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.
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.
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.
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!