Gray in ‘Peak’ condition

Jebb, Pearce and our star man Karl leaving Pen Y Ghent

Hundreds of eager fell runners descended on the Yorkshire Dales last weekend to take part in the annual Yorkshire 3 Peaks fell race. Now in its 58th year, it is widely regarded as one of the most iconic and toughest events in the fell running calendar. The ‘classic route’ consists of 23.3 miles with a total climb of 5279 feet over Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

Recent wet weather conditions meant that the current record of 2hrs 46 mins by Bingley’s Andy Peace would never be threatened. However with the immense quality of the field it was always going to be a hugely competitive race.

In wet and windy conditions it was Scottish international Joe Symonds who eventually took the win for the first time in his already successful career. He clocked a very impressive time of 2hrs 55mins and managed to hold off the threat from the ever improving Carl Bell (Howgill Harriers) in 2nd place (2hrs 57mins) on his debut in the event. Dark Peak’s in-form Rob Baker took 3rd (2hrs 58mins) with Salomon sponsored athlete Ricky Lightfoot in 4th (3hrs).

The next man home was Calder Valley’s very own Karl Gray, who had extra cause for celebration as he rewrote the history books by setting a new course record for a Vet 40 athlete, finishing in a very impressive time of 3hrs 1min and 5th place overall. With the event also this year’s Yorkshire Championship event, Gray also took the Yorkshire silver medal behind Baker who earned gold and ahead of former race winner Rob Jebb (7th overall) who took bronze. A result which may well see Gray in contention for a well earned international vest after an excellent run of performances in this season’s championship events. In equally impressive form was Gray’s teammate James Logue, who was the second Vet 40 on the day after a stunning performance. The crack orienteer demonstrated his quality over the long distance by clocking a very impressive time of 3hrs 9mins and 11th overall. Next man home for the team was club captain Ben Mounsey in 26th place and disappointing time of 3hrs 25mins by his high standards. It was a below par performance for Mounsey who predictably suffered in the final few miles after a couple of months break from serious training. Nevertheless it was enough to see Calder Valley finish in second place overall in the Yorkshire team standings behind a dominant Dark Peak. Valley were also second team overall in the competition as the club’s final counter Tim Black impressed on his 3 Peaks debut clocking 3hrs 34mins and 41st place overall.

Other CVFR finishers: Lee Shimwell (177th, 4hrs 5mins), Garry Traviss (204th, 4hrs 9mins), Toby Cotterill (304th, 4hrs 25mins), Mark Wharton (343rd, 4hrs 32mins), Steven Grimley (450th, 4hrs 47mins), Rod Sutcliffe (461st, 4hrs 48mins), Martin Whitehead (532nd, 4hrs 58mins), Allan Greenwood (550th, 5hrs 1min), Chris Standish (551st, 5hrs 1min), Jimmy Oldfield (606th, 5hrs 15mins), Manhar Patel (631st, 5hrs 27mins) and Dave Culpan (639th, 5hrs 34mins).

The ladies race was won by Sarah O’Neill of Hunter’s Bog Trotters in an exceptionally fast time of 3hrs 28mins. She cruised to victory over 15 minutes ahead of 2nd placed Emelie Fosberg of Team Salomon International (3hr 43mins) and Welsh international Sarah Ridgeway in 3rd (3hrs 45mins).

Helen Lambert was only one female competitor for Calder Valley finishing in 43rd position in the ladies race (4hrs 49mins).

Anniversary & Bunny success

With the clasic Yorkshire Three Peaks Fell Race on the horizon there were very few Calder Valley Fell Runners competing in races this weekend, but there were some excellent performances from within the junior ranks at a series of races (Anniversay Wa!!) in the Newland Valley in the Lake District.

First off, Bradley Travis continued his fine form with an excellent win in the U18s putting nearly a minute between himself and the second and third placed runners. Bradley’s friend and training partner Max Wharton took maximum advantage of his recent return to racing to emulate Travis’s win by crossing the line first in the in the U16 class. With Edan Whitelaw having another fine run the Calder Valley lads are now lying in silver medal position in the English Junior championships after 2 races. Max’s sister Issy also ran well for the club, with Gemma Johnson and Nathan Sharkey racing well for the U12s.

Earlier in the week, Travis, Wharton and Whitelaw crossed swords in Penistone quarry in Haworth when only a minute separated them at Tuesday’s popular Bunny Run. Calder’s recent recruit Tim Ellis also ran very well, just beaten by speed merchants Wharton and Travis but with Ellis well up the field the 3 “lads” took the team honors. Holly Page made her Calder Valley debut with a stunning second place behind in-form Katie Walshaw of Holmfirth and her presence in the Calder team will bolster an already strong Women’s team.

Coledale Horseshoe … a good day for the club

A bumper field of fell runners took to the Lakeland Hills near Keswick in the next round of the championship races. With the 14km Coledale Horseshoe being a counter in both the English and British champions the cream of the sport lined up to do battle and what a battle it was. Both the mens and ladies race records were broken with Joe Symonds (Kendal) recording a time of 1.07.45 minutes and defending English Champion Lauren Jeska (Todmorden) in 1.22.40. Karl Gray of Calder Valley (1.11.23) had another fantastic race to take 9th place and 3rd vet 40 which keeps in the “running” for a medal. With the other lads packing in well behind him they took 4th team on the day and 3rd vet 40s team. The ladies turned in some superb results with team captain Helen Fines, Jo Waites, Sally Newman and Jo Buckley all running together to the first checkpoint of Grizedale Pike. Helen eventually slipped away to finish in 6th place in a time of 1.27.33 minutes. Jo Waites in 10th (1.29.48) and Sally Newman in 11th (1.29.58) had a good old battle with 10 seconds being the slim margin separating them at the finish. With Waites 2nd lady vet 40 and Newman 1st lady vet 50 their individual medal hopes are still very much alive. The ladies also took 1st team and are leading both the English and British champs. The lady vets also did well taking 2nd team on the day and are top of their team placing after 2 races.

Traviss takes on top runners to triumph on Pendle

Rising star Brad Traviss triumphed at the Pendle Fell Race on Easter Saturday. Traviss, of Calder Valley Fell Runners, won the under 18 category in the opening fixture of the English Junior Fell running championship.

The Pendle Fell Race is a lung busting 4.5 miles with 1500 feet of ascent. The racers start in the village of Barley from where they head almost to the summit of the hill before hurtling down a rocky track to its foot again. From here it’s a leg burning ascent up the steep face, before charging back to the village.

The under 18 runners competed in the senior race, which attracted some of the very best talent in fell running, including race winner Robb Jebb, the double English and British fell running champion, and international runner. In such esteemed company, Brad finished an excellent 9th overall in a time of 34.04. The Traviss family had double reason to celebrate: Brad’s younger sister Molly (Halifax Harriers) was second female in the under 16 race. Other Calder Valley competitors in the field of 284: Bill Johnson (37.52), Steve Smithies (47:53).