Ultra Crazy

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This past week was a busy one for the CVFR. One of the major events in the yearly calendar is always the Summer Handicap – a race where people’s start time depends on their racing form over the year – and theoretically everyone should be crossing the line at the same moment. This race is designed so that anyone can be a winner, although the ‘bogs of doom’ near the start & the final field of tussocks often put paid to runner’s dreams of glory. This year’s race was won by Martin Howard, who undeterred by the oppressive heat – with a beat of a tenner riding on beating his Dad – crossed the line well before the rest of the field (& not far off the course record) despite being one of the last runners to set off.

Leo Illstone representing the junior club members at the Summer Handicap (credit Mick Fryer)

Elsewhere, four of the red & white-hooped ultra runners spent the last weekend of the month competing at the iconic Lakeland races. In rain of often Biblical proportions, club chairman Bill Johnson & fellow CVFR Johnnie Watson took on the 100-mile course, with our Ladies Captain Carolyn Shimwell accompanied by social secretary, Harley Beecroft. Shimwell reported how pleased they were with their medals & t-shirts – & just to finish given the weather. Both ladies are extremely grateful for the support they received from thee marshalls & those at checkpoints, plus family & friends, especially from twice-Lakeland veteran, Dan Biggs who kept them going into the night finishing after dark, despite the long trek, the deluge of rain & a headtorch technical hitch.

Bill Johnson with his medal (official Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 race photo) having ticked yet another iconic race off the list

Carolyn Shimwell, Harley Beecroft & Dan Biggs at the Lakeland 50-mile race.

In a very different settings, club members were also active internationally this last weekend. The World Rogaining Championship took place in the Catalonia, Spain. Club members Jackie & Phil Scarf competed in the Ultra 24-hour score orienteering event and won the Mixed Supervets class – meaning our club now boasts another two World Champions! Whilst in Italy, Holly Page was competing in the mini Giir de Mont race in Premana in Italy, coming a respectable second, only 38 seconds behind the first placed female runner & well ahead of the rest of a strong field.

Jackie & Phil Scarf with their trophy (photo Mandy Goth)

Amongst other impressive results this week, Charlie Ing took 4th place at Ambleside Sports fell race on the hottest day of the year – & was most pleased to beat his brother Paul. Stephen Smithies also ran well to finish 16th overall & second in the MV50 category. In the U14 race, Charlie Pickens raced hard to finish 3rd with Tom Owens finishing in a very respectable 8th place. Ollie Pickens also deserves a mention for his 16th boy in the under 12s race.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

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Wharton’s smash course records at Widdop

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Calder Valley ‘Family’ Smash course records at Widdop

New CVFR race organisers Nicky Latham (seniors) and Andy Clarke (juniors) did a splendid job putting together the Widdop Fell Race. The Packhorse Inn proved to be an excellent HQ for the 150 runners as well as donating brilliant, generous prizes. This classic, local, 7 mile race has 1200ft of ascent on high moorland with plenty of tussocks and chest high bracken to contend with. Although flagged it often catches people out.

Calder Valley’s Max Wharton set a new course record in an epic battle to finish 3 seconds ahead of Gary Priestley of Salford Harriers. Keeping it in the family, next back for Calder was Max’s dad Mark, who took 1st MV50.

Max Wharton battling it out at Widdop (Credit: Mick Fryer)

Mark Wharton in the bracken at Widdop (Credit: Mick Fryer)

Women’s winner at Widdop, Annie Roberts of Todmorden Harriers finished just 8 seconds ahead of CV’s Natasha Butterfield who is on fantastic running form.

Dan and Daisy Pope also showed the CV family spirit with both running great races.

Dan and Daisy Pope at Widdop Fell Race (Credit: E McDonach)

Jonny Croston and Darren Earnshaw took the Calder Valley hoops on tour to tackle the tough Holme Moss Fell Race this weekend. 17.7 miles and 1200m of hard climbing. Jonny put in a sterling performance to place 12th overall and 2nd MV40 (3:09h) with Darren Earnshaw finishing 54th place (3.43h).

Jonny Croston at Holme Moss (Credit: Frank Golden Photography)

Darren Earnshaw at Holme Moss (Credit: Robert Jones)

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

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Buchan Beasts the Bob Graham Round

A long anticipated attempt at the classic lakeland Bob Graham Round was announced on Saturday morning.  Former club captain, Helen Buchan, had set off at midnight from Keswick to run the 42 peaks, 28,000 feet of climbing and 66 miles.  The challenge has to be completed in less than 24 hours and Helen planned to get round in 22 hours and 47 minutes. 

Sunset on Dalehead towards Hindscarf

Helen said “I had a couple of wobbles after losing time on my schedule on leg 3 & when I thought I’d lost more time coming off Robinson (the final hill), but thanks to the 5 best support runners & 1 road supporter I could have asked for I did it!”

Late Saturday evening Helen returned to Keswick completing the round in 23 hours and 43 minutes, the newest member of the Bob Graham Club.

Out of Wasdale on the climb up Yewbarrow

Race to the Stones

Calder Valley ultra Girls, Christina Turner, Kate Pope, Gill Dickson, Gloria Ayuso and Nicki Latham competed in the Race To The Stones last weekend.  It’s a 100km race along the Ridgeway, from Ivanhoe Beacon to Avebury Stone Circle in Wiltshire. Not a fell race but hilly enough with 3,704ft of ascent, the route traverses the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs.  The girls finished in places 115 121, 122,123 and 124 out of 725 finishers in the two day event, running for just over 15 hours with an overnight camp at the halfway point.

Gloria, Christina, Gill and Nicki (Kate hiding) the Calder Valley Ultra Girls

Other notes from the Weekend’s racing.

Adam Osborne was 2nd in the Addingham Gala Fell Race and Toby Sydes got a personal best time of 34:40 at the Broomhead Chase near Penistone.

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It’s a flyby from Page

Holly Page (credit: Catherine Jones)

Summer was in full swing for CV last weekend, with members spoilt with numerous race options to choose from.

First instalment was the Stoodley Pike Fell Race, a quick dash up and down Calderdale’s most famous landmark. The longest established fell race in the area (started in the 1970’s), it never fails to get a good crowd, perhaps drawn by the sunny conditions that the organisers, Todmorden Harriers, book for the event. 32 CV were amongst the 233 at the start line.  CV’s international athlete, Holly Page, secured 1st lady with CV’s Natasha Butterfield taking second place. Overall winner was Grant Cunliffe from Rossendale with CV taking the men’s team prize (Max Wharton, Alasdair Pedley and Alex Whittem). Max Wharton also scooped up the U23 prize.

Carol Fryer (credit: Mick Fryer)

Luke Meleschko Stoodley (Credit Mick Fryer)

Last Saturday, in the midst of a buzzing festival atmosphere, Heptonstall Hurriers put on their annual Heptonstall Festival fell race. Starting in Heptonstall, the route plunges deep into a neighbouring valley before finding its way to the top of a nearby peak. It then returns in similar fashion, finishing with an almighty uphill struggle. There’s a right mix of terrain across the 6 mile circuit. Cobbles to start with then some grassy fields, muddy slopes, rocky bridleway and open moorland, some of it pathless. 

Pudsey and Bramley’s Neal Crampton was the overall race winner in a sizzling 51.35  with Annabel Mason of Lancaster and Morecombe first lady in 1.00.20. First CV home was Phil Wells, just seconds ahead of Paul Haigh and between them and Mark Wharton, just missing out on 1st Mens Team prize which went to Wharfdale Harriers. Mark Wharton was pleased with his VM50 prize though.

Photos: Phil Wells disappears in the undergrowth at Heptonstall

Sunday saw 3 CV heading to the Lakes for the club champs Skiddaw race, a 9.5 mile straight up and back down the mountainside. CV’s Eileen McDonach, joined by club mates Carole Fryer and Rob Rawlinson, said:

‘I almost didn’t go but so glad I did! It wasn’t as bad as I thought but the terrain was hard on feet. Great views and perfect conditions. I even managed to stop to take some photos, which was a must on a day like that!’

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Summer action is heating up

June-July is always a busy time of year in any runner’s diary – with summer series runs, local races as well as national & international meets all taking place in the past week.

For CVFR, the main event of the week was the mid-week local Cragg Vale race on 26th June. Expertly organised by residents of the village & based in Cragg Vale church, this event is as famous for its post-race beer & butties as for its midge-infested finish line. This year saw a bumper turnout, with 112 runners braving the rain to race.

Todmorden Harrier’s Andrew Worster had an easy overall win, completing the 4 miles & 800ft of ascent in 26.31 – only 4 seconds shy of the 2008 all-time record. In second place, Salford Harrier’s Gary Priestly & in third Calder Valley’s Martin Howard (first Under 23) all finished well ahead of the rest of the field.

Strong runs were also recorded by CVFR’s Alistair Pedley (4th overall, 2nd U23), Andy Davies (47th overall & 1st MV60) & three of the junior red & white hoops – Alex Duffield & Elijah Peers-Webb who finished within one second of each other to place an impressive 25th & 26th overall, & 1st & 2nd U16 respectively – & Emilia Wright who finished 59th overall & 1st U16 female.

For the ladies, it was another strong run by Calder Valley’s, Natasha Butterfield, who finished 33rd overall & first female in 33 :40. Todmorden Harrier’s Rebecca Patrick & Barlick Fell Runner’s Jacqueline Collins raced each other to the line to take 2nd & 3rd place respectively.

A big thank you also needs to go to the Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team who came to the aid of an injured runner administering emergency first aid. All proceeds from Todmorden Harriers’ newly reinstated Crow Hill Reverse Race on 6th August will be going to this fantastic organisation as part of local recognition of all they do to support local fell races.

Martin Howard (credit Mick Fryer)

Further afield, other notable races & results in the past week included CVFR’s Chrlie Ing who was delighted to get his first 1st place finish in a British Open Fell Running Association (BOFRA) race at Kirby-in-Furness’ Community Centre Derby on Saturday, 29th June. This tough four-mile race packs a punch, with 1300ft of ascent, including a long climb, a fast descent & a further climb up to the moors before turning back on itself for the second half of the race. Despite getting a little lost on the moors, Ing had the strength in his legs to hold onto his lead & retain the trophy for CVFR (won last year by fellow red & white hooped Ben Mounsey).

 

Saturday was also the date of the most recent Lakeland Ultra races. A trio of Calder Valley’s ladies took on this challenge. Stella Christanthou & Diane Wright ran the 55km route (plus an extra 3km that somehow snuck in – starting & finishing in Ambleside & taking in much of the central Lake District – finishing in an amazing c.10.5 hours (official results still pending). Fellow CVFR V40 runner, Gill Dickinson ran the 23km route. Ultra races are a serious test of stamina & willpower, without Saturday’s heat, which soared into the mid 20s, making any running that much harder & these longer distance all the more impressive.

Lakeland trio – Gill, Stella & Diane (no credit)

On Sunday, 30th June, Calder Valley’s Heather Pritchard took 5th place in the FSEN category (13th female overall) in the 10km Castle Howard Trail Race. Pritchard recounts how, despite ‘struggling with the heat’, she found ‘the going easy compared to the fells’ – but was very grateful for the post-race beer. Also on Sunday, CVFR’s, Carole Fryer competed in the Trawden 7 Trail Race, finishing the route a whole minute faster than her 2018 time & crossing the line as first female V50.

In addition, this weekend saw CVFR’s Holly Page back racing internationally at the Adidas’ Infinite Trails World Championships. In a truly epic event, runners raced in relay teams from 4am Saturday until 1am Sunday on the tracks of Gastein/Salzburger in Austria – making their way up and down some of the most beautiful routes in the world in their 60k/3,600vm loop. For Page, coming off the back of a broken foot, it was a little strange not to be chosen for one of the main teams, but undeterred, she was adopted by a duo from Western University & the three ran their hearts out.

Page not only finished fastest woman by an astounding 9 minutes, but also recorded the 9th fastest loop in the men’s times – & this despite suffering from a stitch during the first half of the race & feeling unwell during the second. She recalls having really enjoyed running high up on the ridge, & loving the steep descent sections with no paths, which ‘felt like a fell race’, even if the last 20km was more like a “road marathoner’s” route & seemed to go on forever … In typical style, Holly was quick to point out that this has all served as excellent training for the upcoming Sky race series, where she looks forward to racing & hopefully defending her title from last year.

Holly Page – no credit given

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

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Special-K Topping the charts.

Calder Valley take on Midsummer Lakeland ‘Monsters’

Described as a ‘monster’ by its organisers, the Great Lakes Fell race involves a big (7,000ft), 13 mile day out in the wild western Lakes. Part of the British and English Champs series, the Great Lakes has lots of varied terrain with ‘eye-popping’ ascents, steep descents and a high level summit-hopping circuit of upper Eskdale, taking in the two highest peaks in the Lakes: Scafell Pike and Scafell. Runners then face a crossing akin to Middle Earth from Slight Side to Blisco and fast running over the trackless route south of Great Moss. With more than 300 taking part, Karl Gray continues to show his class, taking 2nd MV45 and 33rd overall. Gav Mulholland was 6th V45 (50th overall). Calder Valley men’s team are currently 6th in the English Champs. Other notable results were Adam Osborne (52nd) Matthew Roberts (62nd), Mark Taylor (101st), Paul Haigh (204th).

CVFR’s Matthew Roberts in the Great Lakes Fell Race (Credit: TBC)

Phil and Jackie Scarfe showed their running experience in the Great Lakes finishing (183rd and 289th respectively). Carl Bell was first back in 2.37h and Kelli Roberts, first woman in 3.03h.

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Elsewhere in the Lakes, one of Calder Valley’s top ultra runners Simon Bourne took on the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge last Saturday, a 42 mile route that crosses the Lake District from Pooley Bridge to Wasdale, taking in 30 peaks and 17,000 feet of climbing.

Calder’s Simon Bourne on his Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge (Credit: Mark Chapman)

The route was devised by legendary Lake District fell runner Joss Naylor in 1990 as a charity fund-raising challenge for the over 50s, with target times for each age category. Simon completed the route in 10 hours 47 minutes, comfortably beating the 12-hour target for the men’s 50-54 category and setting the 4th fastest time ever on the route. He was well supported by five of his Calder Valley club mates along the route, and was lucky enough to enjoy completely dry weather conditions for once this summer. Simon commented that he was absolutely delighted with the run, with it being a perfect day in the hills that will stay long in the memory.
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Closer to home, eleven Calder Valley club champs’ contenders lined up in Whitworth for the latest club champs event, Brown Wardle (and a bit of Moor) Fell Race. This tough, midweek race is short (3 miles) with over 1100 ft of ‘thumbs on thigh’ climb. Alisdair Pedley (MU21) had a fantastic run to finish 3rd.

Alisdair Pedley at Brown Wardle (Credit: Mick Fryer)

Calder’s Natasha Butterfield (2nd woman, 29th overall) and Carole Fryer (1st W50 and 8th woman overall) continue their great running form.

CVFR’s Natasha Butterfield and Andrew Davies at Brown Wardle (Credit: Mick Fryer)

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

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Summer Series Girl Power

Red and white hoops could be seen over Tomorden last Tuesday as a number of CV swapped their usual pack run for the Bridestones race to bag points for the club’s Summer series. The route goes past the famous Bridestone and takes in some of the lesser used paths in the upper Calder Valley. A short fast race with steep climbs, fast tracks and demon descents, there’s something for everyone. And again, prizes aplenty for CV.

Lee Shimwell, Philip Wells and Giles Simon scooped the men’s Team prize whist Natasha Butterfield and Jocasta Fletcher flew the ladies flag. Natasha was 2nd lady and Jocasta first FV40, despite still recovering from an epic charity bike ride of 135 miles a few days before. CV’s Mark Wharton took the MV50 prize.

Girl Power. Natasha Butterfield (left) and Jocasta Fletcher

A few CV crossed over the border the following night for the Holcombe fell race. It’s a steep route across and around Holcombe Moor with a bit of everything and numerous punishing climbs. After the downpour on Wednesday the course proved particularly challenging with mudslides, stream crossings and insane slippy slidey mud ascents with many runners just sliding back. But all that didn’t deter CV’s Darren Kay who came in first at 33:10.

Carl Bell of Keswick AC & Kelli Roberts of Helm Hill Runners were winners at Great Lakes British & English Championship Fell race. 11 CV raced in a field of 319 with CV’s Karl Gray taking second MV45.

One of the Lakeland classics, the 13 mile route is packed with variety and includes much ground new to fell racing in the wild western Lakes. After an eyeballs-out ascent of The Band to Bowfell, the route makes a high-level summit-hopping circuit of Upper Eskdale, including the two highest peaks in the Lakes: Scafell Pike and Scafell. There follows a crossing of what feels like Middle Earth, forging a path from Slight Side to Blisco fast running over the trackless reaches south of Great Moss. Definitely not one for the faint hearted!

Gavin Mulholland Great Lakes (photo credit: Graham Smith)

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

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Cold “Weet ” & Windy

Another good contingent of CVFR juniors braved a rather soggy morning to run in the Weets junior fell race at Barnoldswick.

The final stream crossing in the closing straight to the finish proved somewhat tricky to navigate with a fair number of runners coming a cropper over the course of the morning …..but all our juniors negotiated it well.

In the Under 9’s Harry Cliff finished strongly taking a clear victory ahead of some good local runners. Charlotte Cliff had the option of running in a rare Under 7 race but decided that she wanted to run in the bigger field of the U9’s. A great decision as she notched up her first top three girl’s finish and 14th overall.

Our three runners in the Under 11’s also ran very well , all finishing in the top 10 of 30+ strong field; Joseph Stone (5th), Sam Annison (6th) and Ted Parker (10th) – Ted opting part way through that given the conditions he’d be better off racing whilst holding his glasses. On finishing, Sam commented that despite the conditions he very much enjoyed the race!!!

Harry Cliff

Photo all courtesy of Woddentops

Meanwhile in the Lakes on the Saturday saw four CV gather at the stat line of Lowgill Sports Fell Race as part of the BORFRA series (British Open Fell Runners Association). Unusually, it’s a downhill start then a steep climb through woods before reaching the open moor. A circuit around the moor, then back towards the woods, with then an uphill finish. At only 2.2miles, it’s fast and furious despite the 1000ft of climbing. CV’s Charlie Ing came an impressive 2nd, completing the course in a mere 16:19. Adam Osbourne and James Logue were only a couple of places behind  with Logue securing the MV50 prize.

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Lee’s Paddy

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

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