Another strong showing from vets keeps them in medal contention

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Despite the scorching weather, the sweltering heat did not put a large number of Calder Valley runners off heading to Tebay for the English Championships race. Tebay was also one of the races in the CVFR club championships. The 8 mile race (3,000 ft climbing) saw 451 runners finish, with Ben Mounsey first back for CV in a time of 01:15:13 placing 7th. The eventual winner was Sam Tosh of Rossendale Harriers in a time of 01:12:51. Karl Gray took second in MV45 and finished 13th overall. In the same age category Gav Mulholland had another excellent run placing 4th and with a win, a second place in the other races he is in an excellent position to win an individual vets medals. The vets team are also in a strong medal winning position with 3 races still to be contested they sit in gold medal place.  In terms of the club championships after Tebay, very little changed at the top. In the handicap champs James Cooke held onto first place going into the Cragg Vale club championship race next week. It is all to play for still.

On the Sunday several CV fell runners also took part in the Helm Hill race near Kendal, which is part of the British Open Fell Race Association (BOFRA) series of events. The races are characterised as being fast, short (1 miles – 5 miles) and with a substantial amount of ascent. Helm Hill was no exception and provided the runners with 900 ft of climbing over 3.3 miles. William Hall did exceptionally well in the U12 race, coming home with a substantial lead as 1st boy. Patrick Casey also had a great race finishing 6th. As for the seniors, Ben Mounsey was out in force, having already finished 1st the weekend before in the Hawkswick Dash BOFRA race. This time he finished in 2nd place – still an excellent result having competed in the English Champs the day before!

Elsewhere in the fell racing calendar Steve Smithies had a good race a Brown Wardle in East Lancashire, finishing 9th and Paul Gilbert battled through the heat at the relatively new Castle Canter race at Dobroyd Castle to finish 8th.

Tebay results and photos here

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –

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The bullet is back making the headlines

This week, CV’s top athlete Ben Mounsey kicked off a victorious start by winning Blencathra Fell race in an impressive time of 01:04:06. He showed signs of a return to top form by going on to win another race just 4 days later.

Blencathra Sprint finish Ben Bullet Mounsey

Ben said: “Blencathra last Wednesday is a true Lakeland classic, 8 miles with over 3,300ft of climb.

The weather was dry but very windy so conditions were good, but not perfect. Aside from the wind, the main problem I had was not knowing the route, as it’s the first time I’ve ever done the race. So my tactic was to start conservatively and work my way to the front so I could try and follow the best lines. It was a clever tactic that paid dividends as I worked my way from 6th place to 2nd over the first 4 miles. On the final climb I made my move and overtook the leader, Steve Hebblethwaite, before descending my way to victory. It was a big win against a classy field, many of whom are past and present international athletes.”

The following evening saw CV’s Jason William’s take 1st V40 at the Snowdon Twighlight race, and 4th overall. A relatively new addition to the fell runners calendar, this race was born from the main Snowdon race held in July each year.

Jason said: “This is a fantastic event and is only in its 3rd year. It’s a good precursor to July’s Snowdon race and let’s you know how you’re likely to fair on the long ascent to the summit come race day.

Numbers were up slightly on last year and 111 runners turned up from the 129 entries taken.  I wanted to improve on my 5th place from last year and beat my previous time of 47:08 minutes and as the race got under way I felt like I had a good chance. By the halfway point I was in third place and working hard but my chest was feeling tight and breathing was getting laboured, I had to ease off slightly which gave away my position back to fourth. I kept up with the guy in front but just couldn’t close the gap and finally reached the finish line about ten seconds behind in 47:44 … 36 seconds slower than last year but 4th place and first V40 on the night.

All in all I enjoyed the challenge and a lovely run back down, after a brief rest and some refreshment at the summit cafe. Looking forward to the main race now on July 15th…. more pain and for longer!”

Saturday offered a range of nearby race options for CV and despite the wet, soggy conditions, red and white stripes were out in force at the Midgley’s Churn Milk Chase and Rossendale Harriers 50th Anniversary Juniors event.

11 hardy CVFR were at the starting line for Churn Milk Chase, undeterred by the downpours and bogs. Associated with Midgley Village Fete, this is an ideal introduction to fell racing and the wider fete activities provides entertainment for spectators and families alike. The route is a 5 mile dash across Midgley Moor and back and was won by Michael Fanning from Holmfirth. First lady was Judy Howells from Wharfedale Harriers
CVFR scooped both team prizes with Simon Ashton, Mark O’Connor and Lee Shimwell taking the men’s and Catherine Holden, Stella Chrisanthou and Gillian Wisbey the ladies. It was the first fell race for Ana de la Fuent Herrero, a recent recruit from the Back to the fell sessions.

Ana said: “After starting as a beginner runner with CVFR, I was excited and nervous to participate in my first ever fell race in Midgley. The first part uphill was very difficult and there were moments when I felt like giving up, but I got so much support from the marshals and sweeper. Even faster runners already on their way back down would say ‘well done’ when crossing paths with me. They all really helped me to cross the finish line and it was an incredible experience afterwards”

Churn Milk Chase Ladies team, Stella Chrisanthou, Catherine Holden, Gill Wisbey

Meanwhile, over the border, 13 CV juniors competed and excelled in the final junior and U21 Championship counter, and Junior Inter-counties event hosted by Rossendale Harriers and held at Cowpe. The event resulted in a new English Champion in the club. William Hall was placed well enough in his race to claim the under 13 title, a fantastic achievement for William and CVFR.

Other impressive race results from the day included seven year old Clara McKee, 1st U9 girl, Sam Annison 3rd boy U9, Charlie Pickins and George McFie 4th and 5th in the U11.

Then Ben Mounsey finished the week as he’d started with another superb win on Sunday at Hawkswick, Yorkshire Dales. This was the 4th instalment of the BOFRA (British Open Fell Running Association) series. Ben is planning on competing for the championship this season and looking to build on his debut victory at Sedbergh in the opening race (competitors need to complete 8 races from 16). The nature of each race is to run as fast as you can up and down one hill/mountain. Most of the races are around 2 miles in length and Hawkswick Dash is classed as one of the shorter races at 1.5 miles in total, with 890ft of climb.

Said Ben: “There is only one tactic for a race like this and I didn’t have any choice but to sprint as fast as I could from the gun. Thankfully, this type of race suits my style of running and by the top of the climb I had already opened up a significant lead over the rest of the field. By the time I’d reached the descent I was able to enjoy the final sprint to the final, eventually clocking a winning time of 11 mins & 37 seconds.”

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Gill Dickinson –

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Gayle’s return to the top.

What a week it’s been for Calder Valley Runners. Closest to home was the Hebden Bridge Fell Race, that saw 85 runners heading up from Calder Holme Park in the town centre to Stoodley Pike and back 6 miles later, on a beautiful mid-summer evening.

Alex Whittem HB2017

There was an excellent Calder Valley turnout of 27 runners, some of whom were competing in their first fell race after joining the club for its introduction to fell running sessions just a few weeks earlier.
The race, organised by Todmorden Harriers, was won by Michael Kallenbeg of Cardiff AC with Calder Valley’s Alex Whittem just 11 seconds behind him in second, and no less than eight other runners from the club in the top 20. In a fit brotherly rivalry, Stephen and Simon Ashton, both new to fell running, finished in sixth and seventh place respectively were separated by less than twenty seconds. Gayle Sugden meanwhile, who has been out of the racing scene since last year due to an injury, made her return at Hebden Bridge and true-to-form was the first woman back. Calder Valley took the men and women’s team prizes.

Gayle said: “After eight months away from racing I decided to do the Hebden race, I’m still not fixed but thought I’d give it a shot. I started off steady up the first climb and climbed well up to Stoodley but then came the descending, which didn’t go so well…ha ha! My injury wasn’t too happy after the race but it was great to be back out there. I really enjoyed it.”

Gayle Sugden HB2017

A little further afield was the short, sharp shock of Kettlewell Fell Race, which sees runners climbing 600 feet straight up the rocks and back down the scree in just 1.5 miles, showing just how steep this route is. There was an excellent turnout from Calder Valley juniors at the race, and some even better results. In the under 9s, Sam Annison had a fantastic run to finish in 4th place. In the under 12s meanwhile, William Hall took 1st place, James Duffy 5th and Patrick Casey 6th, showing the strength of the club in this age category.

William Hall Kettlewell fell race 2017

Over in Lancashire, and starting in the picture-postcard village of Downham, is the Pendle Cloughs fell race – a tough route of 23 km around Pendle Hill. Despite being in Calder Valley’s club championship, only four club members headed across the border to complete. They didn’t disappoint. Lindsay Oldfield was first lady and Rob Allen second man, while Toby Sydes and Jim Cooke also put in good performances.

The club’s Phil Scarf and Bill Johnson, meanwhile, took part in the Low Alpine Mountain Marathon in Scotland, a two-day score event involving navigation and running across three iconic mountain ranges and covering thousands of feet of climbing. Despite tough competition, the pair won the score event outright – a fantastic result for the Calder Valley pair. The club’s Jackie Scarf with team-mate Simon Birch also finished well-up the field as leading mixed pair.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Giles Simon –

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LAMMS

Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon Success

Bill Johnson’s take on their fantastic win….

We’re both looking particularly haggard at the end of the LAMM after a second day of complete 100% effort.

Absolutely delighted to win the score class with Phil Scarf.

Day 1 saw glorious running over the tops of the Fannaichs, followed by a fast descent to the valley bottom to keep warm in the sudden hailstorm. We pushed hard from there to pick up every point we could in the 7 hours. It felt like a lot of effort for each of the extra 10 pointers, but we reckoned that those small margins would make the difference.
And so we ended the first day with a slender 16-point lead.

Halfway through day 2 came the crux. We reckoned we could take a ‘safe’ route to get a good score of 215 and finish in time. Alternatively we could put in an additional 2500′ climb up Beinn a Claidheimh and get 20 points more (by missing off a couple of later controls). We reckoned 75mins to get up, 40mins down. Big climb, a risk that we might underestimate how long it would take, or be too trashed to finish in time – and all for just 20 points more. But for all we knew Darrell High and Daniel Holmberg (2nd team) might do it, so we had to.

It took us 70mins up, 35mins down and we gave it everything from there to the finish below An Teallach, to take the win. 🙂 

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The Dragon Slayers

Two local running club members took part in the famous Dragons Back Race, billed as the world’s toughest mountain race, last week.

CVFR John Minta – Dragons Back 2017 (Photo Credit: NAV4 Adventures)

John Minta (Calder Valley FR) and Darren Graham (Todmorden Harriers) were among those who set off from Conwy Castle in North Wales heading for Llandelio in the south.
It takes the runners five days and the 315k route has more than 15000m of ascent and crosses wild, trackless and mountainous terrain. The milage and ascent is based on optimal route choice and runners have to self navigate to each checkpoint so they could run further and climb higher! By modern ultra running standards, an average of 63k a day isn’t high but competitiors can be out for 13 hours each day and cumulative effect of five days of testing running tests mental and physical ability.

Only 127 of the 232 starters managed to slay the dragon but Minta (71st in 61.44.40) and Graham (86th in 64.44.42) were among them. The first two home were Marcus Scotney (37.58.37) and Carl Morgan (48.41.47).

Foe Edge

Last Wednesday 6 Calder Valley runners headed over to Rossendale to take part in the Foe Edge fell race, which is proving itself in becoming a classic mid-week South Pennine race. 142 runners entered the short race, which took in two extremely steep climbs as well as open moorland terrain. Rob Allen had a blistering start and really set the pace of the race on fire, leading the way for a good length of time. However, it proved too much and in the end he was not able to hold the lead and was passed accordingly. Gareth Clarke chose a different tactic and paced himself well. This paid off and he finished in 12th, with Rob in 16th. Carole Fryer was 1st V50 woman and Calvin Ferguson also had a strong race with a new personal best time.

12th Gareth Clarke 36:11
16th Rob Allen 36:20
41st Paul Gilbert 39:55
52nd Jon Underwood 41:05
55th Calvin Ferguson 41:13
95th Carole Fryer 45:50

Foes edge is over – CVFR Heading Home (Photo Credits Mick Fryer)

Weets – English Championship

The 2nd race in the English Fell Running Championship series took us into Darkest Lancashire last Saturday for a short sharp shock of a race; 6 miles and 1500 feet of climb.

The Calder Valley caravan was a man or three down but still managed to get some top teams out. The ladies set off first, in heat wave conditions. Bionic women, Karen farah fawcett Forster saw her come 2nd in her age category. 2 ladies suffered heat stroke and visited A&E but were reported to be OK.

Calders Karon Foster (Photo Credits Mick Fryer)

The Calder men were led by trio and Alex (endangered species) Whittem, Timbo ‘Baggins’ Ellis and Old Man Mulholland with the 2 youths striving on to finish 18th and 20th. Vet 45 Mulholland hung in to finish 27th and 1st vet, strengthening his lead in the individual champs tables. Not far behind came Jason ‘Wilf’ Williams, who had a stormer and classed 2nd v40 on the day.

falling at his feet… (Gav Mulholland) (Photo Credits Mick Fryer)

The vets may have clinched 1st team with contributions from Mancunian Stephen Edwards, hop a long Mark Taylor who is actually injured and Mark ‘The Wart’ Wharton. Unlike the women, the men were offered thunder, lightning and mega hail stones by the fell running Gods.

Jura

Of all the islands in the west of Scotland, the Isle of Jura, though one of the most beautiful, remains one of the most mysterious and least known. The spectacular Paps of Jura, rising from sea-level to over 2,500 feet are visible from the Argyll mainland some 16 miles away. These three spectacular lumps of hard Scottish quartzite are traversed by the Jura Fell Race. It is a great classic and a test in rough terrain, fitness and fell running technique, not to mention navigation. It is one of the toughest challenges in British hill races at this distance. 9000ft of climbing all within the first 12 miles of the 16 mile race.

Jake Ackroyd at Jura 2017

Several Calder Valley Fell runners took the opportunity to race there this year. Karl Grey was first back for the club in a fantastic 4th place 3 hours 27 mins and 12 seconds and gaining a coveted Jura Race whisky glass. Findlay Wild of Lochaber won in 3 hours 5 mins and 14 secs. Ian Symington was an excellent 26th taking just over four hours, in what is a short race for him.

4th Karl Gray 3:27:12
26th Ian Symington 4:06:08
89th Mark O’Connor 4:51:42
95th Dougie Zinnis 4:59:32
108th Lee Shimwell 5:07:03
127th Jake Ackroyd 5:20:42

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –

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Members Summer Solstice Run

I am arranging a Tuesday club away run to coincide with the Summer Solstice on June 20th (day before, I know…). The run would head from the Robin Hood pub in Cragg Vale up to Great Manshead and back down – leaving at 6:45pm. Please do not turn up at the Robin Hood pub in Pecket Well. 

Two routes are attached – both anti-clockwise. A long version, primarily aimed at a faster group (14km) and a short version, aimed at a steadier group (11km). With the plan to meet at the trig point on the hill at around the same time for some sun and good views. Both routes return the same way. 

I can lead the faster group and James Cooke said he would lead the steadier group.

Roger at the pub said he can put food on after. Probably chip butties. So… if you want some food, please email me at pauljonathongilbert@gmail.com by Thursday 15th June. Please don’t tell me in person, as I will forget.   

There will be a strict ‘no Strava art’ policy in place and will be enforced on the night. Sorry Ian. 

Cheers Paul Gilbert

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Calder Men take the CWR Top Spot

Firstly, in England, Halifax Harriers hosted the 33rd Eric North Memorial Calderdale Way Relay, with 96 teams entering. Covering a total distance of 50 miles, each team of 12 runners share the duties as each of the 6 legs are run in pairs throughout the day. CVFR men’s Team A took home 1st place in a combined time 05:59:55, beating their closest rivals, Barlick Fell Runners by just over 4 minutes.

The men’s B team also had a very strong and consistent run thanks to a superb start by Iain Powell and Iain Glendinning, finishing in 25th place and beating many other clubs A teams.

Ben Mounsey, who was drafted in at the last second to run Leg 3, in addition to Leg 1 had this to say “Unfortunately for the CVFR A team, Darren Kay pulled out of the race with an injury less than 36 hours before the event. After frantically trying to find an adequate replacement over the weekend, we finally made a decision (literally a few hours before the relay!) that we would move Richard Pattinson to Leg 6 and I would run both Leg 1 and Leg 3. A very risky and bold strategy that would either pay dividends or fail quite spectacularly. When the race began, I knew that we would need a remarkable run on leg 1 to give us a healthy lead, especially as we expected to lose time on leg 3. Thankfully, both myself and Andy represented Yorkshire last weekend, so I knew we were in excellent form. By the time we approached Norland Moor we had a sizeable lead over the chasing pack and a good 45 second advantage. Over the first few miles I really pushed the pace to try and extend our lead and seconds quickly turned into minutes. Behind us there was a real tussle for 2nd place as Wharfedale, Harrogate and Clayton fought it out between themselves. I knew that once we reached Mill Bank our tactics had worked and it was just a case of how many minutes advantage we would have going into the second leg. We finished with a real flourish on the final descent, in a time of 01:09:47 and gained a 4 minute lead over the next teams, Harrogate Harriers and Wharfedale Harriers in 2nd & 3rd respectively.”

The men’s Team A were then able to hold onto the lead for the remainder of the race, with Shaun Godsman putting in a really strong push on Leg 3, having recently returned from a serious back operation. Jon Smith and Mark O’Connor also put in an excellent Leg 5, as Barlick were chasing and closing the gap. Lastly Karl Gray and Richard Pattinson, as two of the most experienced fell runners in the country proved, there was no catching these legends, finishing comfortably in 1st place.

Jon Smith – CWR 2017 – Leg5 – Mens A Team

Jon Smith leading the way on Leg 5.

In Scotland, Holly Page took first place at the Goatfell race on the Isle of Arran. The 9.6 mile race heads out from Brodick, taking the competitors 2,800 ft up the Tourist route, before descending and heading back into Brodick for a fast finish. Likewise in Wales, Math Roberts came home first for CV in the Cader Idris Mountain Race in a time of 01:24:08, beating his closest rival by 6 minutes. The race is one of the toughest in Wales and is considered one of the ‘must do’ races on a lot of folk’s calendars.

1st. Holy Page – Goatfell 2017

Holly Page descending Goat Fell, Isle of Arran.

At 37 miles and incorporating 10,000 ft of ascent and descent, the Old County Tops race is a classic test of mountain running endurance that has been held annually for 29 years. From Langdale the competitors must visit the highest points in each of the three counties that used to incorporate the Lake District before the county of Cumbria was formed – Cumberland, Westmorland and Lancashire. The highest points being the summits of Helvellyn, Scafell Pike and Old Man of Coniston respectively. This year the test was made considerably harder by heavy rain, wind and cold conditions all morning. The 30% dropout rate during the race, even from the hardy mountain folk who toe the start line of an event like this, was indication of the severity.

Elite ultra runners Kevin Hoult and Simon Bourne were targeting a win in their vets category. They set a fast time of just over 8 hours for 7th place overall, but were pipped for the vets win by just two minutes. Further back, there was a good tussle between two more CVFR pairs: Johnnie Watson and Simon Fisher stayed just a few minutes ahead of Helen Buchan and Bill Johnson for almost the whole route, until a navigation error led to Johnnie and Simon heading to Dow Crag instead of Coniston Old Man, allowing Helen and Bill to emerge at the final summit in front – a position they held to the finish. Those two pairs both finished in just over 10 hours.They were followed by CVFR’s Tim Brooks who had paired up with Todmorden Harrier’s Andy McFie.

The race was won by Rob Jebb (Bingley) and Josh Jardine (Helm Hill) in under 7 hours, while Nicky Spinks (Dark Peak) and Jean Brown (Clayton) impressively lowered their own women’s record to 8:15 despite the conditions.

Duo, Kevin Hoult & Simon Bourne on the Old county tops 2017

Lastly, just over the border in Lancashire, a group of hardy CVFR entered the Blackstone Edge fell race, as part of the clubs Championship series. From the old Roman road, the race heads down through a boggy track before climbing very steeply over rough tussocks – 1,200 ft in total – to the Trig point at Blackstone edge. It then drops down a technical decent and once more through the bogs, for a fast finish. Lindsey Oldfield took first ladies prize for the club and Bill Johnson took 1st Vet 50, as well as being first back for CV. This result extends his lead even further in the men’s Club Champs – come on lads, he needs a challenger!

CVFRs Stephen Edwards took part in the Jurassic Coast ultra on Saturday 20th May and won the race. It was 46 miles with 6112’ of climbing visiting the famous site of Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Paul Gilbert –

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Summer training runs will ALL be on the fells

Aside

Meet at Mytholmroyd Community Centre at 6.45pm. Now that it’s light nights we will be running off road. Yippee. Various groups of different abilities. All welcome to this all inclusive club. Plenty of opportunity to get out and enjoy the fells on these glorious spring and summer nights. More info here. http://www.cvfr.co.uk/why-join-us/

Please note away run on Tuesday 20th June. Summer Solstice run.

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Buckley’s Gold’en for Yorkshire

Great Whernside Uphill Juniors Championship

William Hall won the under 13s race in 8:37 nearly half a minute ahead of his nearest competitor. William is possibly the best fell runner of his age in the country at the moment. Good results also in the under 13s from Patrick Casey (6th) and James Duffy (9th).

In the seniors women’s race Calder’s Helen Buchan was 6th with Trudi Entwhistle 8th and Jez Wilkinson 60th in the men’s race.

UK InterCounties

The Broughton Heights Hill Race was the venue for the UK InterCounties Fell Running Championship this year. Run from near Biggar in the Southern Uplands, several members of Calder Valley Fell Runners represented their counties in the six mile race. Ben Mounsey, Andy Swift and Jo Buckley represented Yorkshire, Gavin Mulholland for Northern Ireland, Jason Williams for Leicestershire and Karon Foster represented Cheshire.

Ben Mounsey was the third Yorkshire counter helping them to silver medal place with Tom Addison (Helm Hill) and Jack Wood (Ilkley). Over the border rivals Lancashire won gold with local team Scotland East in bronze.  The Yorkshire women, Katie Walshaw (Holmfirth), Helen Glover (Ribble Valley AC) and Kirsty Hall (Wharfdale) went one better bringing home gold ahead of pre-race favourites Cumbria.

Gold for the Yorkshire Ladies (CVFR Jo Buckley on the right)

Silver for the Yorkshire Men (Jack Wood and CVFR Andy swift and Ben Mounsey)

Photos courtesy of Woodentops.

Fairfield Horseshoe

374 fell runners started from Rydal Hall in Ambleside in overcast conditions but on the tops the clag was down, very windy, but fortunately only a drop or two of rain fell. The overnight rain meant the rocks were very slippery, but fortunately given the recent dry weeks the bogs were dry.

Ben Abdelnoor of host club Ambleside was the winner in 1:22:33. For Calder Valley, Alex Whittem was 5th, just two minutes behind the winner, with Jon Smith 15th in 1:33:55 and Stephen Edwards 39th in 1:39:56.  Dave Hammond, Gavin Roper and Tony Steward also completed the tough 9 mile course which includes 3,000 feet of climbing.

Alex Whittem on the Fairfield horseshoe 2017

The Jack Bloor Fell Race

A nice midweek, 5 mile race on Ilkley Moor, this year held in glorious sunshine. A few Calder runners headed over to Wharfdale to take part last Tuesday.  Jon Smith had a good run to come in 11th place.  Dave Hammond and Jake Ackroyd battled each other with Jake winning by 20 seconds, and Jez Wilkinson came in 178th place.

All profits from the race goes to the Jack Bloor Memorial Fund, which awards grants to those who want to improve their physical and technical skills in outdoor sports.

On form Jon Smith closing the gap on his rivals.

Jon Smith at the Jack Bloor race, photo courtesy of Woodentops

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks –

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