Half Trog Half Beast


The Half Trog is the little sibling to the 20 mile Trog, held in February. This race is still a serious undertaking, starting at the Hare and Hounds in Old Town and taking in the bogs, and pathless moors 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.

Martin Howard 1st U23 – Half Trog 2017 – Photos by: Mick Fryer

The moors had started to defrost on Sunday after last week’s freeze when 117 runners set off. Calder Valley’s Royd Rocket, Mark O’Connor, took an early lead to the first checkpoint on High Brown Knoll, his local knowledge taking him on a direct line over Tom Tittiman.

Mark said “The race started very steady up to the edge of the moor, we were pretty grouped up with about 15 of us leading the charge heading towards Tom Tittiman and I took the straight-line route over the Heather towards a little trod I’d reccied a few weeks back. I hit the after burners to make sure my route choice worked out and got to High Brown Knoll about a minute ahead of the chasing pack. I knew it was only a matter of time before they caught me. I eased off and settled into a more sustainable pace and managed to finish strong in 6th position behind 5 very good runners.”

Mark OConnor Half Trog 2017

Those good runners included Sam Watson of Wharfdale who won in a new record time of 1:11:12, only one second ahead of Daniel Mills of Barlick. If a fast runner takes the shorter lines, surely that record can come down further. Ian Holmes of Bingley was first veteran home in 4th place and 1:14:31. Nicola Jackson of Ribble Valley was 1st woman home in 1:17:35.

Calder’s Martin Howard was first under 23 in 11th place, shortly followed by Luke Meleschko, 2nd V40, in 12th. Bill Johnson was 2nd V50 behind Holmes. Barlick took the Men’s team prize and Todmorden the Women’s.

Steve Smithies Half Trog 2017

All eyes are now on next Sunday’s local race, the Vocation Mytholmroyd Fell Race.

6 Mark O’Connor 01:16:08
11 Martin Howard 01:21:02
12 Luke Meleschko 01:22:54
17 Bill Johnson 01:23:17
21 Steven Edwards 01:24:30
22 Ian Powell 01:25:29
25 Steve Smithies 01:26:49
72 Anthony Costello 01:44:20
101 John Nunn 02:02:49
103 John Tayler 02:05:07
108 Rod Sutcliffe 02:16:00
110 Philip Jones 02:18:39

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Tim Brooks

Battling the bogs at Lee Mill Relay

The Lee Milll Relay has a formidable reputation. Two years ago the gruelling fell race in the moors above Bacup took place in high winds and lashing rain, resulting in some experienced runners suffering from hypothermia and others clinging on to the hillside for safety.

CVFR Lee Mill Relay Iain Glendining – Photo by Mick Fryer

There were fears these conditions would be repeated this year, with snow and blizzards predicted. But, though it was wet and snowy with waist deep bogs in places, the race went ahead. After all, fell runners are used to these kinds of conditions.
With four six-mile legs run over exposed moorland, it’s a tough course, but Calder Valley Fell Runners were undeterred and fielded 12 teams – a total of 48 runners. Rather than putting the fastest runners in one team they focused on some intra-club rivalry by mixing the speediest and slowest to create teams of similar ability, with the fastest handicap team on the day scooping a prize.

CVFR Lee Mill Relay Charlotte Wetton – Photo by Mick Fryer

In this hotly contested race, the first team back was CVFR Gryffindor. The team contained a mix of runners, including adventure racer Phil Scarf who had an excellent first run and handed over to 18-year old Martin Howard who recorded one of the fastest runs of the day, showing that his training is paying off. Richard Ingram, who organised the handicap, had a great leg 3 and Iain Glendinning ran the glory leg for the team in style, with the four of them completing the course in just over 4 hours and 9 minutes.
Only a minute behind Gryffindor was CVFR God Squad, captained by Todmorden firefighter and speedy runner, Shaun Godsman. The team of Matt Wray, Anthony Costello, Lindsey Oldfield and Shaun ran brilliantly, with Shaun running the third fastest on leg four in just over 52 minutes.

Outside Calder Valley’s handicap, the club’s Quads of Fury had an excellent run, finishing 10th overall. The four runners were evenly matched, each putting in a run of around an hour to complete the full relay in just over 4 hours and 7 minutes.
Other notable runs included Mark Goldie who made it round the course despite an old injury flaring up part-way round and Mike Clayton who ran the course in a vest and running shorts despite having just returned from a month in Australia.
Overall, the men’s relay was won by White Peak Fell Runners in an impressive 3 hours and 32 minutes, and the women’s by Ribble Valley in an excellent 4 hours and 5 minutes.

CVFR Lee Mill Relay Lee Shimwell – Photo by Mick Fryer

Position Team Overall time
10 CVFR QOF2 04:07:13
12 CVFR Gryffindor 04:09:15
14 CVFR God Squad 04:10:02
18 CVFR Eating Machines 04:12:44
20 Mud Slide Slim CVFR 04:18:06
21 CVFR Where’s Whittem? 04:19:30
27 CVFR The Boggart and The Beasts 04:27:10
30 CVFR Doctors Orders 04:31:51
36 CVFR Lords of the Dance 04:37:17
65 CVFR Ewer Turn 05:32:20
68 CVFR Ewes to be faster 05:54:46
72 CVFR The Complan Crusaders 06:10:00


Leg 1 runner Leg 1 time Leg 2 runner Leg 2 time
Paul Haigh 01:04:44 Dougie Zinis 01:00:46
Phil Scarf 01:06:38 Martin Howard 00:57:48
Matt Wray 01:03:23 Anthony Costello 01:08:00
Dave Hammond 01:04:04 Gavin Roper 01:11:09
Phil Wells 01:04:17 Toby Cotterill 01:04:22
Emma Smyth 01:17:35 Richard Sunderland 01:06:56
Ian Syminton 01:01:23 Jake Ackroyd 01:07:17
Jon Smith 00:57:36 Mark Goldie 01:21:08
Mike Clayton 01:03:17 Stuart Russel 01:07:53
Jackie Scarf 01:13:45 Jocasta Fletcher 01:39:34
Kate Pope 01:38:55 Gill Dickson 01:35:03
Mike Wardle 01:16:26 Bob Howard 01:25:07


Leg 3 runner Leg 3 time Leg 4 runner Leg 4 time
Gareth Clarke 01:00:22 Luke Meleschyo 01:01:21
Richard Ingram 01:05:17 Ian Glendinning 00:59:32
Lindsey Oldfield 01:06:10 Shaun Godsman 00:52:29
Iain Powell 01:01:04 Mark O’Connor 00:56:27
Ben Cliff 01:08:18 Giles Simon 01:01:09
Lee Shimwell 01:00:39 Helen Buchan 01:17:51
Ben Frechette 01:03:38 Karl Gray 00:51:21
Stephen Smithies 01:01:59 Toby Sydes 01:11:08
Mike Flatley 01:18:48 Daniel Baron 01:07:19
Christina Turner 01:15:07 Charlotte Wetton 01:23:54
Gloria Ayuso 01:22:49 Stella Chrisathom 01:17:59
Catherine Jones 01:54:47 Rod Sutcliffe 01:33:40


– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon

Due North with Mounsey and Spinks

13 CV women swapped racing for a Due North training weekend in Kettlewell recently, determined to pick up new fell running tips and advice.

Calder Valley Ladies on tour wit Nicky Spinks

Photos: CV women at start of a Kettlewell pack run

The weekend featured 2 legendary fell runners; the inspirational Nicky Spinkes (renowned in fell running history as the fastest person to run a Double Bob Graham Round) and the club’s very own hero and national champion Ben Mounsey. The opportunity for hearing about their quests, training programmes and fell running tips was snapped up by the club, with CV making up almost half of the course participants.  

The masterclasses by Ben and Nicky were interspersed with pack runs, mud,food, drink and plenty of smiles and laughter. 

CV with Nicky Spinkes (3rd from left, back row)

Said Gill Dickson: ’It was a great weekend, learning top tips from the experts and being with friends. Spending time with the legendary Nicky Spikes, hearing about her training programmes and uphill techniques, was fantastic. Ben’s descending demonstrations down sheer vertical scree drops was very impressive yet terrifying! I’ve got a long way to go before I can even contemplate running down drops like that!’

Womens Withins Skyline Success

Last Saturday, 47 Calder Valley runners of all ages joined the start line for the Shepherds Skyline fell race, hosted by Todmorden Harriers. It’s always a popular race but this year numbers exceeded expectations with 320 seniors and 92 juniors registering for the mud fest.

Holly Page 1st Lady

The Senior’s race is 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. The junior routes opts for a shorter version, albeit as muddy, on the nearby hillside.

VL40 winner Catherine Holden

CV ladies excelled in the race, scooping up the majority of the ladies prizes. CVFR Holly Page delivered an impressive performance, coming in first lady overall and first CV home in 48:52. Catherine Holden took the LV40 prize with Stella Chrisanthou in second. Anne Johnson took the LV50 prize and Jackie Scarf the LV55. Together, they also took the ladies team prize (Holly Page, Linsdey Oldfield and Catherine Holden). Said Catherine:

“It was a cold start and the 3 pints I’d had to drink the night before were agitating my pre-race nerves. All my body was screaming why do you even need to do this? But then the sun came out and after some number herding we were off. All race nerves were drowned out by adrenalin and heavy breathing up that first hill. I mostly enjoyed the race, especially the support from the die hard CVFR groupies en route. The second hill was a killer but then came the final descent; a fast paced trip and stumble back down to the pub. Hurrah!”

Anne Johnson 1st V50

Tom Owens of Shettleston Harriers was first back in 44:20. First CV male home was Iain Illstone, just behind Holly Page in 49:01.

In the Juniors, with almost 100 runners, 23 mini stripes also put in an impressive performance with CV juniors all coming in the top 5 for the U9s. It was won by the club’s Sam Annison, followed 4 seconds later by Clara McKee, first girl. Harry Cliff was third, newcomer Eddie Chrisanthou came fourth and Leo Hackett 5th. Further prizes were picked up by CV in the U11 with Charlie Pickins second and Thomas McKee third. In the U13, CV’s Patrick Casey secured 4th place.

CV Junior achievements go far with the club’s William Hall recently crowded U13s Champion at the BOFRA (British Open Fell Runners Association) Annual Awards ceremony in Barnoldswick last Saturday. Will won the under 12 age group and James Duffy came fourth (though would probably got third had the Wasdale race not been cancelled due to flooding). They were presented with their trophies by fell running legend Victoria Wilkinson. Said proud dad, Stephen Hall:

“A great night was had by all, celebrating success for all the adults and youngsters that had committed to an excellent race series.”

Photos (courtesy of Woodentops)

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

Bronte Way – The Final Counter

Bronte Way

The Bronte Way Fell Race is a one way race from Wycoller to Haworth following the footpath of the same name. It was the last race in the 2017 Calder Valley Club Championship for which 13 members turned out.

A fast race mainly over firm tracks, it still packs over 1100ft of climb in 7 ½ miles. Martin Howard was first back for Calder, and first under 23, in 16th place shortly followed by Iain Illstone in 20th place. Lindsay Oldfield was first woman back for Calder and second overall behind Annie Roberts of Todmorden. The race was won by Joe Dale of Victoria Park Harriers with the evergreen Ian Holmes in 2nd.

273 runners completed the race which meant that some of the flour arrows used to waymark the route ended up trampled into the mud. This led to a few people going ‘off course’ but all were accounted for at the finish.

Lindsay Oldfield Bronte Way – 2018 Club Champion

Full Calder Results:-

Pos Forename Surname Time
16 Martin Howard 01:01:03
20 Iain Illstone 01:01:40
30 Douglas Zinis 01:03:40
44 Mark Wharton 01:06:48
48 Lindsay Oldfield 01:08:20
110 Catherine Holden 01:15:10
133 Carol Fryer 01:17:21
170 Dave Culpan 01:23:50
174 Bob Howard 01:24:48
176 James Cooke 01:25:25
253 Eileen McDonach 01:44:00
257 Elina Eady 01:46:20
265 Tamsin Cooke 01:53:35

This final race in the Club Championships means that Lindsey Oldfield has stormed the women’s titles winning the Women’s title just one point off a perfect score of 600, as well as the Short Queen and Medium Queen. Short (up to 10km) Medium (10km to 20km) and Long (over 20km) are the three length categories in fell races.

The Club Champion was Rob Allen, closely chased by Iain Illstone and Dougie Zinnis. However Rob’s prowess at the medium and longer distances gave him a lead of 11 points in the final results. Paul Haigh took the Long King title while James Cook was both Short and Medium King.

The Handicap Championship is scored based on previous results so a good improvement in running is essential to win this title. Paul Haigh added this to his Long King title again chased by Iain Illstone and Dougie Zinnis. Toby Sydes won the Vets Championship and Rod Sutcliffe took the vet 50 title.

Calder’s Championship consists of five races at each length with a runner’s best two results to count. The Short, Medium and Long titles are the total score for each length.

2017 Final club championship table

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

Some “Grin n Bear it” in Summits and Mountain Marathons

Race you to the Summit

For over 50 years a race has been run from Summit on the Todmorden – Littleborough Road to the White House on Blackstone Edge and back. This year the 4 mile race was won by Chris Holdsworth of Clayton Le Moors in 28:21 and Annabel Mason of Leeds in 35:12.  Mark O’Connor was 4th and first man back for Calder in 32:40 and Ruth Thompson Davies was first Calder woman back in 59:44.

Calders  Results
4 Mark O’Connor 32.40
14 Steve Smithies 36.04
16 Dave Hammond 36.26
23 Jonathan Moon 37.56
30 Calvin Ferguson 39.08
54 Graham Lloyd 44.05
74 Steve Cavell 49.40
88 Ruth Thompson-Davies 59.44

OMM Mountain Marathon

A two day event held, this year, in Great Langdale, involves pairs of runners navigating a course across the hills carrying all their equipment including camping gear for an overnight stop.  Runners can be out for over eight hours a day and are only shown the course once they have started.  Always held at the end of October the OMM is known for its interesting weather. This year navigation was made hard by mist and strong winds on the Saturday. One of the portaloos at the overnight camp was blown over, it’s not known if anyone was in it at the time.As usual there were some great results from Calder Valley’s best navigators.  Jackie Scarf and her sister Debbie Ryde were 1st women in the medium score category and Phil Scarf and Bill Johnson were 1st vets and 6th overall in the long score.  Helen Buchan and Paul Taylor were second mixed vets in the B class.

Grin ‘n Bear It

A 25km race across the Peak District Moors south of Langsett Barn, the Grin ‘n Bear It was won by the elf like Gavin Mulholland of Calder Valley in 2 hours 7 minutes and 55 seconds – no further details at present.Gav’s said “Grin n bear it, the boggiest 26k fell race on the planet and was reclassified this year with a new less boggy section following a river valley and an extra climb. Yes. 27.5k and 700m had it enter the long B class. I ran it last year but was well gapped by Karl “legend Gray” and Andy “super” Swift but this year I was back on it. Expectation was high in the week leading up as The Legend’s wife Helen was traumatised at the possible loss of the rather unique petrified bog oak trophy, designed by race organizer Supremo Simon Rippon. Despite changes and kit checks etc this guy was the coolest in the Langsett Bunk Barn during registration.Swifty and Gray were out with injuries so I sailed the cvfr flag. It’s a fast start on forest trails and then it’s a steady climb up to cutgate in the Dark Peak District. I set an early lead but an unknown runner, Seb Batchelor came cruising by and continued to do so. I did spot he was a top junior athlete on power of 10 with 9.27 for 3k pace so no surprise. After cutgate there was a great descent at last quarries to the next check point before the river section. I could see Seb as a distant dot but I also had an eye on the guys closing in from behind.I took a rough line up to Swales Head and had them on my heels but on the way up to Ladycross Despite summer conditions above ground my hands got colder and colder as the race unfolded. I was able to push on though as it is less technical as you turn west for home, and I had kept some fuel in the tank after last years experience. I got my lines right, for once and came home in 2.07.55 which was a nice surprise considering the new additions. I was shocked to find out I had won the race. Seb had overshot in the valley so lost the lead. I was oblivious to this. I remember asking marshals at Salters Brook how far he was in front. They looked at me funny and said “don’t you worry about him” and shoved 2 jelly babies in my gob ;). So didn’t realise I was leading until the end. In 2nd was Peter Davies Dark Peak FR and Seb still managed 3rd after some disqualifications of other runners for a few who missed a check points. Bread, beer and honey for me, and the ugly trophy for the Grays as I knew they wanted to keep it really. Result

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

Calder Valley raid the Peaks

Peak Raid

From the Left Smithied, Frechette, Kennaugh, Powell (P&B Harding) and Mosley

In a weekend of wild winds and lashing rain, most people struggled to leave their homes, let alone take part in a fell race. Not so for a cohort of Calder Valley Fell Runners die-hards.

Ben Frechette, Jim Mosley, Iain Powell, Steve Smithies, Nathan Kennaugh and Linda Murgatroyd headed over to the Peak District for Peak Raid, a three-hour navigational and fell running challenge on the exposed moors around Hayfield.

With 15 checkpoints situated on some remote locations, the event involved route choice, around 20 kilometres of tough running through bogs, heather and streams, around 800 metres of climbing – and a battle against Storm Brian.

First back for Calder Valley was Iain Powell, who finished as 6th V40 and 30th overall, having picked off all of the checkpoints but one in this challenging event. It was an excellent run from Iain, just after a great result in the British Fell Relays the weekend before. A few places behind him, in 9th V40, was navigational expert Jim Mosley.

Ben Frechette finished in an impressive 49th place – impressive because after 20 minutes both of his feet were bleeding and he ran for another 2 hours and 20 minutes on painful, cut feet.

Peak Raid Frechette Heals….Ouch

Overall places
Iain Powell – 30th
Jim Mosley – 35th
Ben Frechette – 49th
Nathan Kennaugh – 68th
Linda Murgatroyd and Andrew Stanaway (mixed pair) – 87th
Steve Smithies – 98th

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Giles Simon

CVFR Fun bus to the UKA British relay’s

Last Sunday saw one of the highlights in CVFR’s calendar:

UKA British Fell & Hill Relay Championships, held this year in Llanberis, and hosted by Eryri Harriers. Now in it’s 29th year, the relay comprised of four legs in teams of six. The calibre is always high and competition tough with the cream of British fell running competing to put their clubs on the map.

Mike Wardle ‘on it’ British Relay Leg 1

The event always proves a popular, fun day out for CVFR and this year was no exception, with a ‘fun bus’ organised especially for the occasion by the club’s own entertainer Gav Mulholland, who provided amusing commentary of events both before and throughout the day.

Leg one of the relay was a solo leg of 8.9 km with 707m of ascent and took in the North ridge of Moel Eilio; leg 2, for pairs was 14.9km with 900 m of ascent and covered Foel Goch and Moel Cynghorion via a climb renowned in the classic Pedol Peris fell race; leg 3, also in pairs, required navigation skills and provided some distinct route choices. Then the final leg was a fast and furious solo one, at 8.35km with a 512m climb. Each leg, in the shadow of Snowdon, provided grassy ridges, steep climbs and sweeping fast descents with routes going through quarries, a ‘natural’ feature of the Llanberis landscape.

Alex Whittem Leg 1 for the Mens ‘A’ Team (Photo provided by www.sportpictures.cymru)

CVFR fielded 6 teams out of a total of 175. It’s Men’s Team A, comprising of Alex Whittem, Ben Mounsey, Andy Swift, Matt Roberts, Darren Kay, Gav Mulholland came an impressive 4th overall with a time of 4:25:24, a considerable achievement given that the club had split some of it’s best runners between the open and the vets team. Dark Peak Fell Runners took the first prize with a time of 4:10:21.
CV MV40 (Richard Pattison, Shaun Godsman, Karl Gray, James Logue, Stephen Edwards, Mark Taylor) also excelled, with their impressive performance securing silver in their category. They missed out on gold, which went to Shettleston Harriers, by just 22 seconds. The battle between these 2 teams was intense with some legs defined by mere seconds.  Mark Taylor ran the last leg and reined the first place in by 2 minutes, but this didn’t prove quite enough to take the top spot.

The Bullet maximising the racing line on leg 2

Said Gav Mulholland: “So despite last minute changes, we set off the hound of Alex Whittem on leg 1. Despite recent illness, Andy Swift clawed back from 10th to 6th place in leg 2. I was kept for last leg and despite being out of medal position I ran possessed, motivated by a chip butty. We sailed into 5th and with Mercia disqualified took 4th place overall. Mark Taylor clawed back 2 minutes on his leg to finish just seconds away from gold. We had silver vets and a happy valley bus home. I wish I was a vet”

Linda Murgatroyd looking good in red and white

The other 4 teams also performed well in their categories. CV ladies team (Carole Fryer, Jo Buckley, Lindsey Oldfield, Jackie Scarf, Linda Murgatroyd, Emma Smyth) secured 13th place, Mens B Team (Lee Shimwell, Mark O’connor, Ian Symington, Douglas Zinis, Iain Glendinning,Iain Powell )30th, MV40 B Team (Paul Haigh, Giles Simon, Tim Brooks,Toby Sydes, Richard Sunderland, Jack Ackroyd) 20th and the MV50 (Mike Wardle, Steve Smithies, Dave Hammond, Phill Scarf, Anthony Costello, Bob Howard) 7th.

Dougie’s master class

Emma, Bob and Giles waiting on Leg 4

The alco-pop god-sman Happy hour

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Gill Dickson

Stuart braves the elements

Two days of fell racing in two very different days of weather. On Saturday, the classic Langdale horseshoe in the Lake District presented Calder Valley fell runners with a mix of heavy rain, drizzle, bad visibility and high winds. On Sunday, at Withins Skyline over in Bronte Country, the weather was remarkably cheerier, with sunshine and much warmer winds.

The Langdale horseshoe race is a tough 21 km circuit with 1,450 m of ascent and the terrain is almost exclusively on either rocky, slippy or boggy ground. This did not stop 11 CV runners making the journey up to race. The bad weather and terrain caught many of the runners out, as well as several of the CV team.

Stuart Russell Enjoying the elements at Langdale 2017

The eventual winner was Carl Bell for Keswick in a time of 02:13:14; John Allan was first home for CV in under three hours in an excellent time of 02:57:09. Rachel Crossland had a really strong race finishing in a time of 03:25:58 and 6th fastest Senior Woman.

Tim Brooks, who was competing added “When I spoke to Ian Symington, Steve Grimley and Mark Wharton at the end we all agreed we’d had shocking runs! The ground was either sodden bogs or slippery wet rock and the visibility was poor on the tops. Mark Wharton took a long ‘detour’ to avoid the Bad Step (a 4 metre down climb) which added to his time. Rachel Crossland powered through the course in a really good time, she looked really strong as she passed me on Martcrag Moor.”

At the Withins Skyline race on the Sunday, CV had amazing success in the junior categories and some great results for the seniors too. In the U9 race there were 3 CV runners in the top 5, including Samuel Annison in 1st, Clara McKee as 1st girl and Harry Cliff as 4th boy and; in the main junior race William Hall finished 4th.

Withins Skyline 2017 Juniors

In the senior ladies event, Jo Buckley, Lindsey Oldfield and Trudi Entwistle also had success by taking the team prize.

Withen’s Skyline Jo Trudi Lindsey and Paul

As for the men’s category Mark O’Connor was first back for CV in a time of 49:00. Said Mark “It was a perfect morning for fell running and what was set to be a delightful boggy course didn’t disappoint. After a bad start to the race I found myself boxed in and had to work harder than planned to catch the red and white vests in front. Calder valleys Martin Howard then came back passed me at the base of the first ascent to Within’s top and Calder’s Iain Illstone then came past just before the summit. We tussled back and forth along the top of the moor doing our best to skip the knee deep sapping bogs. It was at this half way point where I settled into the race and started to push on and close in on a few runners. A long run in, on fast track lost me a couple of places but I feel more positive going into next weeks British Relay’s team event in Llanberis.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter:Paul Gilbert