Horseshoes, Ultras and BGs it’s all happening with the hoops


Calder’s 2019 Champs right down to the wire

Calder Valley’s 2019 Championships ended in a nail biting finale with many of the top spots up for grabs, right up to the last two fell races of the season.

Langdale Horseshoe

Saturday saw seven CVFR head north for the Langdale Horseshoe in the Lake District. This tough AL course packs 4,600 ft climb in 12.5 miles. Calder’s Andy Wright, with all to play for in the club champs, described the race:

“The start is very congested, and with 400 runners on a narrow track it is important to be in a good place at the start line for the 300m climb up to Stickle Tarn. The cloud lifted through the morning leaving most of the summits clear which made navigation easier, though Bowfell to Crinkle Craggs was firmly entrenched in cloud so careful compass work was needed as there was nobody in sight to follow.  The rest of the route gave some spectacular scenery to reward those willing to look up from the rocks in front of their feet.

CVFR’s Andy Wright at Langdale (Credit: Toby Sydes)

Leaving Crinkle Craggs via Bad Step needed great care after overnight rain had left the rocks extremely slippery.  A steep descent near the finish drew crowds of ramblers who were waiting to see runners end up the wrong way up, which seemed to draw appreciative cheers.  Fortunately for me I was able to stay upright here and gain two last places on the final section of descent and sprint. Pies at the finish, oh yes!  I’m going back next year just for the pie.”

Lochaber’s Finlay Wild took top spot in 2:00:51. Calder’s John Allan and Mike Clayton called in to race Langdale on their way to the annual Bob Graham presentation dinner, finishing 75th and 195th respectively. Andy Wright’s legendary descending skills saw him finishing 217th taking valuable points in the club champs. Tim Brooks (275th), Daniel Baron (349th) and Charlotte Wetton all ran well.

Withens Skyline

24 hours later, Withens Skyline was the destination for the last race in the CVFR championship calendar. Fourteen Calder hopefuls braved the weather in search of glory. Tim Brooks got the most out of his weekend, reportedly managing to sandwich ‘moshing at The Trades Club’ between Langdale and Withens.

Calder Valley out in force at Withens Skyline (Credit: Dave Woodhead)

First man home at Withens was Tom Adams of Ilkley Harriers in a time of 41.17. Calder’s international star, Holly Page, triumphed again on home soil to take first woman in 49:05.

Holly Page at Withens Skyline

After crunching the numbers, club statistician, Andy Wright summed up the final Champs results: Paul Haigh had fought hard all year and looked like he might be getting his name on the club champs trophy, but on the last section of the last race of the year he was pipped by Dan Marsden, thus leaving him one point behind Johnny Croston.  No sharing of this trophy this year as they each retain their trophies from last year.

Meanwhile in the Ladies competition Catherine Holden and Charlotte Wetton retained their 1st and 2nd titles joined by Eileen McDonach.

The Handicap competition was really tied up some time ago, with Rob Rawlinson getting max points, followed by Tamsin Cooke.

In the vets competition, Johnny Croston and Catherine Holden both did ‘the double’ to take the Vet titles too.

Mark Wharton was out for another max 100 points today in the V50 category and cemented his position as Vet50 champion, pipping Toby Sydes by two points.

Mark Wharton and Giles Simon at Withens skyline (Credit: Dave Woodhead)

CVFR’s 2019 Bob Graham success

Calder also had much to celebrate this year with a bumper crop of CVFR successfully completing Bob Graham (BG) rounds.  This 66 mile, 27,000 ft circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the English Lake District, within 24 hours, is the ultimate test for elite fell runners. Of the 100 runners who attempt it every summer, only one in three are successful. CVFR efforts were rewarded on Saturday night when six received their BG certificates. From left to right is Dan Barron, Mike Clayton, Dougie Zinis, Helen Buchan, John Allan and Stuart Russell. Helen has joined Ribble Valley but she was a club member when she did the BG.

The BG gang with their certificates

BOFRA 2019 Championship

This weekend also seen the climax of the 2019 seniors and juniors British Open Fell Runners Association (BOFRA) Championship at Wasdale Show. CVFR’s Charlie Ing had a fantastic series to finish second place overall, behind former British and English champ, Simon Bailey. Steve Smithies continued his running form to take the Vet 50 top spot.

Steve Smithies at Wasdale Show, BOFRA Championship

Charlie and Ollie Pickens at Wasdale with Euan Logue (Credit: Cali Pickens)

Two Calder Valley juniors also made the long journey up to Wasdale BOFRA Championship on Saturday. The weather held to provide perfect conditions for the steep climb up Kirk Fell. Charlie Pickens came first in the U14s and a delighted Euan Logue of Halifax Harriers picked up 3rd boy. Ollie Pickens’ rapid descent earned him 5th place in the u12s and his first prize money of the year.

Charlie Pickens had an excellent BOFRA season to finish 2nd overall in the U14s and is looking forward to picking up him trophy at the presentation in November.

Charlie Pickens at Wasdale Show, junior BOFRA Championship (Credit: Jonathon Lane)

Lakes in a Day Ultra

Elina Eady and Eileen McDonach ready to start Lakes in a Day Ultra race

CVFR’s Elina Eady and Eileen McDonach ended this year’s Ultra running exploits on a high at the weekend to take on the epic, 50 mile, Lakes in a Day ultra race. This runs from north to south of the Lake District, taking in 12,000+ ft of climb, including Helvellyn and Fairfield. Starting in Caldbeck on Saturday morning, they finished in the early hours of Sunday in a total of 19:21 hours. Elina Eady described it as “one of the most challenging adventures I have ever undertaken, but I enjoyed the experience and the company of my running buddy, Eileen. We were so lucky with the weather that the mountains were breathtaking. I loved every moment.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen Jones

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Summit and OMMs

Mark, Martin and Jon the winning Summit team

Calder Valley’s Martin Howard had some unfinished business last Saturday as he took to the start line of the Race to the Summit fell race, determined that history wouldn’t repeat itself after getting lost last year

This local 7km race goes from the Summit Public House up to the White House pub and back. The race started 49 years ago to settle a pub argument about whether the distance could be run in under 30 minutes. Martin Howard came in closest to this mark, overall winner in 31:41. A very happy Martin said:

‘‘This was unfinished business for me as I led the race last year before a navigational error took me off the course. This year I made sure I knew the route and led pretty much from the start. Conditions were poor with a lot of standing water but that doesn’t worry me and I was very pleased with the win’.

Prizes were aplenty for CV with Mark Wharton taking the MV50 ’s prize and the CV men scooping the men’s team prize (Martin Howard, Mark Wharton and Jonathan Moon)

Also splashing in the mud and rain at the weekend were the CVs hardcore OMMers battling it out over 2 days in Scotland in this epic score event. Husband and wife team Phil and Jackie Scarf were 1st vets in the medium score event (7th overall) and Bill Johnson and Jon Underwood 4th vets in the long score event (11th overall).

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Veteran hoops take gold in the British relays & Simon’s Joss Naylor

This week’s British Fell Relays hosted by Dark Peak on Saturday, 19th October at Derwent Dam near Bamford. This event marks a highlight in the fell running calendar & was also the first time a national fell running event had been organised on the Derwent & Howden Moors. The relay sees 250 team compete in a race run over four legs: with legs 1 (7.65km & 360m ascent) & 4 (7.85 km & 375m ascent) solo runs, & leg 2 (12.3km, & 484m ascent) & 3 (11.2km, 520-570m ascent) paired – with the latter also requiring strong navigation skills.

This year, CVFR fielded four teams: three for the men (an open, a V40 & a V50 team), & one V40 for the women.  The Men’s V40 – consisting of:

V40 winning team – mugs in hand ready for a cuppa. You’ve got to keep warm at their age. (obviously Sarah Rowell wasn’t part of the team)

Leg 1: Gav Mulholland Leg 2: Karl Gray/Darren Kay, Leg 3: James Logue/Mark Burton &  Leg 4: Shaun Godsman – ran a storming race to win their category outright (finishing 14th overall) in a time of 4:06:27, an astonishing 3.5 minutes quicker than 2nd placed Dark Peak’s MV40 team.

A very happy LV40s team who came oh so close to getting bronze. They even surprised themselves how close they were to medalling!!!

The women’s vet 40 was a much closer contest, with only 2.5 minutes separating the teams finishing 2nd, 3rd & 4th. The ladies red & white hoops were  – Leg 1: Jocasta Fletcher Leg 2:  Catherine Holden/Rachel Johnston Leg 3:  Natasha Butterfield/Jo Buckley & Leg 4: Jackie Scarf –  ran well overall, with fantastic performances in particular from Holden & Johnston on Leg 2 (jumping up 76 places during their leg) followed by Butterfield & Buckley on leg 3 (gaining another 55 places). In the end, the red & white hoops were pipped by only 30 seconds into fourth place in their age category by Helm Hill FV40 team.

Calder Valley’s Men’s V50 squad – Leg 1: Andy Davies, Leg 2: Bill Johnson /Mark Wharton Leg 3: Phil Scarf/Jonathon Emberton & Leg 4: Toby Sydes – ran strongly to finish 7th in their age category. Here, the pairing Scarf & Embteron was particularly noteworthy, pushing the team up the rankings a staggering 83 places during this navigation leg.  

The men’s open or A team, consisting of Leg 1: Martin Howard Leg 2: Adam Osbourne/ Ben Mounsey, Leg 3: Andy Swift/Alex Whittem & Leg 4: Matt Roberts, also ran exceptionally strongly, finishing legs 1-3 18th, 11th & 16th place respectively. However, unfortunately the dibber recording the check points was lost in the final leg, causing the team to fail to qualify for ranking. This decision may be overturned on appeal as the dibber was found quickly. The team placing is hopefully 9th overall.  

Despite this bitter disappointment, it was agreed by all that this had been a great event – superbly organised by Dark Peak & their team of 200+ volunteers, with some tough running but amazing scenery & fantastic company/camaraderie. 

Elsewhere, it was also a difficult weekend for CVFR’s international runner, Holly Page, who – despite running ‘conservatively’ in last Sunday’s local fell race, avoiding risks & remaining mindful of the need to stay injury free for skyrunning final this weekend – unfortunately suffered a slightly twisted foot that turned out to be close to a fracture. An MRI confirmed that she would not be able to compete in the Skyrunning SkyMasters at Limone in Italy this past weekend, although Page still went to the race to cheer friends & fellow competitors on.

Simon with the legend that is Joss Naylor

Finally, this week also saw an important event for club ultra-runner, Simon Bourne, who was in the Lake District for the annual presentation evening for the Joss Naylor Lakeland Challenge – named for the fell running legend himself who devised this 42-mile route as a charity funding raising challenge for the over 50s  – crossing the Lake District from Pooley Bridge to Wasale, taking in an astounding 30 peaks & an eye-watering 17,000 feet of ascent. Bourne completed this challenge in June, in an impressive 10h & 47 minutes – the fastest time this year & fourth fastest ever. He was delighted to receive his award this weekend from Joss Naylor himself, who is still going strong at 83 years old! 

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

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Hodgson Brothers Relay

A worried looking Jo ready to set off with young gun Martin

Following more than a decade of top 5 finishes, Calder Valley Fell Runners men were hopeful of a strong result last weekend in the annual Hodgson Brothers Relay from Brotherswater, Patterdale in the Lake District. 

This Lakeland mountains relay race, held annually in memory of a Leeds based runner who was tragically killed in a road accident the day after winning the prestigious Karrimor Mountain Marathon in Cumbria, is run over four legs with competitors running in pairs.

The weather forecast for the event didn’t look promising, however, conditions on the day were far more favourable than first predicted. The ground was saturated following some heavy overnight rain, but visibility was good and this meant that the race would be won on athletic merit, rather than navigational prowess.

First off for the Calder club’s A team was young relay debutant Charlie Ing and his partner Alex Whittem. They completed the 4.5 mile leg from Patterdale to Hartsop in an impressive 3rd place, battling with Keswick to the finish line, both teams following Ambleside AC, who led the initial charge. In the mixed team competition Jackie Scarf and Carole Fryer got the team off to steady start.

Next up for the A team were the experienced pair of Ben Mounsey and Gavin Mulholland, who took up the mantle for the tough 7 mile run to Kirkstone Pass. They ran a solid leg but ultimately lost valuable time on their major rivals and finished in 5th place overall. Martin Howard and Jo Buckley took up the mantle for the mixed and gained 5 places to take the tam up to 59th place.

Even the dynamic pairing of Kay and Gray (Darren and Karl), wasn’t enough to improve the fortunes of the team. They ran well on leg 3, but could only maintain a 5th place finish, leaving Adam Osborne and Matthew Roberts with too much to do on leg 4. They managed to hold their position but didn’t gain enough time on Helm Hill, who finished 4th overall. An excllent run from Lee Shimell and Paul Haigh hauled another 7 places for the mixed team on leg 3 and with a very strong run from Dougie Zinis and Jonny Croston on leg 4 took the team up to 44th and 6th mixed team.

Calder Valley were the first Calderdale team to complete the 24 mile route, finishing 5th from 70 teams. 

The event was won by Keswick AC, who recorded their 3rd successive title. Ambleside AC took 2nd and Dark Peak finished in 3rd. The ladies race was won by local favourites, Helm Hill and the mixed team winners were Ribble Valley AC.

Calder Valley will treat this as good practice and a dress rehearsal for the British fell relays, held in Derbyshire, in two weeks time.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

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World Mountain Running Champs

The torrential downpours did not deter the hardened CV fell runners this weekend, splashing their way to victory and revealing some healthy inter club rivalryas the club champs season comes to a close.

First up was the local 4.6 mile Thieveley Pike Fell race in Cliviger which follows much of  the Mary Towneley Loop and which saw CV’s young Martin Howard taking the U23 prize.

Also on the Saturday, a dozen CV runners made their way to Snowdonia for the Peris race. Peris Half (8.5 mikes, 4500 ft) and Full Peris(18.5 miles and 8500ft) both counted for club champs points this year so many runners had to choose the course wisely depending on which other events they had done earlier in the year.

The race starts out with a long climb through the quarries to the first 3000 footer on the course, ElidirFawr. With the clag down and poor visibility on the tops, runners were keen not to lose sight of the local navigators. But it wasn’t long into the race when runners had to rely on their own navigational skills to get round as the nearby runners disappeared into the fog.  Said a proud Andy Wright, who secured 3rd prize in the half:

‘The final summit for the half runners was GlyderFawr (1001 metres with a 300m ferocious ascent from Llyn y Cwn). I recall paddling here to cool off last year, but today there was no time for such luxuries.  I knew the race was still in contention despite not seeing anyone else from the half, so ran up what should have been a walk to the summit.  From here it is a fairly vague line back down to the finish at Pen Y Pas.

As we dropped below the cloud the car park came into sight and I was able to view the first full course runner in front of me, along with the rather welcome sight of Phil Wells in the distance ahead of me.

I did not realise it at this stage, but most of the Eryri runners in front of me had taken a wrong turn down towards Nant Peris, so I did not realise how far up the field I was right now, but I did know that this descent was where I could make up some time.

I switched off the safety guard and flung myself down the hillside in the general direction of the car park.  The lines proved exciting at times as I went through the boulder fields but I successfully made it past team mate Phil Wells about 500 metres from the end to learn to my surprise that I was 3rd overall.

Having spent some time in Wales for recces and races of UTS50 earlier in the year I think I had an idea of what the day had held in store, so I knew what to expect and felt my training for this race had gone well, but to get my first podium in a Welsh mountain race was a very proud moment’

Eryri Harriers hosted the event and provided excellent live tracking at race HQ along with great post race food.  Some very welcoming hosts, who seemed genuinely happy to have so many red and white vests out on their race.

Other achievements in the half included Phil Wells who was 2nd MV40 and Rob Rawlinson, 3rd MV40.

Peris Half Rob Andy Phil

In the Full Peris, a gruelling 18.5 miles of over 8500ft of climbing, CV’s Jonny Croston was 9th and Dougie Zinnis 13th. Not content with completing 18.5miles, James Cooke ran an extra lap round Llanberis after unwittingly following an old route map he’d recently purchased on-line.

Full Peris CVFR results:

9 Jonny Croston MV40 03:43:51
13 Dougie Zinis MOpen 03:53:49
30 Paul Haigh MV40 04:24:56
35 Mike Clayton MOpen 04:31:39
44 Mark Wharton MV50 04:49:25
59 James Cooke MOpen 05:31:23

Half Peris CVFR results:

3 Andy Wright MV40 02:07:58
5 Phil Wells MV40 02:08:46
11 Rob Rawlinson MV40 02:11:08
26 Toby Sydes MV50 02:35:46
27 Tim Brooks MV40 02:35:59
37 Charlotte Wetton FOpen 03:08:43

On the Sunday, Holly Page, taking a rest from her international travels, and Carole Fryer flew the CV flag and scooped up 1st lady and VF50 at the Rombalds Romp fell race over on Ilkley Moor. Conditions were grim but both were still smiling as they practically swam round the 8 mile course.

Carole Fryer Rombald Romp

Holly Page Rombald Romp

Meanwhile, in sunnier, warmer climate in Italy, CV’s Adam Osborne struck MV40 gold in the World Mountain Running Championships, with team mate Ben Mousey securing silver. Said a rather elated Adam:

‘Over the moon to win the World Masters and to stand on the podium and hear the national anthem! It was a deceptively tough race, fast with some technical, steep climbs and the heat was sapping- not something a pasty Yorkshireman is used to! Has a bad patch on second of three laps but came back strongly on third.

Delighted to see Ben cross the line shortly after me and win a silver- good day for CVFR! Great event; the Italians know how to put on a race with great atmosphere and support!’

Team mate Ben said:

‘I came here with little expectation, after missing all of the racing season through illness. I’ve been nowhere near top form and this was a course that definitely did not suit me – fast and furious with lots of flat road sections. Plus it was at least 33 degrees in the heat of the midday sun. But I gave it my all and it paid off! I’m absolutely over the moon to finally make the podium after 4 years of failed attempts.

But despite my own personal success, the day really belonged to my good friend Adam Osborne, who ran the race of his life to take gold in the V40 category. We’ve been friends a long time, been part of international teams together in the past and now we’re even Calder Valley club mates. So I was so happy for him to stand at the top of the podium and see him back at his best. One of the nicest and most modest guys you’ll ever meet’

Gold and silver for CVFR’s Osborne and Mounsey

Elsewhere, CV’s Ben Cliff came 5th MV40 in the Holcombe Mountain duathalon.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

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Mounsey is a blue streak while Carole Fryer continues her’s

A handful of the club’s more serious runners were focused on Sunday’s Illam Park Fell Race – a challenging Category A fell race in beautiful White Peak countryside (with all profits going to local charities). This race was also the final counter for the English Championship and saw 150 of the country’s best fell runners taking on the 7.2-km route, with its 450m of ascent.

CVFR’s Daren Kay and Gavin Mullhound were the first red & white hoops home – crossing the line only three seconds apart (in 38:40 and 38:43 respectively) to finish 1st and 2nd M45 (23rd and 24th overall). Third M45 home was another red & white runner – Karl Grey – finishing just behind his team mates in 38:59 (26th overall). There were also strong runs from Alex Whittam (30th overall, 21st in the men’s senior age category), Martin Howard (35th overall and 3rd under 23) and Mark Burton (51st overall, 7th M45). With this result, Calder Valley’s Martin Howard crowned off a fantastic season by securing an impressive 3rd place in the men’s U23s in the English Championships.

Mark Burton at Illam – credit Stephen Wilson

This Sunday was also the date for the Utterly Butterly fell race at Marsden – an unusual fell race with a scenic route that takes in five reservoirs in five miles (with 850ft of ascent).

In the men’s race, Darren Earnshaw was the CVFR runner over the line, finishing 13th of 92 runners & 4th in the MV40 age category in 38.56. He was closely followed by Rob Rawlinson (15th overall & 5th MV40 in 38:57) with Jon Underwood also running well to finish 20th overall in 39:35.

In the ladies’ race, Carole Fryer ran a brilliant race to finish 8th overall & first in the FV50 category in 44:54. Fryer described as how this unusual fell race  – comprising of one third track, one third paved footpaths and one third grassy/gravelly footpaths  – is particularly ‘good for those new to fell running’, and typically quite ‘runable after the initial climb’. However, in the somewhat inclement conditions on Sunday, it was not as sstraight forward as in previous years – not least given the number of flagstones, which are notoriously slippery when wet. Nonetheless, Fryer reports that she is convinced it is all ‘well worth it for the tea & gorgeous cake at the presentation’.

This weekend also marked Stuart Russell’s Bob Graham Round attempt – a 66-mile, 27,000-ft circuit of 42 of the highest peaks in the English Lake District, which needs to be completed within 24 hours to qualify as a success. Russell finished his successful round in an impressive 23h13, commenting how he ‘got lucky’ with the weather – setting off on Friday night at 10pm in beautiful conditions, although winds did pick up later.

Stuart Russell’ss BGR

By mile 60 & the final summit, Russell was reduced, rather unsurprisingly, to observing to his support team (John Allan, Helen & Kirsty) that the challenge was “just really hard!” However, having been ‘force fed with the secret weapon of mango’ in leg 4, he could keep going – and so credits his success to his support team, who kept him going throughout to become the 4th CVFR club member to successful finish the incredibly tough BG challenge this year. 

Stuart Russell’ss BGR


Further afield Scotland hosted events which saw two of CVFR’s elite runners back running again. Ben Mounsey raced in Kinlochleven at the Salomon Skyline Scotland races, taking 1st place in the 3 Mealls Trail Race. Mounsey described how this ‘very tough’ technical 18-km trail race, with its over 700m of total ascent and a high point of 560m in an astounding 1:35:08 – was a real challenge.

Ben Mounsey – credit Pete Aylward

Nonetheless, it was one he more than rose to, finishing over ten minutes before the rest of field of the 150 athletes. Mounsey is now on his way to Italy to compete in the World Masters 2019 this coming week.

Ben Mouney finishing his race – credit Pete Aylward


For the elite ladies, this Saturday (21st September) saw Calder Valley’s Holly Page competing at the Ring of Steal Sky Race – the last round of the Golden Trail World Series – a race within the Mamores that takes in a series of majestic Munros (Scottish Mountains over 3,000ft / 914m) and four summits.

Page considered not taking part in this 29km (2,500m of ascent) race at one point, as having been plagued with injuries this season, she thought it would be ‘nigh impossible to qualify for the top 10 and a trip to Nepal’. However, the Scottish hills in the sunshine worked their charm, and Page felt good right at the start. She was in second from the get-go, although the previous week’s longer mountain runs began to take their toll and towards the end – out of gels and water, she was willing herself forward.

On the last downhill, Page was unfortunate to fall in a bog – smashing her leg on a rock so badly she needed several stiches. Nonetheless, she still placed second lady – in a respectable 3:54:18 – and in so doing, qualified for the Grand Final of the Golden Trail World Series. In typical Page style, having tied for 10th place with another runner – and won thanks to the ‘higher position’ rule – she has invited the latter to join her at her guest in the Himalayans.

Holly Page – official race photo


Closer to home, this Saturday, 21st September also saw club chairman, Bill Johnson, take on the Lantern Pike fell race from Hayfield  – the fell race with the oldest record in the country (Ricky Wilde set the record in 1977 and no-one has come close to it since.) Johnson ran exceptionally well in the unseasonal heat in what was his first fell race in 12 months – having recently focused on multi-day events and torn a tendon last January. Despite feeling he ‘probably set off a bit too fast’ & consequently was almost ‘sick with effort’ by the turnaround point, Johnson still finished an impressive 17th out of 107 runners. The race was won by former English champion Lloyd Taggart.

And finally – much close to home – a number of club members took part in the Cragg Vale 15 races on Sunday 22nd – up and down the B6138 – famous for being the longest continuous gradient in England. This year, the traditional races over 10 miles, 10km and 5km were complimented by the new 1-mile dash and whilst results are yet to be published, CVFR’s Elliot Corner ran well in the 10-mile Cragg Challenge to clock in an impressive average speed of 6 minutes 50 seconds over the course. For the juniors, the trio of Lennon Wilson, Fred Slater and Cory Stewart ran exceptionally strongly to all finish the 10km race in sub-27 minutes (considerably faster than the average time for the course in 2018).  

Lennon Wilson & Fred Slater

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

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Holden poised for ‘double double’ in the CVFR women’s Champs

With all to play for in the CVFR club championships, Saturday’s Lost Shepherd Fell Race was an important counter. Despite its category BL status, this challenging, partially flagged, 15 mile race packs plenty of ascent (2690ft) with nine checkpoints over local open moor and footpath (including Stoodley Pike twice!). 

CVFR’s Simon Fisher, race organiser reported that 76 runners lined up, with Saddleworth runners’ Chris Philips first man back and Todmorden Harriers’ Annie Roberts first woman. Money raised goes to local charities, the Good Shepherd Church and CROWS, Community Rights of Way Service. 

Calder Valley’s women put in great individual performances to win ladies team prize (Catherine Holden, Stella Christanthou and Charlotte Wetton). 

Catherine Holden at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington

Stella Christanthou at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington

Charlotte Wetton at the Lost Shepherd Credit Ian Symington



Catherine Holden also took first FV40 spot and commented “It was a great race actually. Obviously the weather helped, but a gorgeous route. Very runnable despite a couple of killer hills, especially the second ascent to Stoodley.” 

With a full set of CVFR Champs counter races under her belt, Catherine looks poised to ‘do the double’ for the second year running and win the women’s and FV Champs trophies. The top spot in the Club Champs, currently residing with James Cooke is also up for grabs. All will be revealed in Andy Wright’s next club championship update, when official results are collated. Suspense is mounting…

Over in Todmorden, at the Havoc mountain bike track, CVFR’s Martin Howard threw himself down the Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial in impressive fashion this weekend. 

With 524ft of descent (and only 131ft ascent) this fast, short course is described as 1.5km of mixed terrain – moorland, woodland and banked turns for extra pace! Martin Howard flew down to take the win and posted: “Had so much fun at the Yorkshire Downhill Time Trial hosted by Calder Valley Mountain Rescue. Managed to take the win and set a new course record, taking it off the legendary descender Ted Mason.”

Calder Valley’s Anthony Costello also had a great run to finish sixth in Keighley and Craven’s short, 3 mile Beefy’s Nab Fell Race this Sunday.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

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Yorkshireman is always a favourite

This weekend was another bumper one in the fell-runner calendar. As usual, Sunday’s Yorkshireman Off-Road Marathon was particularly popular with the red & white hoops. A number of the club’s runners took on this year’s full & half-marathon routes in the sunshine across the local hills, through bogs & mud.

Lucy – credit Dave Woodhead

Calder Valley’s Lucy Collins ran a fantastic 13.1-mile half marathon race, to finish in 1h57:52 – 10th overall & a full 4.5 minutes ahead of the second-placed female runner. Other notable results in the half marathon include Darren Earnshaw and Andrew Davies, who finished 26th overall (7th in the MV40 age category) & 80th overall (5th MV60) respectively.

Iain Illstone & Paul Haigh – credit Mick Fryer

In the full marathon, Dan Marsden was the first CVFR runner to cross the line – finishing the 26.2-mile route, with its 1,000m of ascent, in the top 15 overall & the top 10 in his age category. For the men, John Allen, Ben Cliff also ran strongly, finishing 33rd, 53rd (22nd MV40). In the women’s full marathon, Kate Pope of Calder Valley (79th overall) finished 5th FV40, closely followed by Gloria Aysuo & Christina Turner in joint 7th place. In the full marathon pairs, Paul Haigh & Iain Illstone not only ran well but managed to keep a smile on their faces nearly the whole way around – & finished an impressive 2nd place for the pairs race, in just over four hours.

CVFR on the YORM – credit Mick Fryer

Slightly further away from home, also on Sunday 8th September, Anthony Costello flew the red & white stripped flag for Calder Valley at the 2019 Bradley fell race, finishing the 3.5 miles with its 900ft of climb 27th overall & 5th in the MV50 category.

Further away again, this time in the Lake District & on Saturday, 7th September, a number of the club’s more serious racers competed in the English Championships counter the Derek Price Memorial Grisedale Horseshoe race. As a traditional fell race, runners must choose their own route over just shy of 10 miles between check points in this tough AM race. With its 1525m of climb across rough mountainous terrain, this race is well-known for its poor weather conditions. This year, however, it was the heat that posed more of a challenge than the more usual, rain, clag & mist.

CVFR’s Adam Osborne was the first red & white hopped runner across the finish line in 12th position overall (3rd M40) in 1h53:49. CVFR not only secured an impressive 1st, 2ndplaces in the MV45 age category with Karl Grey (19th place overall) finishing in 1h56:06, closely followed by Darren Kay (25th overall) in 1h58:42, but with good runs by Shaun Godsman & Mark Taylor had four of the first six finishers in this age category. U23 runner Martin Howard also ran well in a tough field to finish in the top five in this, the youngest age category for this tough race (65th overall).

Finally – & further away again – this time in Scotland: Saturday, 7th September, saw three of the club’s hardiest runners – Stephen Smithies, Helen Buchan and Blair Garrett – take on the infamous Ben Nevis 4000 race. Veteran runners Stephen Smithies & Helen Buchan both ran exceptionally well to finish in 2h13:46 & 2h47:12 & place (107th & 321st overall respectively). Given the heat and sunshine, many runners recorded slower times than hoped for the 46-km race, with its 4100m of climb on the UK’s most iconic mountain & highest point. Garrett, however, was delighted to buck this trend, finishing over four minutes faster than his 2018 time (312th overall). He commented how the ‘unusually clear’ conditions afforded the runners ‘sensational views’ on the way up but most were no doubt too focused on ‘scree surfing and navigating death defying rocks’ on the way down to appreciate the amazing panoramas.

Blair Garrett, Helen B & Stephen S – no credit

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Catherine Jones

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UTMB Local Hereo’s

Two neighbours from a small hamlet in Calder Valley finished 1st Brits in 2 of the toughest mountain races in the world this week.

The 2 CV runners took to the global stage in the ever impressive UTMB challenge.  Attracting trail runners from all over the world, each year elite runners gather in  Chamonix alongside almost 10,000 other runners keen to participate in one of the event’s 7 races.

Holly Page preparing for the UTMB CCC

Calder Valley’s Holly Page ran in the UTMB CCC race, a unique trail race now deemed one of the most prestigious in the world. Taking runners deep into wilderness using for the most the international path “Grande Randonnée du Tour du Mont-Blanc’ this 101km mountain race, requires serious training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy.

Holly Page UTMB CCC

Holly was the first Brit back finishing in an incredible 9th place in 13:56. 

Her hometown neighbour and fellow CV runner, Simon Bourne, raced the TDS event, completing the gruelling 147km course in 25:30 after climbing the equivalent of Everest. He too was first Brit back. Said an exhausted but smiling Simon:

‘I’m absolutely delighted with 55th overall and 2nd V50. I started off steady and pulled trough the field from 180th. An amazing race; fantastic atmosphere and crowds, stunning scenery and loads of brutal climbs and descents’

Closer to home and making his come-back after 6 months out of action, CV’s Ben Mousey came 7th in the short and sharp Kilnsey Crag Fell race last Tuesday.

Mounsey at Kilnsey Credits: Carolyn Brett Muir

That then set the trend for other notable CV performances with CV securing a successful trophy haul at Blackshawhead Fell race on the Saturday. The final CV summer series counter,  CVs Martin Howard was the overall winner  with Alasdair Pedley 3rd and Natasha Butterfield first lady, beating the unbeatable Annie Roberts of Tod Harriers. With Mark Wharton taking 1st V50, the men scooped the mens Team prize, despite stiff competition from neighbouring Tod Harriers.

Photos: Carole Fryer, Natasha Butterfield (1st lady) and Jocasta Fletcher


This year also saw the second Junior fell race at Blackshawhead. (More info on the Juniors page)

Sunday saw the club’s annual Castle Carr race weaving across Midgley Moor. At 15 miles with 4000ft ascent/descent over some very varied terrain, Castle Carr is a testing race and was used as a national championship counter two years ago. Starting and finishing at the Hare & Hounds in Old Town, the race passes through the idyllic Castle Carr estate, does a full circuit of the moors around it, dropping into local woods on the slopes above Mytholmroyd, and then crosses back through the estate to the finish. It’s a tough route, renowned for its challenging navigation and climbs. Wharfdale’s Ethan Hassell was overall winner in 02:29:28 with Tods Annie Roberts first lady in 02:41:37. First CV home was John Allan who came in 12th in 02:46:24.

Photos: Di Wright (L) and Stella Chrisanthou, Castle Carr (photo credit: Woodentops)

John Allan Castle Carr 2019


– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickson

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