Howards burning up the competition


The Burnsall Classic held at the Burnsall Feast Sports last weekend is a 1.5 mile 800ft category AS blast from the village to a flag placed on the nearby moor and back. Six runners from Calder Valley raced in what was the last and shortest short counter for this year’s club championship.

onny Croston, Andy Wright, Martin Howard and Phil Wells at Burnsall

Martin Howard ran extremely well to come third to win a £35 prize voucher. He was just 12 seconds behind winner and arch rival Robin Howie of Wharfdale and he missed out on 2nd place to Ian Holmes by 1 second. He said he took the wrong line down the tricky descent from the summit by not turning immediately left below the summit flag. Kirsty Hall of Wharfdale was 1st woman.

Jonny Croston came 15th 2nd MV40 prize to gain a £15 voucher. Andy Wright was Calder’s short king leading into the race and, gaining more points than any other team mate in the series, takes the crown for 2019.

Andy Wright cools off in the Wharf after the Burnsall Classic

CVFR Results

3 Martin Howard 15:38
15 Jonny Croston 18.08
18 Phil Wells 18.40
25 Mark Wharton 19.32
28 Andy Wright 20.12
58 Tim Brooks 22.38
124 Eileen McDonach 33.00

140 Ran

Golf Ball

Named after the weather radar station on Hameldon Hill, last Wednesday’s Golf Ball Fell Race was the penultimate race in Calder Valley’s summer series. The 5 mile 900ft climb proved no challenge for Calder’s Natasha Butterfield who was 3rd woman and Carole Fryer 1st LV55 (also beating all LV50s) The muddy course was enjoyed by Jocasta Fletcher but less so by Graham Lloyd.

Calder Valley Runners, Carole Fryer 1st FV55 2nd from left and Natasha Butterfield 3rd woman 2nd from right

Natasha is winning the summer series with only the Blackshaw Head Fete on Saturday to come. However Carole and Jocasta are only 3 points behind her. Jonathan Emberton is leading the men’s series with a strong lead over Graham Lloyd although it is not a certain win at this stage. All to run for on Saturday.

CVFR Results

67 Natasha Butterfield 50:13
113 Carole Fryer 57:03
142 Graham Lloyd 1.00:42
151 Calvin Ferguson 1.02:32
180 Jocasta Fletcher 1.06:31
199 Eileen McDonach 1.14:52

220 Ran.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

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Calder’s Karl and Jo Shine at tough Sedbergh Hills

Sedbergh Hills Fell Race is not one for novices, nor the faint hearted! With 6000 feet of climb over 14 miles, this category AL race packs a punch. To put that into context, Sedbergh averages more than 400ft of ascent per mile. Nine CVFR braved the trip out of the valley to Cumbria take on this penultimate long race in the Club championships. Their efforts were rewarded, with Calder’s Karl Gray and Jo Buckley bringing home 1st MV40 and FV40 prizes (finishing 2nd and 33rd respectively). Helen Buchan finished 2nd FV40 (49th overall).

CVFR’s Catherine Holden, paints a good picture of what it was like. “It was as expected, a tough race. The weather was kinder than forecast, but that didn’t stop us getting buffeted by 20-30mph winds trying to stumble up the Calf and traverse the Calder (no relation!). Several were happy to get round in one piece and claim their long counter for the club champs.”

Catherine Holden finishing at Sedbergh Hills (Credit: Stella Christanthou)

James Cooke was leading Catherine in the race until the last mile when he inadvertently climbed another hill. He crossed the finish line saying “bad times”. That may have summed up Sedbergh for some.

CVFR Results

Karl Gray 2nd
Paul Haigh 30th
Jo Buckley 33rd
Rob Rawlinson 43rd
Helen Buchan 49th
Andrew Wright 51st
Toby Sydes 65th
Catherine Holden 85th
James Cooke 88th

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

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Two hills and a Gala

Boulsworth Hill, Pilgrims Cross and Pendle and Burnley Grand Prix

Despite the Trawden Agricultural show being cancelled last Sunday because of the rain, the 6 mile Boulsworth Fell Race went ahead as planned. It was the final race in the Pendle and Burnley Grand Prix, which comprises of the best 9 races out of 14.  Calder Valley’s Carole Fryer was 1st  FV55 in 1.01.16.    The previous Wednesday was the Pilgrims Cross Fell Race, also part of the Grand Prix, with  7 miles and 1100ft of climb. Calder Valley were represented by three runners, 18th James Williams 56.48, 85th (1st V55) Carole Fryer 1.12.07 and 125th Calvin Ferguson 1.21.28.

Carole’s persistence and fast running has paid off as she was the overall winner of the Grand Prix FV50 category, having finished first v50 in all 9 qualifying races.  She will be presented with her prize on night on Friday at Burnley football club.

Arncliffe Gala BOFRA

Calder’s Charlie Ing was 2nd in this short, fast 1.6 mile 400ft of climb race.  Steve Smithies was 10th.

Charlie Ing 2nd at Arncliffe Gala (Photo By Woodentops)

Crow Hill Reverse

Run from Mytholmroyd this 5 mile race up to the moor tops and back, was won by Calder Valley’s Max Wharton who is home on holiday from studying in the USA.  Along with under 23s Martin Howard (2nd) and Alistair Pedley (3rd) Calder took the mens team prize.

Max Wharton Crow Hill Reverse Winner

Martin Howard 2nd at Crow Hill Reverse

Alistair Pedley 3rd at Crow Hill Reverse

Calder’s women Jackie Scarf, Gillian Wisby and Charlotte Wetton also took the team prize.  Phillipa Barret of Time 2 Run won the women’s race in 42.42.

Charlotte Wetton and James Cooke High 5s

Calder Valley results from 61 runners.

22 43.14 TOBY SYDES
23 43.17 ANDY DAVIES
26 44.24 PHIL  SCARF
27 44.49 JAMES COOKE
29 45.52 TIM BROOKS

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Tim Brooks

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British Champs silver hair or silver medal

The British Fell Running Championships came down to the wire this weekend in the last race of the season at Newtonmore Highland Games. Calder have been leading the V40 champs and needed a strong finish to to hold on to the gold medal position. Four dedicated CVFR  Vet 40s braved the 650 mile round trip, leaving the Valley Friday night to return Saturday. The race is called Creag Dhubh and is a short fast sprint to the summit and back having to jump several fences and crossing a river. Although only 3.5 miles long, it packs over 1100 foot of ascent!

Team Silver: Adam Osbourne and Skipper Shaun Godsman

Despite impressive runs, Calder were unfortunately pipped to the post, winning 2nd team on the day, which  secured them the silver medal in the British Championships. The team was Adam Osbourne, Mark Taylor, Mark Burton and CVFR men’s club captain, Shaun Godsman. Adam finished a fantastic 2nd v40 which also netted him an overall bronze medal in the individual British Championships. Shaun finished 12th v40, Mark Burton 20th v40 and Mark Taylor 26th v40.

– Calder Valley News Reporter: Eileen McDonach

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Ultra Crazy

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

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.

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.
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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