What should have been a day of celebration for Calder Valley Fell Runners quickly became a day of tragedy for the whole fell running community when the sport lost one of its most endearing characters.
On a perfect day in the Lakes, Calder Valley Fell Runners posted their best ever placing in the Ian Hodgson Mountain Relay, a four leg relay race run over tough lakeland terrain.
First up for CVFR were Brad Traviss and Jason Williams. The two set about challenging for the fastest leg with only Phil Davies and Mike Fanning of Borrowdale fell runners beating them to the changeover, following some judicious route choice from he wily Borrowdale Veterans. CVFR’s B team of Tim Brooks and Mark Wharton also ran a very strong race to finish in an excellent time.
Next up were Shaun Godsman and Gavin Mulholland who stormed around leg two in the second fastest time of the day behind Borrowdale’s Morgan Donnelly and Ben Bardsley. Elsewhere in the race, Steve Smithies and Mark Goldie had an excellent leg and kept the B team going in a very strong position.
On Leg Three Calder’s two Tim’s, Ellis and Black, ran a fine leg, only been overtaken by Dark Peak on the technical descent to hand over in third place just ahead of Ambleside AC. Racing for the B team was Calderdale’s Rob Paradise and Lee Shimwell and the two finished the leg in a great position before handing over to Andy Fleet and Rob Dobson for the glory leg.
Anchoring for the A team were Ben Mounsey and Karl Gray, who reeled in a two minute Dark Peak lead, followed by a descending masterclass on the final descent leaving Dark Peak minutes behind. Gray and Mounsey ran the fastest leg, even beating the time posted by the combination of Bingley legends Ian Holmes and Rob Jebb. This is the finest team performance in a major relay and establishes CVFR as a force to be reckoned with.
The celebrations however were shortlived and soon took a backseat when the truly shocking and tragic news of Darren Holloway (Pennine Runners) began to filter through to the finish. Darren had collapsed on Leg Four at the top of the climb near Fairfield and had to be airlifted to Barrow general hospital. Andy Fleet and Rob Dobson were just behind him and witnessed the event and they were both devastated and shocked by events. It wasn’t until later in the day that the news of Darren’s tragic death was confirmed.
Darren was a very talented fell runner, who always exhibited a real love for and commitment to his sport. He was known and loved by many Calder runners and throughout the entire fell running community. Calder Valley would like to extend their condolences to his friends and family and our thoughts are with them.