitors’ physical resilience and mental fortitude to the limit.

Simon Bourne was the first red & white-hooped runner to compete, running in the 108-mile Spine Challenger race, from 12th-14th January, along the Pennine Way from Edale in Derbyshire to Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. Simon described how the weather probably made this year’s race into the ‘toughest’ he had ever experienced, ‘with the gale-force winds on the hills making forward progress a constant battle’. Nonetheless, this race holds a ‘special’ place in Simon’s heart, given that is goes past his home in Slack Top, meaning he can get ‘great support from family and friends’.

Simon was pleased with a 4th place this year, despite being down two from his second place in the 2018 race, given the stronger field of competitors. In fact, he credits keeping ‘speed up, in spite of the extremely inclement conditions, to the blistering pace’ of the winners’.  Some would argue just as impressively, after running over 100 miles in challenging conditions over two days, Simon even made it into work on time on Monday morning!

Simon Bourne – Official Spine Challenger photo

The Spine Challenger race is followed by the full Spine race. This latter started on Sunday 13th January & continues for a week, taking in the entire 268 miles of the Pennine Way/. Bill Johnson & John Minta are representing Calder Valley this year and were still going strong at the time of writing.

Racing in the Peaks:

Saturday, 15th January also saw CVFR runners competing at two very different races in the Peak District. First, Stuart Russell, Darren Earnshaw, Iain Illstone & Dougie Zinnis, took part in the Trigger Fell race – a 32-km (19.9-mile) race complete with 1650m / 5413ft  of climb, in what Stuart ironically described as ‘wonderful’ Peak District weather that had even experienced runner Darren acknowledging this as the ‘toughest’ race he has run to-date.

Dougie, following a remarkably quick recovery from a gruesome injury at Lee Mill Relay that saw him needing surgery, was the first red & white hooped runner over the finish line, placing 13th in the men’s open race at just a sliver over 5h. Dougie describes how the runners ‘set off in rain and it never stopped’, but despite this, the gale force winds in general & the hail on Kinder, he had great fun and a ‘cracking race with some good nav sections’. His advice to all would-be competitors is to avoid falling into the trap of following ‘the legs in front’ of you – which cost him 30 minutes at the end. He is already looking forward to next year, when he plans to ‘keep to’ his race plan and ‘make amends’ for this year.

The second Peak District race on Sunday was Hayfield Fell Races’ Lambs Longer Leg Fell Race. Whilst shorter in distance at only 5km (3.1 miles), with ‘only’ 290m (95ft) of climb, this race involves tough & varied terrain & requires considerable skills in navigation, even before adding the howling wind & driving rain into the mix. 70+ runners braved this tough little course and a storming run by Stephen Smithies, flying the flag for CVFR, saw him finish not only first in the MV50 category but also fifth overall in 31 minutes, 34 seconds. (see photo 7)

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

Happy New Year 2019

Auld Lang Syne, 31 December 2018
As 2018 closed, ten CVFRs joined a packed field of 327 for the traditional Auld Lang Syne fell race starting at Penistone Hill Country Park. With bagpipes ringing in their ears, fancy dress, and the promise of a bottle of Daleside Beer, runners set off on this 6.7 mile/1000ft course which takes in Top Withens, Ponden Clough and Stanbury Moor.

Mark Wharton (43rd) was first back for CV with Stephen Smithies (46th) and Lucy Collins (51st) finishing within a minute of each other.

Stephen Smithies and Jo Buckley at the start of Auld Lang Syne (credit Dave Woodhead)

Jo Buckley was not far behind (61st) and joined Lucy in top 10 women finishers.

Lucy and Jo among top ten women at Auld Lang Syne (credit Mick Fryer)

Gill Dickson also made a triumphant return to Auld Lang Syne, 18 years after her very first fell race! All that running has paid off as she finished well up the field (a massive improvement on joint last in her first outing in 2000).

Gill Dickson enjoying her historic return to Auld Lang Syne (credit Dave Woodhead)

Calder Valley runners appeared to forgo the fancy dress option, but it was, at times, hard to spot the familiar red and white hoops among the rival ‘Where’s Wally’ costumes.

Linda Hayles in Auld Lang Syne with rival red and white hoops (credit Dave Woodhead)

Ribble Valley completed the double with first man (Chris Holdsworth) and first woman(Nicola Jackson).

Giants Tooth 1st January 2019
It was a tense start to 2019. Calder Valley’s Martin Howard did well to regain time after getting lost in the 3 mile Giants Tooth Fell Race to finish fourth (in 17.31 minutes, just 20 seconds behind the winner). Martin was leading by a good margin before taking a wrong turn. However, he quickly made up for lost ground, to get back from 7th to 4th. He wasn’t the only one to go wrong as several other runners suffered the same fate.

It was, however, a good start to the racing year with four CVFR top 20 finishers at Giants Tooth (Howard (4th), Elliot Copper (13th), Jonny Croston (15th), and Paul Haigh (19th).

Showing tremendous resolve, having run the Auld Lang Syne the previous day, Stephen Smithies and Lucy Collins, finished 26th and 27th respectively, with Lucy taking first woman prize. CVFR’s Holly Page was 3rd woman, finishing 62nd.

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Eileen McDonach

Winter Break

‘Twas night before Xmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, except for le fellrunner, busy gathering it’s vest and kit bag, ready for the next big race. And over the Winter break there were two or more such events. 

Tristian Sheard – Coley Canter (Credits Woodentops)

Gales nor sprouts could stop folk attending “The Coley Canter” held by Northhowram pumas on Saturday 29th. The course uses lots of trails and paths around the woods of Shelf and Norwood green. Calders Holly Page was forced to reveal herself after winning at the previous race (whinberry naze) dressed as a Christmas present. It was a grand day out for the Page family as brother Ben took the win, with Holly next home in 56 mins (1st lady and 2nd overall) and Mum Hilary taking the f55 title. See pix. 

Holly Page – Christmas present (Credits Mick Fyrer)

Next home was Luke Meleschko in 11th with Tristan Sheard close behind in 12th and crowned v45 champ. Jon Underwood sneaked into the top 20 with Anthony Costello 31st. 

Next…the Xmas box on legs

Page Family (Credit Woodentops)

And at the Whinberry Naze race, 4 miles up and around Cowpe Lowe near Rawtenstall, held on Boxing Day, Holly did actually turn up suitably dressed, to give the competitors a festive treat as she overcame strong, air resistance, to take the win.

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gav Mulholland


Last Sunday saw the old and the young gather at the start line in Penistone Hill Country Park for a  5 mile circuit up and around the Stoop standing stone, a fell race organised by Wharfedale Harriers.

CV women were again victorious with Lucy Collins (3rd lady), Jo Buckley and Jackie Scarf claiming the ladies team prize. Mark Wharton was first CV home in 38:11. The race was won by Jack Wood of Illkey Harriers (30:27) with Nicola Jackson (Ribble Valley Harriers) first woman.

Lucy Collins 3rd lady

And CV juniors excelled in their efforts too with young Harry Cliff securing 1st U9. Other CV youngsters included Ted Parker (U9), Thomas McKee, Olivia Falkingbridge and Fearne Hanson (all U 11s)

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gill Dickson

Mytholmroyd fell race, sponsored by Vocation Brewery

The highlight of this week’s local running calendar was without a doubt the Mytholmroyd fell race, sponsored by Vocation Brewery. Although the sun finally came out to play, after recent heavy rainfall, the 10-km/6.2-mile course had its fair share of puddles deep enough to half drown shorter runners.

This muddy race, expertly organised by CVFR’s Phill & Harley Beecroft, includes 411m/1348ft of climbing to keep runners warm in the December chill and a free can of beer for all runners at the end. This year, 166 runners reached the finish line. Ribble Valley Harriers Josh Boyle and Bingley Harriers’ MV50 Ian Holmes battled to the end, to take first & second places – finishing in an incredibly fast 47:19 & 47:25 respectively. Todmorden’s Andrew Worston took 3rd place, with CVFR’s Martin Howard, in his first race back after an ankle injury, running well to finish in 5th place overall (first U23) in 50:16.

Martin Howard – Mytholmroyd – credit Dave Woodhead

Despite strong runs from Calder Valley’s Paul Haigh & Elliot Corner (who both ran sub-55-minute races to finish 15th & 16th overall & 6th MV40 for the former),

Paul Haigh – Mytholmroyd – credit Jonathan Moon
Elliot Corner – Mytholmroyd – credit Dave Woodhead

Todmorden Harriers just pipped CVFR to the men’s team prize by 3 places – with both teams a long way in front of third place Wharfdale. Other good performances from Calder Valley included Mark Wharton, who came in just shy of 59 minutes to finish 25th overall (4th MV50), Steve Morran, who placed 57th overall (2nd MV60) and Joanna Stevens with 77th overall & 10th woman over the line.

Mytholmroyd the race sweepers getting into festive spirit- credit Mick Fryer

Away from the Valley, this weekend saw CVFR runners John Minta & Johnnie Watson take on the Exodus Ultra Marathon in Wales. This 160km / 99.4-mile run, complete with 7100m / 23294ft of climb takes in what is essentially the full Brecon Beacons Way. The race started at 7pm Friday night and saw racers take on some of horrific storms, with high winds, 70 mph gusts on the tops, and torrential rain for a big part of this endurance event. Unfortunately, Johnnie understandably pulled out a few miles before the 75 miles check-point when his jacket fell apart and with no more dry kit, he felt it too risky to continue for another night. However, John battled on, in what he described as the worst conditions he has ever experienced, in to finish in an impressive 5th place in 33 hours 33 minutes and despite having been up for well over 48h was keen to stress how this was “All good spine training“ for next year.

Even further afield, CVFR’s international nomad, Holly Page outright won a park run race in Wythenshawe, Manchester, in a muddy sprint finish on Saturday 1st December, cutting it a little fine by crossing the line 90 minutes before her plane was due to depart to take her to spend a few days in Belgium for some altitude training (-94m) and to ‘chat to a big hall of ultra-runners about how women CAN go off and do cool things and don’t just have to drive the support truck and massage the men’s feet ? No need for a meticulous masterplan or big budget, just have a crazy idea and go off and make it happen…’ Then she was off to the Canaries for Sunday, 9th December’s K42 Canarias Vertical Kilometre – a 45km ‘mission’ around the Anaga mountains. Despite describing her lungs feeling like those of a 90- year old smoker, Holly stormed this latest challenge to finish first female in 4h 48:43 – over 70 minutes faster than the second placed female runner!

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Catherine Jones

Prizes in the Peak District

CVFR club Chairman, Bill Johnson led by example to take 3rd place, and first Vet 50 on the 2018 Peak District Full South to North Ultra Race.  This 93km challenging route is said to take in the best of the Peak District from south to north, through tree lined vales, high moors, plateau, famous peaks and grit stone edges. The winter weather and navigation challenges in both the White and Dark Peak District adds further excitement. Bill put in an impressive performance to come home in 11:01h.  Alex Dalton was first male in a time of 10:36h and Amy Capper and Stephanie Muzzall finished in 13:34h to share fastest lady title (18th overall).

Bill Johnson Ranger Ultras

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Eileen McDonach

MMM – Montane Mountain Minta – Goat

In lashing rain, Calder Valley’s John Minta also showed his star quality on the Montane Cheviot Goat Ultra Race which starts in Northumberland. Over 55 miles, with 9,500 ft of climb, he and the other competitors traversed a loop of the largest hills in the border region. This Ultra race is not for the faint hearted, runners are exposed to the winter elements in one of the last wild places in England, which takes in the mighty border ridge with Scotland on one side and England on the other. The race title refers to the fact that December is a time when most livestock are brought off the tops and only the hardy feral Cheviot goat is left to fend for itself.  John Minta was among a select bunch of Ultra-hardy fell runners keeping the goats company, finishing in an impressive 14:23h. Kim Collison and David Hedges shared first spot in a time of 9:24h. Jasmine Paris took first female spot (10:23h) two and a half hours ahead of her nearest female competitor.

John minta – Photo Credits- Montane Cheviot Goat

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Eileen McDonach

Lee Mill Relay

The 10.7 km Lee Mill relays took place on Sunday from Rossendale, Lancashire, running from Stubbylee Hall, thanks to race organiser Richard Stott and his team.  Launched 5 years ago, Calder Valley took inaugural honours in poor weather conditions.  Ever since, the club has turned the event into an in-house club race/fight (non-contact mostly), thanks to Richard Ingram (aka Bert) and his merry men.

Lee Mill Relay – Ben Mounsey sets the pace on leg 1

In a nutshell several teams of 4 are selected via designated captains, from a pool of victims, under Ingram’s stewardship, and when done, volunteers are struck by mystery injuries and illnesses, family pressures and bad debt, forcing them to pull out.  This in turn causes hand bags to be drawn until a re-draw stops captains bringing in ringers and illegitimates such as Gavin Mulholland.  Each team coughs up a sum of money with the losers spoiling the winners in the post – race festivities.

Lee Mill Relay – Jon Smith

Most teams put their top dog on the first leg to give them a head start and this was the case as Ben Wolsey Mounsey set the 2nd fastest time of the day, thanks to his personalised pacer Toby Sydes, with Karl Gray putting his squad into second.  This clearly wasn’t enough to convince Mounsey of the win, and fearing the loss of his weekly dinner money, he scarpered off home.  The Wolsey Warriors, also including Gareth Clarke and Giles Simon, who went on to win the valley battle.   Iain Powell, in charge of pre-race team betting, was obviously concerned about losing sweat, as well as his bet, as he set off in a full waterproof jacket. 

Lee Mill Relay – Ben Frechette (ernie) showing off his Anne Summers oufit

Two teams kept back their top trumps in Godsman and Mulholland for leg 3 that helped narrow the gap between three of the teams for second spot.  It was the Hobbit Hole Huggers (Marsden Costello Mulholland) who finished 2nd as they kept back Toby ‘whippet’ Cotterill who scalped Simon Fisher before going on to pass a valiant James Cooke, in the last few hundred metres of the course, after almost 4 hours of racing!  Waiters for the day were the CVFR nav. kings and Queens, who in their own serfdom, were able to put their compasses away and follow their own tracks to and fro for the rest of the day. 

Lee Mill Relay – James Cooke on leg 4, setting off

It wasn’t all fun and games as one runner, Dougie Zinis, took a nasty fall, coming away with a gash of a few inches, above the knee that needed stitches and surgical cleansing, though this mere flesh wound wasn’t enough to force him to retire.

Calder Valley Fellrunners chairman Bill Johnson was 4th out of 62 competitors in the ‘Peak District South 2 North‘ this weekend, a two-day stage race from Ashbourne at the southern tip of the Peak District to Marsden at the north end, a distance of 60 miles. The first half of the first day was fast, along the Tissington Trail, a continual gradual ascent for 20 miles. Bill deliberately held back on this section in order to save his legs for the more technical final 13 miles of the first day, through isolated Monks Dale and over Mam Tor into the Edale valley. The tactic paid off as he ended the first day in 3rd place with the runners resting overnight in Edale. His position was boosted by several runners getting lost in the final sections of the day and falling behind.

Bill Johnson Ranger Ultras

The second day’s route followed the Pennine Way over the Peak District’s most infamous hills: Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and Black Hill, for 27 miles. The weather turned unpleasant and a quarter of the initial starters did not complete the race. Bill held on to 3rd place until Black Hill when the 4th placed runner surged past and Bill’s legs were unable to respond.

Said Bill: “I’m absolutely delighted with 4th place and first V50 in this tough race. I worked really hard on the first day and felt it during the second, but kept up the pace until the end.”

Bill’s total time for the two days was 11hr10min. The winner Alex Dalton took 10hr36min.

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gav Mulholland

Half Beast! Half Machine!


The Half Trog (Beast) is a 9 mile fell race covering the moors between the Luddenden Valley and the Keighley Road. It starts at the Hare and Hounds in Old Town and takes in the bogs, and pathless wastes of Midgley Moor and High Brown Knoll, dropping down to Upper Dean Reservoir at the top of the Luddenden Valley. Nearly 10 miles in total. Last Sunday Calder Valley Fell Runners hosted the race with 68 runners starting but only 61 finished, 7 dropping out as the moors got the better of them.

1st and 2nd, Karl Gray and Alasdair Campbell

However Calder’s Karl (Machine) Gray got the better of the moors and the race by winning in a new record time of 1:09:29. He was chased round the course by Alasdair Campbell of Buxton AC who was never more than two seconds behind him for most of the course, Karl only outsprinting him in the final run in to win by 6 seconds. The women’s record holder, Nicola Jackson of Ribble Valley, was first woman back in 1:19:54 in 6th place overall.

Jackie Scarf, Amanda Farrell and Sue Martin took the women’s team prize for Calder Valley.

Winning Women’s Team, l-r Sue Martin, Amanda Farrell and Jackie Scarf

1 Karl Gray 01:09:29
7 Ian Powell 01:20:53
11 Matt Kay 01:29:19
23 Richard Ingram 01:33:40
25 Anthony Costello 01:33:44
26 Phi Scarf 01:34:16
43 Bob Howard 01:41:16
47 Jackie Scarf 01:45:10
51 Amanda Farrell 02:01:13
55 Sue Martin 02:14:00


The final race of the Calder Valley Annual Club Championship was held on Saturday. A rare type of race in that the fell runners and cyclists head off at the same time on a five mile route from Shipley Glen climbing some 1000ft around Baildon Moor. The runners have the advantage on the climb with the cyclists having a gravitational advantage on the descent.

James Cooke v Cyclist

The race was won by Rob Jebb, an athlete who has won both the Three Peaks Fell Race and the Three Peaks Cyclocross race. With pedigree in both camps he chose to race by cycle on Saturday.

Paul Haigh at Cyclist v Harriers

No results out as yet but some good photos available. Details along with the final club championship positions next week.


A seventeen mile torture fest of climbing six different ways over Pendle Hill. Why would anyone do that? Well it seems to be popular amongst the fell running community and in particular 16 members of Calder Valley Fell Runners. Despite the last race in the CVFR club championship being held on the same day these 16 decided to do a race that was more than three times as far and with five times as much climbing as the Harriers v Cyclists.

No results are out yet but the run of the day has to go to Ian Symington who was running well, near the front of the pack just after the 1st checkpoint, when he came across injured runner Mark Burley who had stood on something sharp which lacerated his shoe and foot. Ian, along with some other runners stayed with Mark, wrapping him up in the emergency blankets kindly donated by other runners and all putting on their own emergency clothing ready to sit out the chill wind that was on the summit of Pendle. An hour later the air ambulance came to airlift Mark off to hospital. Ian then ran back to race HQ but taking a detour to allow them to enjoy the tortuous second half of the course.

The first Calder runners back appear to have been mile muncher John Allan in about 2hours 50 minutes and Catherine Holden in about 3 hours 30. More details to follow when the results are released.


A new fell race on the calendar, the 5 mile Litton Birks Fell Race goes from Littondale up in the Dales, to the top of the 607m Firth Fell and back. With a £5 entry fee, a chip butty and a bottle of beer for all runners, what more could you want from a fell race? With 70 runners Calder’s Jo Waites was second woman back in 44.34 just behind Kirsty Hall of Wharfdale. Steve Smithies was first Vet back in 6th place. Ted Mason of local club Wharfdale won.

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Tim Brooks

kamikaze off stoodley

CV women Shepherds Skyline 2018 (Eileen McDonach, Helen Flage, Ellie Eady, Di Wright) – Photo Credit :Mick Fryer

Last Saturday, over 230 budding shepherds and shepherdesses of all ages gathered on the start line for the ever popular Shepherd Skyline fell race, hosted by Todmorden Harriers. 34 were from CV, evenly split between the juniors and seniors. The latter was a fast, muddy course – with a steep descent off Stoodley Pike for the kamikaze descenders, immediately followed by a stiff climb back up the hill to keep the stout-legged fell runners on their toes.

This 6 mile route takes in 1148ft of climbing whilst offering stunning views across the valley from the ridge line. This years race saw a lose horse running wild at the top of Stoodley, adding to the excitement of the event. The junior routes opt for a shorter version, albeit as muddy, on the nearby hillside.

CV excelled in the race, dominating much of the prize giving. CVFR’s international star, Holly Page, delivered her usual impressive performance, coming in first lady in 47:54.

Holly Page Shepherd Skyline 2018 (Photo Credit :Mick Fryer)

First CV home was Shaun Godsman, who came in third, securing the MV45 prize.

Shaun Godsman Shepherd Skyline 2018 Photo Credit :Mick Fryer)

With 4 CV runners all in the top 10, CV also scooped the MV40 prize (Mark Burton) and both the Men (Shaun Godsman, Mark Burton & Jon Smith) and Women (Holly Page, Ellie Eady, Eileen McDonach) Team prizes.

Another note worthy performance was from CV’s Helen Flage, her first fell race since the birth of her daughter earlier this year. 

Said Helen: ‘It was quite a milestone for me. It felt great but I was much less sure footed and more cautious on the downhills but that will come back! The main thing was my lungs and legs worked’

Overall winner was Nathan Edmundson from Ilkley Harriers in 43:02.

The following day saw 8 CV heading to the Peak District for the 15mile Roaches fell race, the penultimate senior club champs event. Ian Symington was first CV home in 16th place. Tamsin Cooke took up the gauntlet to secure the previously unclaimed 3rd lady club champs trophy, which she’ll receive at the club’s do in Jan.

Elsewhere, 4 CV runners raced in the classic Dunnerdale race between the rugged fells of Lickle and the Duddon valleys in the Lakes. Although only 5 miles, it’s a tough course with superb scenery and a good pub at the finish. CV’s Math Roberts was 3rd from a field of 187 in 41:22

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gill Dickson